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Science

Smart Bricks to Monitor Buildings of the Future 142

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-jokes-about-getting-laid-please dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a "smart brick" which can monitor a building's health and report its conditions wirelessly. "This innovation could change the face of the construction industry," said Chang Liu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. "We are living with more and more smart electronics all around us, but we still live and work in fairly dumb buildings. By making our buildings smarter, we can improve both our comfort and safety." Built into a wall, these bricks could monitor a building's temperature, vibration and movement. Such information could be vital to firefighters battling a blazing skyscraper, or to rescue workers ascertaining the soundness of an earthquake-damaged structure. These researchers also think these devices could help monitoring nurseries, daycares and senior homes. You'll find more details in this summary."
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Smart Bricks to Monitor Buildings of the Future

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  • Brick (Score:5, Funny)

    by Luigi30 (656867) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#6204412)
    Will it shoot out gas when someone graffitis it?
    • Just wait till we see reports about new fiendishly clever high tech criminals using smart bricks for the traditional smash and grab at a jewelers store
    • Re:Brick (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Shhh... be careful. The walls have ears.
  • Interesting, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Keri Immos (681622) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#6204413) Journal
    This could be a very expensive and useless technology. The proposal for it and the quote by the professor who apparently invented it are reflective of the brick's function as more of a "black box", as in an airplane, rather than a useful tool. If the brick says the buildings about to fall, what can the owners do? The excuse that it helps firefighters is totally ridiculous, firefighters aren't going to have time to jack in to a network plug when they're trying to save lives. The other touted use it to sense vibrations. I don't know about you, but I know when there's an earthquake and when there's not, I don't need a brick to tell me.

    In short, useless waste of money marketing FUD. Per norm for slashdot stories.
    • by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:41AM (#6204432)
      If the brick says the buildings about to fall, what can the owners do?

      Get on the phone to their brokers and triple their insurance policy
    • If the brick says the buildings about to fall, what can the owners do?

      Get a good assurance really quick?
    • by SagSaw (219314) <slashdot@nOSpAm.mmoss.org> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:56AM (#6204545)
      If the brick says the buildings about to fall, what can the owners do?

      I think the idea would be to detect movement of the brick relative to other parts of the building. This would allow the owner to detect and have the opportunity to correct any structural problems well before the building is in any danger of collapse.

      The excuse that it helps firefighters is totally ridiculous, firefighters aren't going to have time to jack in to a network plug when they're trying to save lives.

      Remember, not everybody who works for a fire department rushes into burning buildings to save people. Some people at the scene are going to set up a command center. Presumably, the command center would be equipped to monitor such 'smart' building materials and relay important information to firefighters in the building.

      The other touted use it to sense vibrations. I don't know about you, but I know when there's an earthquake and when there's not, I don't need a brick to tell me.

      After a major earthquake occurs, buildings need to be inspected to determine how much structrual damage has occured. Knowing the magnitude and direction of the vibrations sensed at various parts of the building could help the damage assessment process.
      • Your assertions are currently well enough covered by good old expertise and shoe leather. Buildings tend to already have inspection systems known as superintendents, or facilities departments with workers and a manager. Cheaper and more reliable options for inspection can and ARE being fulfilled with periodic Human involvement and sensors. This would still be the case with so-called automated sensors ... as you well know, data doesn't inspect itself; somebody has to look at it.

        The "smart brick" is a OK i
    • by irexe (567524) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:29PM (#6204714)
      firefighters aren't going to have time to jack in to a network plug when they're trying to save lives.

      They do [pswn.gov] actually, or at least they try. They even have time to watch streaming video and infrared sensors. Had you thought your post through a bit, you could have imagined yourself that it obviously pays to know a hazardous situation inside out before you send in more bodies.

      The other touted use it to sense vibrations. I don't know about you, but I know when there's an earthquake and when there's not, I don't need a brick to tell me.

      I don't know about your specific seismic abilities of course, but for us mortals 'feeling' an earthquake usually means it is too late. That is why so many peopple still die of them. I'm not saying these bricks will solve the problem of early earthquake detection, but they at least stand a better chance at it than you do.

