MIT knows from experience that heating systems in commercial buildings are not energy efficient. They consume a lot of electricity and they have to be operated on the same temperature even if there are a few people in the premises. They have found out that commercial buildings alone account for over 20% of US energy consumption, so keeping this worrying statistic in mind they decided to invent a new system of heating that is dynamic and highly localised. They soon came up with a prototype system called as Local Warming. In this system, an infrared energy beam from a LED bulb follows the user’s movement with the help of Wi-Fi tracking around the room and keeps him/her warm wherever he/she goes.
In an experiment, they asked participants to enter the room and stand on special carpet which had symbolic footprints. Once a person stood on these fingerprints, the heating system was initiated and it kept following them in the room wherever they went. In the future they want to implement this system outdoors. Imagine moving in the park with the heating beams following you wherever you go.
The team has put up the prototype on display at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In this setup they have put a large infrared bulb surrounded by rotating mirrors that can direct light into a focused beam. The team however assures that future installations will be more compact than this. You can check this system in action in the video below.
To know more about Local Warming you can visit the MIT Senseable City Laboratory website and its coverage on Wired