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ASU creates new technology to research how heat impacts our bodies

Posted at 4:29 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 01:24:46-04

TEMPE — Comfort is hard to come by in Arizona's triple digit days.

But, Arizona State University has MaRTy to help.

"I know that this knowledge that I'm producing is actually being used to make it more comfortable here in the desert for people," Assistant Professor at Arizona State University Ariane Middel said.

MaRTy is a heat robot that monitors the impact extreme heat has on our bodies and how shade could save our health.

The tool was born back in 2016 with a mix of Amazon ordering and high-powered technology.

"I wanted to have something that's mobile, something that I could move around, something that's easy to handle, and something that's not too bulky," Middel described.

MaRTY measures mean radiant temperature. Middel said that is the radiation that impacts your body from all sides.

"And mean radiant temperature is short for MRT, so that's why MaRTY is called MaRTY," Middel explained.

Middel and her team of researchers have been using the device in a "Fifty Grades of Shade" study.

So far, they have uncovered that umbrellas are the worst type of shade because it seems to keep that radiant heat right above an individual's head.

While they have found awnings and shade structures work best in spots where trees cannot be planted.

Middel and the team have been using MaRTY throughout Tempe, even taking it to Tucson and California.

Their research will ramp up along with the temperatures because 100 plus degrees is perfect testing weather.