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Smart Homes , Oh ! Really ?

04 Apr

A buzz word in its on right smart homes find a standing on its own.
Moreover, a learned man would use the terms, systems engineering, Cyber-physical systems, Mathematical modelling, Stochastic determination and multivariate analysis and probability theories to go hand in hand on the design of smart home. All of these would throw a normal/ casual searcher to stop his pursuit.

What is a smart home?, Let’s Capture the basics

How stuff works

Get some technical stuff from :-

Dr. Amarjeet Singh (https://www.iiitd.edu.in/~amarjeet/) in IIIT Delhi have some nice really nice statistical tools that help reduce the carbon footprint.

His startup Zenatix provides more information

http://www.iiitd.ac.in/news/zenatix

http://www.zenatix.com/

IIT Hyderabad has done many smart works in the field. The idea is again to move to zero energy smart environments.
http://www.iith.ac.in/IITHSH/Home.html

CDAC Chennai has some bearing towards smart homes R&D

http://www.ubicomp.in/cdac-chennai

When Honda opened its smart home in UCDavis.(Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8WvOroEUyo&feature=em-subs_digest

I was happy about someone talking about the colours to be used. That has impact in saving lighting related energy expenditure.

Nevertheless, I have this odd feeling that when there is more analysis and scientific data crunching to get to the essence, there is a lurking doubt on whether all this is necessary.

Talks relate to use of Information and Communication Technology for the betterment of day to day lives. The cost of houses rise like anything and these technologies become affordable in the related sense. But, in the beginning, there was a house that was decently priced, is it even necessary to modify it.

Here, is a traditional home (in Kerala). Image taken from http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/

A traditional house in Kerala, the image is taken from TripAdvisor.in

The pillars of the house is brick and reinforced cement. The roofing is brick-tile. There is lot of shade around the house. The central plot would be free of any construction. Mostly,Ocimum tenuiflorum (Tulasi) stands in the central plot. Air flows from main and back doors and windows into the building, and towards the central plot. From there the comparatively hot air (after absorbing the heat dissipated from the buidling ) could rise up and leave the premise. Rain falls in the middle and around the building. Very often we can see a couple of glass tiles on the roof corresponding to each room. This gives natural light. That is good enough for normal life, except living. There is no much colour sense and aesthetic painting done on the walls, interior or exterior. Does this act as a smart home? Partly yes, with natural lighting and cooling (26-34 degree Centigrade during summer). What is missing is the lighting during night. If supplemented by lights then it does not give as great a illuminance as a concrete roof with white painting on underside. The traditional brick-tile has brown colour and is not great reflector of the light. But lights can be so arranged as to suit the reading requirement of the reader. Other cons , would be non-optimum structure as far as cost -generated per occupant is considered .

 

 

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Let’s us see another example of planned building construction. This one is from Yemen

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemen. Wikipedia provides image for High-rise architecture at Shibam, Wadi Hadramawt and many details. At Shibam, the high rise buildings gave protection to residents, low cost of maintenance and no need for high tech eco-friendly cost-effective “energy-efficient” HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) control and related hassles of sensors, actuators and automation algorithm, software and what-not.

Things really can be simple and they really work. The role of technologist is to make life better, not more complicated. Just like a fast use doesn’t need graphical eye-candies to get his routine work done. Just like some people stick onto to notepad and keep the memory required low (which is really low carbon) remove unwanted fonts, formatting and fanciful items. Life could be made simple. Only if we had thought of it.

People call the frugal Indian’s miss-call communication as an innovation, as Jugaad. We have been doing this for ages, without anybody telling it. We could use a pen to open a difficult-to-open pack of snacks, no scissors, no blades are really a requirement. I would say people are made to believe to do certain things in certain way, say bad education, and make them feel developed, well-researched, “knowledgeable” mind. These refinements have become a hurdle to free thinking. It had also hampered the clear judgement of a common-belief. Is this a practice to corrupt the mind of masses? Does technology wish to do it, inadvertently? What do technologists and evangelists, educators and professionals do to correct the mechanism?

If we had an answer, we could proudly say , we are smart people in a smart world, with smart technologies and smart homes.

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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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