      In short, useless waste of money marketing FUD. Per norm for slashdot stories.
      (Offtopic)

      FUD has become a very easy label to stick on articles people don't like, but it really makes no sense at all in this context, does it? Just as a reminder: you don't have to read the slashdot stories you don't like, o.k.? Just don't piss on a technology because you are not interested in reading about it.

    • by ramk13 (570633)
      I think you haven't really considered all the uses the researcher was discussing. Obviously if something catastropic happens, you are going to be able to get the general picture by standing outside. (fire, earthquake, etc.) But if there is a fire in a building, where is the fire? How long has it been burning? Is it safe to go in? After the fire, is the structure still sound? Were the materials degraded by heat? Embedded sensors can answer these types of questions, and if integrated correctly with the existi
    • In short, useless waste of money

      I agree, especially if you look at it as a brick. If you were talking about something that monitored the health of post-tension members in a large building or bridge, that might be interesting. If you just think of it as a proof-of-concept, then it is kind of cool.

      The idea that there might be valuable correlation of data between temperature and accelleration is harder to believe. I think someone needed to take a better look at what kind of data could be usefully combin
      • And there's the man with the magic answer.

        Premature P/T failure is a BIG deal. This would be huge, so long as you could get it into an Ironworker-Proof package.

        Also, as a related note, in the new large bridges in California, Caltrans is having accelerometers and other sensors installed in the bridge and down tubes into the bottom of the piles. The idea is if they can plot the relative movement of the top and bottom of the bridge, they can determine if it's OK without a lot of destructive testing.
    • Did you think of the possibility of embedding wireless thermometers/motion sensors/microphones in them so that in the event of a building collaps, you have a small sensor network listening for signs of life?


      I'm claiming prior art on this one.
    • In an emergency, having every single person do mindless grunt work is the fastest, easiest way to get everybody killed.

      You let some people go into the building, and then you have some people think while all hell is falling around them. On September 11th, not everybody who tried to save lives was in the buildings. There were those who shut down the air traffic system. In a war, not everybody goes to the front lines. Even if you are badly lacking in men in battle, you still have to have those who think.
  • I guess i cant use "Dumb as a half pile of bricks" anymore.
  • I wonder (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by seinman (463076)
    how long it'll be before the paranoid slashdotters come in and say "and they'll monitor your every move with it!" Happens when every story about technology like this is posted.
    • how long it'll be before the paranoid slashdotters come in and say "and they'll monitor your every move with it!"
      Hey! You're spying on me, ain't ya!
    • you know I just thought of something....this might allow the goverement to monitor our movements!
    • This was about the second thought that popped into my mind when reading the article. And then I laughed and cast it aside as ridiculous and pointless - there are far easier ways of monitoring someone. But some people have actually already posted such comments below. Am I a sheep now?
  • by 3ryon (415000) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:39AM (#6204424)
    Such information could be vital to firefighters battling a blazing skyscraper...

    Finally, a solution for all of those brick skyscrapers.
    • by twitter (104583) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:18PM (#6204662) Homepage Journal
      Finally, a solution for all of those brick skyscrapers.

      It's called a curtian wall. It's not structrually bearing, but cinder blocks might be the cheapest way to do it. When you put them around a fire escape, they can keep you from cooking as fast.

      I'm not sure I want "vibration" sensors in my walls for the local police department, nosy neighbors or anyone else to listen to. My voice is a "vibration" and what I say in my house and place of work is for those around me, not big brother.

      • Cinder blocks (Score:2, Informative)

        by ajs318 (655362)
        Only one problem with cinder blocks ..... they are actually somewhat inflammable. The value of the energy in power plant ash is less than the cost of recovering it {though one would expect newer plants to make a better job of getting all the heat out of the coal} ..... but if you heat it up hot enough, it will start to undergo a chemical reaction with air ..... in other words, go on fire .....
    • Wether the entire building consists of bricks or not is irrelivant. The bricks will be placed withing the concrete. Just because they are smart bricks doesnt mean they cant be applied to say, concrete walls.

      Chilak.net
  • "Smart bricks" invented this technology! I can just picture the board meeting where they sat around talking about how they could sell bricks for $220 USD ea.

