Roving Comforter (RoCo) – A Personal Cooling Device

Featured in the Washington Post, Atlantic Media, Bloomberg News, and Direct Current


RoCo is a Roving Personal Comfort device, which provides ultimate personal thermal management for people in inadequately or un-conditioned environments. It provides 12% to 30% energy savings compared with typical conditioned buildings systems, and better thermal and mobile comfort to occupants.

The prototypes are showcased at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, which are held at National Harbor, MD.  RoCo prototypes are also displayed at Maryland Day at the University of Maryland, at Maker Faire, in San Francisco, and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Made For Customers

Mobile Comfort is working with industry partners to design a commercial version of RoCo. They hope to test RoCo in 300 homes and offices starting in the Spring of 2019.

Unmatched Comfort

RoCo is equipped with unmatched comfort technology and the robotic platform follows designated users. It provides cooling as required using a directional wearable device. The advanced module could be fully autonomous and equipped with face detection technology to allow add-on features, such as security access check and mobile personal toolbox.
RoCo's ability to provide human comfort has been fully validated in a laboratory setting using human subjects.

RoCo Learns Your Thermal Requirements

RoCo’s intelligent nozzle smartly delivers conditioned air to parts of the body needing it most. As various parts of the body have different sensitivity levels for thermal sensation, RoCo ensures you benefit from cooling or heating  most through flexible smart nozzles that adjust supply air locations and conditions.
The high-end module will save personal preference data such as air temperature and velocity for different human metabolic rates.

The Evolution of Comfort


Significantly More Efficient 

The heart of this personal cooling/heating device is the next generation miniature heat pump system with built-in PCM storage. Benefiting from linear mini-compressor and next generation air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers, the system delivers cooling and heating at minimum power consumption without releasing waste heat.

It is 30 percent more efficient than conventional residential or commercial heat pump systems.  This significantly cuts utility bills.

RoCo research is sponsored by Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through a three-year contract. University of Maryland investigates performance in terms of comfort, energy efficiency, operating characteristics, ease of use and customer acceptance taking advantage of an open innovation platform.


For information about the RoCo project, contact Dr. Reinhard Radermacher, 301-405-5286.
All photos and images © 2016 University of Maryland.