NYU ITP Sensitive Buildings: Final Projects

Robert Faludi bring us details of the final projects presented for his Fall Sensitive Buildings class at Tisch ITP in New York City.

Course Description:

This is a class is about a big building and the people who live there. Students will conceive and create large scale sensor networks to benefit the tenants of a 28-story, 325-unit landmark building on Central Park South. The property’s owners have invited ITP to develop a variety of prototypes that enhance the livability, ecology and community of their building. Students will learn to use the latest in ZigBee wireless technology to design, build and deploy interactive sensor network systems, with full access to this landmark pre-war apartment complex. We’ll start hands-on, by teaching everything you need to know about wireless networking while developing potential project ideas. During the first part of the class we’ll tour the building to learn about its infrastructure, inhabitants and context. Next, we’ll create fast prototypes that explore your project ideas, installing these proof-of-concepts on site and observing the real-world results. Finally we’ll take what we’ve learned into final projects that have the potential to be deployed at scale and even as sponsored solutions. 240 CPS has been described as, “state-of-the-art green architecture before the term was coined.” Built in 1940, the building’s motto is “Where The Park is Part of the Plan.” A recent renovation has it sporting a ground-floor green roof, various upgrades for energy efficiency and a historically restored facade. We will have full access to any vacant units as well as limited access to several occupied apartments. The owners will also provide us with supervised access to all the building infrastructure from roof to basement including ventilation, plumbing, heating, elevator and energy systems. Students will have the chance to think big and work big with technology to help make this building extraordinary.

The class syllabus with a good reading list can be found here.

Projects from this class included:

Environmental Network:

“A wireless sensor network to measure the temperature, humidity, air quality, and noise at various locations throughout the building, logging and visualizing sensor data in real-time. Also, we created an interface that allows a user to control a small electronic appliance, like a lamp or air conditioner, remotely (or from the convenience of their own bed).”

Exercise Monitoring:

“Gymfo tracked the temperature, light, sound and humidity as it corresponded to gym traffic. By using several sensors, as well as a file of all fingerprint reader, we created a way to map useful info, log intensity of workouts, created a useful tenant dashboard and provide feedback for the building.”

Postal Mail Chute:

“There are countless stories and myths about mail being stuck of lost in mail chutes, which results in tenants being wary of using them on a day-to-day basis. Our tracking system aims to solve this by verifying the mail’s passage through several floors of the building until it has safely arrived in the 1st floor holding box.”

NYU ITP Sensitive Buildings

Elevator Visualization: “Transpiration is a data-driven, reactive projection in 240 Central Park South. It is demonstrative of the motion of the elevators through the elevator shafts, based on the flux of people in and out of the building. The data is collected using the security cameras deployed in the four elevators.”

Read Rob’s full breakdown of the course at: http://www.faludi.com/2011/12/27/sensitive-buildings-final-projects/

Image credits: Jack Kalish, Gabriella Levine, Tobias Schachman, Emily Webster

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