Marketed as a wearable device designed to reduce stress, improve sleep, and help with hot flashes by regulating body temperature, the Embr Labs Wave 2 is sure to be like no other tech wearable you have used before. If, like me, you are a health- and wellness-focused consumer, then you have probably experimented with some sort of fitness-minded device such as a Fitbit, Whoop, or Apple Watch. Check those expectations at the door, because this device is unapologetically different.
Upon unboxing, I was pleasantly surprised with the sleekness of the Wave 2. Though the device head is rather bulky for a wearable, the Wave 2 includes a magnetically adjustable metal wristband that is extremely comfortable, and never slips. The Embr Labs Wave 2 kit includes the Wave 2, a comfort band, a charging station, and a brief instructional manual on how to set it up. Getting the device set up was extremely easy. It comes fully charged, and all you have to do to get going is download the Embr Wave 2 app, and enable Bluetooth on your phone. Placed on the inside of either wrist with the buttons pointed towards the elbow, the Wave 2 can be controlled through your mobile phone, or by the heating and cooling buttons on the side.
On the app, there are four categories for you to choose from: comfort, hot flashes, stress, and sleep. To be frank, I found that all the settings felt very similar, and were made up of wave-like pulsations with either warming or cooling sensations. The major variation in the different categories comes from the length of the overall session, and the time between pulsations. For example, the sessions geared at combating hot flashes are shorter, only three to 10 minutes in length, and include rapid pulsations of cool; however, the sessions for sleep are much longer, with options to provide warming or cooling sensations throughout the night, and pulse at slower intervals. The device is intelligent in the sense that it tracks your usage of different categories and time spent with them. Thus, if you use the device disproportionately for sleep or stress relief, it will track this usage and give you recommended sessions based on your past choices.
How It Works
For you tech nerds out there, the Wave 2 comes from MIT-based Embr labs and uses a battery-powered thermoelectric heat pump to power heat away from or towards your skin using a principle known as the Peltier effect. Under the Peltier effect, two touching materials – in this case, your arm and the thermoelectric pump – absorb or emit heat at the junction to balance energy potential at the contact point. Thus, when you press the heating or cooling buttons, the thermoelectric pump moves electricity in one direction to cool your skin and in the other direction to warm you. The Wave 2 operates off of a 580mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery that takes roughly two hours to fully charge.
Hands-on With the Whole Family
I put the Wave 2 through the testing wringer. Everyone, from my buddies to my mom, got a turn with this product. Since everyone’s temperature needs are different, I felt it was important to gather a broad sample size to measure how different people reacted to the hot and cold settings, as I assumed that their preferences would vary in relation to my own. There’s a running joke in our family that my dad, brother, and I all have a bit of polar bear in our blood since we like to keep the house at a brisk 65 degrees whenever possible. Thus, it is likely unsurprising that since I got the device in the dead of summer, I employed the cooling properties of the Wave 2 far more frequently than the warming settings. I found the device unbearably hot when cranked above the second-lowest heating level. Even my mother, who rebels against our love for the A/C by walking around the house in one of those sleeveless sleeping bags, found it uncomfortable to bring the device up past the third level of heating. That being said, the Wave 2 was amazing for sleep. I utilize the cooling pulsations of the Wave 2 to lull me asleep almost every night. I have found that focusing on these sensations does wonders for turning your brain off after a busy day.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Wave 2, but, as with any device, there is room for improvement. In my opinion, the device could benefit from an expansion in its capabilities, such as monitors that record heart, step count, and sleep data. As it stands now, someone who wishes to enjoy both the amazing thermal wellness benefits of the Wave 2 while keeping track of fitness metrics would be forced to wear a device on each wrist, which is cumbersome.
The Embr Labs Wave 2 can be purchased in two styles: black and peach. Weighing only 2.2 oz., it’s comfortable on the wrist and is 1.7 inches in diameter. It sells on the market for $349.