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Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning System from MIT Knows Where You Are


CRA-Cloud-Cast-by-Carlo-Ratti_dezeen_784_4MIT researchers are working on the ultimate energy-efficient air conditioning system that follows you around like a puppy, making sure that the space around you is as cool as you want it to be.

We all know that air-conditioning  (AC) systems are huge energy and water wasters. Yet, the moment temperature gets a bit higher than we find comfortable, most people run towards that remote control.

Regardless of the numerous attempts that green supporters have made to raise awareness and offer easy solutions that do not include energy wasting, air conditioning systems still play a huge role in any office building, trade center, and even go to the extreme to be used in open spaces.

It is therefore not a surprise at all that scientists and engineers are constantly working on making air conditioning more energy efficient and effective, while still serving the needs of the spoiled society. The examples are numerous, and range from using renewable energy to power the systems, all the way to finding new materials that act as ACs.

But this latest invention from a team working at the MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, is nothing like anything that we have seen before. The technology is called Cloud Cast, and it sort of does what the label says – it follows you around like a cloud follows the unlucky character from the fairy tales, only that here the “rain” is not bothering you, but rather it keeps you cool and comfortable.

The team got famous last year when they publicly announced the installation of the heated version of the system, called Local Warming, in Venice. That technology was pretty awesome, and attracted quite a bit of attention with its servo motors, lamps and motion tracking systems that allowed them to know precisely where people need heating.

Now, they did it again, this time having desert environment in mind. Showcased in Dubai earlier this week, the team unveiled the super water– and energy-efficient air conditioning system. It’s made of aluminum rods fitted with ultrasonic sensors that are mounted on the ceiling. The sensors detect the presence of people by sending pulses of signals. These signals are then transferred to a central control system, which activates hydro-valves and LED lights.

When you and the speed with which you move are detected, special nebulizers mist you to cool you down. This apparently is much more efficient than keeping the whole room cool, and it is definitely much more efficient out in the open. Unlike similar misting technologies, which simply spray water all over the place, this system works only on human-sized space, saving a lot of energy and water.

As you can probably imagine, the system is still a proof-of-concept, but you have to give it to the guys- it is definitely cool.

Image (c) SENSEable City Lab

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