Beat the heat

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

​The struggle to keep cool in hot weather is as old as mankind. While our ancient ancestors could retire to the depths of their caves, however, we later iterations of the human race have had to find ever more inventive ways to offset the negative effects of the sun.

From wearing broad-brimmed hats to voluminous clothing to fans (both manual and electric), we’ve tried many methods to beat the heat, but of them all, only one has ever been truly successful: air conditioning.

Anyone who has ever walked from sweltering heat into an air-conditioned building or vehicle knows the delicious relief it affords. Sadly, like all good things, air-conditioning comes with some problems. One of these is environmental (air conditioning being an incredibly energy intensive process), but the other is that air conditioning currently only exists inside buildings or vehicles – you can’t take air conditioning with you. Or can you?

The challenge

This month’s challenge, then, is to devise a method of portable air conditioning.

Something that allows individuals to regulate their personal temperature even when

outside. As usual, we have something in

mind, but we’d love to hear your ideas.


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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course, innovative.

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