ULife South Korea

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The ULife South Korea plans to spend $25 billion on New Songdo, the world’s largest “ubiquitous city,” with computers linking home life and life on its streets. Construction, 40 miles from Seoul, is to be done in 2014.
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Ambient Control through Cognitive Data

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The Emotiv headset allows users the ability to wirelessly control objects through expression, emotion and cognitive data.Based on the EEG technology, emotiv has transformed the cognitive control patterns into a wearable remote control. This headset allows for control of real-time data which can directly a UI or environment. For example, your mood state could drive the meta-data relationships in a user interface to show you only particular images from your Flickr account or directly affect the physical geometry of the user’s seat as they read a book.

Gesture Control Systems

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Gesture control systems are one of the many systems being developed to control interfaces. Their success depends on the input of information which is sometimes uncontrollable as there are variants in how users interact. The trick for over coming this is to encourage a meta-data language to which we will all eventually become used to and therefore use in a similar way. Gesture controlled interfaces are significant to architecture in that it allows a user the ability to directly control objects  from a distance and that they are able to control their environment from where they are standing – the system can be place around a user.

Photosynth

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Photosynth, developed by Microsoft Live Labs, allows for the creation of realistic 3d images using data from the internet, taken photos and sourced photos from the internet to inform a college in a more spatial way of viewing, allowing user to be able to visualise environments in a way that is more akin to real-life.

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Intelligent Ambience and Building Atomisation Systems

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There are two distinct methods of controlling the environmental mediums of a built environment. Preset atomisation was introduced almost 20 years ago, and although advances in technology have made Building Automated Systems more efficient, the principles remain the same. However in recent years, intelligent systems have been introduced that with the use of sensors and real time monitoring system, can allow environments to be appropriate altered without the need for administration. However, often a combination of the two systems can work in synchrony, allowing for a smart environment that can be controlled by the occupant if so wished.

  • Atomisation

Preset automation designates an emerging practice of increased automation of appliances and features, facilitated through a centralized network. Building Automation can control lighting, doors and windows, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, and security, surveillance systems and more ethereal qualities such as sound and smell. Building atomisation are all means that are used to integrate the electrical controlled equipment in the built environment, with the purpose to increase the level of comfort, security and energy management in that environment.

An automated control system controls the environmental mediums through a centralised network, a certain number of parameters of presets exist within the system allowing personal preferences to be set via a variety of touch points. These touch points communicated, via telephone line, wireless transmission or the internet, to provide control and monitoring via a Smart Phone or Web browser. These touch points allow users the ability to remotely toggle power to individual rooms, therefore control the ambience in that space.

In general, a Demotic System integrates and connects all electrical devices in a building with each other. Therefore in the programming of options, the fact that all the electronically controlled devices are controlled through one system means that there can be programs that control all of the environmental media at one time. By limiting the amount of options available to users, it makes the system simple to use to all involved.

  • Intelligent Ambience

Environments enriched with sensors, actuators and processing units have been increasingly integrated into the fabric of modern buildings. Often in office buildings, sensors are used to detect activity in the building, allowing for the adaption of environmental medium to required levels.

One typical example is to turn the lights in a space on for a half hour since the last motion was sensed. In being smart, these systems also have to demonstrate themselves to be sensible. Being sensible demands a system that is emphatic to its occupants. It must have the capability to react to the users moods and adapt to the prevailing situation by understanding its user and adapting accordingly.

In combination, building atomisation and ambient intelligence can be sensible whilst not over powering – the user/or administrator still have the authority. There are many different parameters as an input to resolute an ambient output. Smart systems enable programming of these parameters to create truly intelligent and responsive environments. Below are the possible input parameters that the computer can draw real-time data from in order to resolute a programmed outcome.

Sensed Data:

  • Chronological time – Chronological time is a specific time of day as pre-set timers use.
  • Astronomical time – Astronomical times includes sunrise, sunset, a specific day of the week or days in a month or year
  • Room Temperature – Based on activity sensed and in door and outdoor temperature readings
  • Room occupancy and Motion Detection – Room occupancy might be determined with motion detectors or RFID tags, and is part of security and energy conservation programs.
  • Presence of daylight – Artificial lighting energy use can be reduced by automatically dimming and/or switching electric lights in response to the level of day lighting
  • Program logic – Preset activity profiles, acitivitation specified levels of lighting, heating, purification, music and smell levels.
  • Alarms – Alarm conditions can include doors opening and motion detected in a protected area which could deactivate lighting and computer systems if activated.
  • Biological and Psychological Data – Via sensing bodily data, environments can respond to ensure a harmonised environment.

Marshall McLuhan and The Extension of the Human Body

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Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher whose works had such a profound impact of the media world that he rose to fame as a ‘guru’ of media culture. In 1964 Marshall McLuhan wrote his classic book ‘Understanding Media’, in which he developed his view on how media technologies affected human behaviour. Marshall went on to construct arguments surrounding this subject, calling attention to how the experience of a new medium changes the relationships between our senses. He explored how technologies integrate themselves into society and observed how society accepted and behaved towards these new interventions.

In the first paragraph of Understanding Media, McLuhan introduces the notion of ‘extensions of a man’ as he writes: ‘Any extension, whether of skin, hand, or foot, affects the whole psychic and social complex.’ Understanding Media: The extensions of Man , 1964, McLuahan

For McLuhan, every technology, if designed correctly is an ‘extension of man’, and every new extension has a substantial impact on our behaviour. If McLuhan’s ideology is to be taken as true, then surely, these extensions of the human body, are also an extension of our physical surroundings?

McLuhan discussed how technologies should become an intuitive interface between the user and the task at hand. The natural process of a physical action to produce a tangible outcome has been transformed by the implementation of technology. Now this familiar two-step process has become three steps, in which our physical input is transformed into a digital analogy to once again result in the intended outcome. McLuhan’s argument was that for the technology to be truly successful, the user should see no evidence of this intermittent step. If the interface is apparent then the technology would no longer be an extension, but an addition to the human body.

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