Calling something a “gadget” may help to differentiate it from another consumer electronics device, but it doesn’t exactly elevate its status as a useful device. But the Ambi powered by Blu*TEC Portable Personal Cooling Device doesn’t care what you call it as long as it’s understood that what it does has value: relieving discomfort and pain that is localized on the body, such as a mosquito bite or having banged the funny bone against a table. Right now it sounds like one of those cold wraps you keep in the freezer and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. However, the Ambi’s electronic nature and physical construction can make it suitable as a comfort against “hot flashes” and migraines as well.
The Ambi powered by Blu*TEC Portable Personal Cooling Device might be considered an “electronic ice cube” as it uses the Peltier effect of thermoelectric cooling, like what NASA used to chill the space shuttle and also found in some portable coolers. Cold therapy has been shown to be effective in situations noted above, although there is no US FDA evaluation nor claims by the company as to its treating, curing or preventing any disease or medical condition. But then an ice cube/cold wrap doesn’t get a big play in the medical books either — so okay, now that’s out of the way. One side of the Ambi has the exhaust fan, LED indicators and power switch, the other side the metal plate that cools to 50 degrees F (10 C). It’s this plate that gets pressed against the area to be treated: in the case of “hot flashes” and related, the company says to place it against the back of the neck where the thermoreceptors (heat sensors) are most dense. The idea being to cool them off and tell the brain, which manages pain, to discontinue the troubles.
The Ambi itself is small enough to fit inside a knapsack or purse, although I imagine it’s more likely to be used in the home. It runs on 4 “AA” batteries, which makes sense since that lets it be portable — the included AC adapter is a nice addition but working it with a power cord draping down isn’t very sensible. One side has the exhaust fan, LED indicators and power tab, while the other has the metal plate that becomes 50 degrees F (10 F) and is applied against the body. Pushing the power tab to the right turns on a red light and an aprox. 30 second wait time counts down. When the light becomes blue, the Ambi is ready to be used (i.e., applied to the problem area). The cold being generated isn’t so intense as to cause “freezer burn” either. After a few minutes, it’s time to recharge the plate if more use is desired. How well the Ambi works is a bit tricky to track — each person is different in how they react and how effective the results are. In my case, I scratched my arm sufficiently enough to be aggravating, and so used the Ambi to cool down the area. I can say that its effectiveness would be good for small bites (that mosquito again) and compared to an ice cube or cold wrap, it’s much more convenient and usable (no water condensation like that from an ice cube to worry about, for one thing). I don’t get night sweats, but a friend’s wife gets migraines and so I gave it to him and asked her to use it the next time it happened. She did, and said that it helped — she also said that it was a lot better to use compared to a cold wrap. That might seem obvious, but it’s also one of Ambi’s selling points — there’s none of the fuss or bother that comes from using what’s being kept inside the freezer.
Bottom line: The Ambi powered by Blu*TEC Portable Personal Cooling Device demonstrates that a procedure (applying cold) can be reduced to simplicity through the use of an electronic device. That the device is portable and also designed to work in an efficient manner is all to the better. While the Ambi can’t be endorsed as a medical device legally, there are no negatives to using it for cold therapy. Or any reason a guy can’t find a use for it as well as a gal. Plus the fact that it can help in some cases to alleviate pain makes the cost of $49.99 a pittance to pay.
Simple to use, Battery operation
A bit large to fit in the average purse
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.