One potential way to keep a person’s hands warm while glove-free makes sense. Blood serves a number of functions, one of which is distributing heat throughout our body. If your core is warm, either due to layering or exercise, then the chances are your extremities will be warmer too.
Your body naturally forces blood towards your skin in an attempt to get rid of excess heat. As part of the experiment, subjects were fitted with electrical “forearm warmers.” The warmers use around 41 watts of electricity, which is around the same as a fairly dim incandescent lightbulb. Arm warmers like this are capable of being powered by a small battery bank, and can be purchased from websites like Amazon.
More robust limb warming solutions have shown promise, but supplying the power they need poses a challenge. However, a patent for a possible solution has been filed by the Medical Support Systems and Evacuation Project Management Office in the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Agency.
The results of the test were promising, with the hand temperature of individuals rising from 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit when the arm warmers were fitted. More importantly, that five degree increase in temperature led to a 50% boost in dexterity. Your joints contain synovial fluid, which is heavily affected by cold. The heat boost seems to help this fluid stay in its ideal range.
Despite the early success, research takes a while. Officials expect field testing of the gloveless solution to be a few years away.