Today I’m taking a look inside the Embr Wave 2, a wristband that helps with temperature regulation. It’s the only wearable I’ve ever seen with a Peltier cooler in it. Watch the video above to see me try it out, take it apart, and analyze the design and manufacturing of the circuitry inside. Thanks to David Cranor for lending his EE expertise and to Lumafield for the 3D scan.
Tools used in this teardown:
The Wave 2 comes in packaging made from paper and cardboard, and all seems to be recyclable except for a couple bits of clear plastic. The screenless device comes with its magnetic wristband already attached, a USB cable and the charging base.
It’s meant to be worn on the inside of the wrist, where your skin is relatively more sensitive. The included manual describes how to use the simple button interface for heating and cooling sensations. Press one button to start a program, and the device will change temperature in waves.
In the thermal imaging, you can see the temperature fluctuation of the thermoelectric heat pump when it’s running a program. The sensation can help provide your brain some relief when you’re experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, and other types of body temperature disregulation.
I really like that you don’t need to configure an app, set up a bluetooth connection, or sign a massive EULA to get access to the majority of the device’s functionality. Of course there is an app, which unlocks more elaborate programs for the hot and cold sensations.
Fun fact: French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, who discovered the thermoelectric effects that make the Embr Wave work, was an experienced watchmaker before his research career, which was enabled by an inheritance his wife received. I’m guessing he probably would think this thing is pretty neat.
The first step in taking apart the Embr Wave was to remove the band. It was held in place by standard spring-loaded watchband pins. From there it seemed logical to try to detach the plastic shell surrounding the Peltier cooler by prying, and sure enough it had been glued in place. Underneath it are some magnets that help stick it to the charging base, and a visible next step: screws.
Then the metal enclosure came open like an Oreo cookie. The smaller metal bit had been protecting the main circuit board.
As I continued past the point of no return, I discovered the chunky battery makes up a lot of the thickness of this device. I broke open the Peltier cooler, as well as the charging base, and got to work checking the circuit boards out under a microscope.
Parts we could identify on the Embr Wave 2 circuitry:
|Component||Manufacturer and part number and/or markings|
|1||Bluetooth module with ARM Cortex M4||Nordic Semiconductor N52832 CIAAE0 2132QW|
|2||Real-Time Clock + power management IC||Ambiq Micro AMBIQ 1805B C2133|
|3||Battery charge management IC||Texas Instruments TI I5A7Z31 BQ25125|
|4||Unknown||C23 X1 MSV|
|6||Unknown||837 171 AKCG|
|7||Unknown||[QR code] T|
|8||Unknown||MOL RCL 12|
|11||Unknown||95C995I 8Q27421 10|
|12||Unknown||QUJ TI ?9K AV?|
|580mAh 3.8V Lithium battery||Zhongshan Zhongwangde New Energy Technology Co|