The Need for Intelligent Personalized Comfort Control
By Andrew Payne.
Modern architects and engineers face the challenge of creating indoor environments that fulfill the dual goals of user satisfaction and energy performance. Creating an appropriate climate is essential to personal comfort, productivity, and occupant satisfaction. Yet, the question remains – why do so many buildings consistently fail to meet these two needs?
Stewart Brand has a great quote in his book, How Buildings Learn:
“Almost no buildings adapt well. They’re designed not to adapt; also budgeted and financed not to, constructed not to, administered not to, maintained not to, regulated and taxed not to, even remodeled not to. But all buildings … adapt anyway, however poorly, because of the usage in and around them are changing constantly.”
One solution to this problem is to create more intelligent personalized devices – ones which can learn about how you use a space and adapt to your needs. This new class of devices should also be able to communicate with other devices and the larger centralized building control system.
The first step toward greater personal comfort control is the development of a new low-power robotic fan. I designed and built this patent pending device which learns when and where to focus its attention; directing cooled air toward regions of the body which most affect comfort. Results show that people tend to prefer cooler breathing zones (ie. face, neck, and head). As such, the fan has a built-in video camera and uses facial recognition software to track the position of the user’s face and directs the fans accordingly.
There are also three high-torque servo motors inside the body of the fan. One moves the fan left-to-right while the other two motors tilt the individual fans up and down. It is also extremely low power; consuming about one third the power of a traditional desk fan. Lastly, it can wirelessly send and receive messages from the central building system and other devices within its environment.