Biologists at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, pursuing a model for studying heat dissipation, have created a glove that can rapidly cool down athletes’ core temperatures and dramatically improve exercise recovery and performance.

A version of the heat-extraction glove is currently nearing commercialization. It consists of a rigid plastic mitt, attached by a hose to what looks like a portable cooler. When an athlete sticks his or her hand into the airtight glove, the device creates a slight vacuum. The veins in the palm expand, drawing blood into a network of specialized heat-transfer veins, where the blood is rapidly cooled by water circulating through the glove's plastic lining.

Even in prototype form, the device was enormously efficient at altering body temperature. Early on, it successfully helped to speedily warm up the core temperature of surgery patients recovering from anesthesia.

But, in addition to helping regulate body temperature, the researchers discovered that the glove also seems to erase muscle fatigue in those doing many sets of repetitive exercises. The cooling produced a physical performance rate improvement that they claim is unprecedented.

They believe the device has the potential to treat hyperthermia and heat stress before they can become medical emergencies.