Drinks & Drones at Pendleton UAS - July

A Heater that Divides and Conquers


We agree with our partners and clients at CADET:  electric ‘zonal’ heating is the most efficient way to heat a house.  A zonal heater allows heating of one or two rooms, instead of the whole house; it allows heating of a room – say a bathroom – quickly, just long enough to get ready for work.   And using electrical energy is essentially 100% efficient – all input energy is transformed into heat.

SIGMADESIGN and CADET explored ways to further exploit these advantages.

One idea: if heating a single zone is preferable to heating a whole dwelling, might heating zones-within-zones be even better?  Our exploration yielded some surprising insights.  For example, some parts of a room are naturally colder – or more difficult to heat – than others: near windows and exterior walls for instance.  Single-heat-sources struggle to moderate temperature evenly throughout these rooms, in part because it takes time for heat to migrate to the furthest corners.  Alternatively, you may actually want one corner warmer – where you like to sit and read for instance.  Easily solved with a conventional space heater…unless you simultaneously want two comfy reading corners.

Our solution: acclimates.

Divide a single 1600w heater into four satellite units. Each unit has a 400w heating element, quiet fan, and a distinctive communication system.  Place them anywhere within reach of a 120v outlet, plug in and warm up.

Satellite units are only half the story.

How they work together as an interconnected system is equally surprising.


Individual units are equipped with room-temperature-sensors and Bluetooth transceivers.  Once an app is installed on your smart phone, a link is established with each unit.  By selecting among several room floor-plans, each unit is dragged to its approximate location.  From there, the room’s thermal status is visualized real-time showing cool/warm areas as blue/orange gradients.  By using the now-common iPhone gesture of pinching/spreading fingers, individual unit output can be adjusted.

Acclimate heaters are just one example of collaboration between SIGMADESIGN and our customers.  CADET was looking for ways to expand their product line using existing manufacturing capabilities, and SIGMADESIGN Industrial Designers were ready to help.  Brainstorming sessions involving CADET yielded dozens of concepts, all backed up by our Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, who then helped to develop and validate final concepts.  We anticipate that several of these concepts will advance to detail design and engineering, testing, component manufacturing and assembly all under the SIGMADESIGN roof.  This full range of services ultimately saves our clients time and money – a process we call Engineering Success.

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