You really could be in your own amazing bubble at the office.
In a move that could spell the end of designated office cardigans, Italian architectural firm Carlo Ratti Associati created a personalized heating, cooling and lighting system that follows workers around.
The system, called Office 3.0, works using sensors that monitor data like occupancy levels, temperature, carbon dioxide concentration, and the status of meeting rooms, according to the architectural firm's description. Workers set their personal preferences in a smartphone app, and the building system responds in real time, adjusting lighting, climate and room booking. An optimized "thermal bubble" follows each person around.
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"By synchronizing energy usage and human occupancy within buildings we can create a more sustainable and responsive architecture -- theoretically slashing energy consumption by up to 40 percent," Ratti, the firm's founder, said in a press release (PDF). As soon as somebody leaves the space, the room goes into a standby mode to save energy.
Ratti and his team plan to make Office 3.0 a reality in the new headquarters for the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation in Turin. Established by Fiat's founder in 1966, the foundation is a cultural institution active in the humanities and social sciences. Renovations on the building begin this week with the opening planned for spring 2017, according to the architectural firm.
In addition to the foundation, the new building will house a co-working space, a fabrication lab, workshop areas for students and entrepreneurs and a café. A large open space there can transform into a series of small meeting rooms, each with customizable thermal bubbles, the firm said. The new space will also be reconfigurable with movable glass walls, folding wooden partitions and sound-absorbing curtains.
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Carlo Ratti Associati, whose founder also directs the Senseable City Lab at MIT, has long been focused on personalized comfort in built spaces. Previously the team designed a heat spotlight and an individualized cool mist system. More recently the firm created a remote-controlled reconfigurable sofa called Lift-Bit that contains actuators so every element can be raised or lowered.
As much as I love working at a comfortable temperature, the personalized lighting part of Office 3.0 would be amazing. Let's get away from that fluorescent glare. Come bask in this soft glow.
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