Fuel for thought.....
Harvard University architects D. Michelle Addington and Daniel L. Schodekm writing in Smart Materials and New Technologies For architecture and design professions suggest that smart technologies follow conventional cybernetic principles;
"Whether a molecule, a material, a composite, an assembly, or a system, 'smart materials and technologies' will exhibit the following characteristics:
- Immediacy - they respond in real-time.
- Transiency - they respond to more than one environmental state.
- Self-actuation - intelligence is internal to rather than external to the 'material'.
- Selectivity - their response is discrete and predictable.
- Directness - the response is local to the 'activating' event.
They go on to challenge conventional design principles:
"It may be this last characteristic, directness, that poses the greatest challenge to architects. Our building systems are neither discrete nor direct. Something as apparently simple as changing the temperature in a room by a few degrees will set off a Rube Goldberg cascade of processes in the HVAC system, affecting the operation of equipment throughout the building. The concept of directness, however, goes beyond making the HVAC equipment more streamlined and local; we must also ask fundamental questions about the intended behavior of the system. The current focus on high-performance buildings is directed toward improving the operation and control of these systems. But why do we need these particular systems to begin with? The majority of our building systems, whether HVAC, lighting, or structural, are designed to service the building and hence are often referred to as 'building services'. Excepting laboratories and industrial uses, though, buildings exist to serve their occupants. Only the human body requires management of its thermal environment, the building does not, yet we heat and cool the entire volume.
"The human eye perceives a tiny fraction of the light provided in a building, but lighting standards require constant light levels throughout the building."
"If we could begin to think of these environments at the small scale - what the body needs - and not at the large scale - the building space - we could dramatically reduce the energy and material investment of the large systems while providing better conditions for the human occupants. When these systems were conceived over a century ago, there was neither the technology nor the knowledge to address human needs in any manner other than through large indirect systems that provided homogeneous building conditions. The advent of smart materials now enables the design of direct and discrete environments for the body, but we have no road map for their application in this important arena."
...We've started to chart that roadmap over the past three years ....see related posts below.
Over the past 10 years that I've been studying smart technolgies, I've come to a similar conclusion as Addington and Schodekm, long sensing that smart technolgies will have a disruptive and (r)evolutionary effect of society....McLuhan was right !!
End of Traditional Heating and Air conditioning; Thin-film version of Active Building Envelope (ABE) systems could make conventional air conditioning and heating equipment obsolete (or why heat empty space?)
OLEDs; New High efficiency flat light source OLEDs > Almost any surface in a home, whether flat or curved, could become a light source: walls, curtains, ceilings, cabinets or tables. (or why light unneeded space?)
...along the same train of thought...why heat and store a full tank of hot water, when you can just heat the pipe? or nanoheat the liquid in the future?
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