With temperatures across much of the country in the teens or even single digits, few people are thinking about air conditioning. But just because it's freezing outside doesn't mean we shouldn't care about energy efficiency.
Carlo Ratti and his team at MIT's SENSEable City Lab have come up with Cloud Cast, a misting technology that cools a human-sized space (yours, that is) instead of an entire plaza, saving energy and water.
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Ratti unveiled the technology this week in Dubai, where it's always hot and in fact, the misting system works best in desert locales where the AC is always on high, wasting lots of energy.
Cloud Cast is made up of an array of thin aluminum rods that hang from a ceiling. Ultrasonic sensors inside the rods pulse sounds waves that bounce off any people standing or walking below.
A computer system measures the time interval it takes for the sounds waves to be reflected back. That helps the system pinpoint a person's location and where to create mist. LED lights also glow overhead, enhancing the experience.
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In this way, the cooling mist follows a person around, which is more efficient than misting an entire area, where only a few people might be standing.
"We envision the city of the future to be a place designed for people, giving them a chance to actually shape their environment and to fully experience their everyday lives and interactions," project manager Emma Greer, from Carlo Ratti Associati told Dezeen.
A few months ago, Ratti and his team introduced a similar concept that does the opposite: it warms only the space where a person is locating, also improving the energy efficiency of heating rooms. Combined, these technologies go could a long way toward making cities much more energy efficient.
Credit: SENSEable City Lab