    Joking asside, construction material that provides feedback is likely better than construction material that does nothing but watch the paint flake.
    • construction material that provides feedback is likely better than construction material that does nothing but watch the paint flake


      Yeah, thats a job for managers.

    • I'd hate to be the maintenance guy when the batteries start needing replacement...

      Or do the inventors presume that the cost of wiring every brick into the electrical system will be worth the potential benefits?

      -j
    • Re:Hehe Smart Bricks (Score:2, Informative)

      by jakobk (553240)
      At a highschool where I live, they bought special bricks for â150 each. And at the hichschool I attend, â9M are being spent to remove toxic PCBs. So yes, people are willing to waste money in this way.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:41AM (#6204438) Homepage Journal
    The problem with technologies like these are that they're simply form factor adjustments of existing technologies.

    Currently you can very easily put temperature sensors (or even seismic detectors) in a building, but this project wants to put these items into a brick with a wireless connection. Is this really a story? Sure, such a brick might exist in every new building in the future, but you could have this in your home right now, in a small box containing the same gadgets. Putting it in a brick just doesn't seem that exiting, y'know?

    This is like the 'building a PC without a case' stories we see from time to time, but without the humor value of seeing someone mount a motherboard in a cardboard box.
  • by Mr. Grimm (599800) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:42AM (#6204440)
    First we give buildings the ability to feel. Then we let them think. Twenty years from now houses are eating families after they don't get the foundation fixed quick enough. Stop the madness!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The more technology takes over peoples lives the happier I am. Things like this mean that there will always be jobs for us geeks no matter what.

    Fuck the recession, there is no recession!
  • These researchers also think these devices could help monitoring nurseries, daycares and senior homes.

    Beep, Beep, Beep.
    Baby #63 needs a diaper change.
    • If a device calibrated to detect seismic events picked it up, that was one hell of an accident...
      • Ok, fine...

        Baby Nibblonian #204 needs a diaper change.

        And don't tell me those dark matter poops aren't detectable when they hit the floor. Of course, now it's just in the cartoons...
  • hey, it's this bit that gets me "These researchers also think these devices could help monitoring nurseries, daycares and senior homes"

    how long before they are in ALL homes by law?

    it's biblical. remember that bit about no one being able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast?

    it was a bad translation, they meant mark of the brick - the one that says "quality bricks designed to last"

    john
    are you a weapon of male destruction? you need one of these snazzy t-shirts [wildjelly.com]

  • maintenance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orgasmatron (8103) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:46AM (#6204471)
    Bricks can last for literally hundreds of years with little to no maintenance. Anyone want to put bets on the lifetimes of these worthless gadgets?
    • Re:maintenance (Score:3, Informative)

      by Have Blue (616)
      If they can be externally powered (like RFID chips on a larger scale), and use solid-state technology that, as greenpeace loves to point out, is not biodegradable, then they can probably last for quite a while.
    • something tells me M$ will try to get involved. if that's the case my guess would be about five minutes. can you imagine seeing blue walls of death everywhere?
  • by bravehamster (44836) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:46AM (#6204472) Homepage Journal
    Let's see....IPv6 should give us enough IP addresses so every brick can have their own address. Hope the building doesnt stop you from moving from one area to the other if you set your subnet wrong.

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnoldNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:47AM (#6204479) Homepage Journal

    Wow, it's gonna suck upgrading all of those when new a kernel comes out.

  • I wonder how one would go about changing the batteries in such a device.
  • inflexible (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:50AM (#6204504)
    Built into a wall, these bricks could monitor a building's temperature, vibration and movement.

    ...and built into a wall, there's no way to fix the 'brick' when it breaks down and stops working. All of the above functions can be performed by sensors ON the wall,floor, ceiling, etc- or post-construction inside the wall, accessible via an access panel. Or you can make a brick that's not completely 'built in'- ie, you make a place for it, a box or something- and the sensor can still be serviced, you still get advantages of easy installation, etc.

    So maybe you put a slew of them in-I suppose ease of installation counters the increased cost of deploying more of them. But still, that's great- now you've raised the chances that one of them will fail(since there are more of them)...and they're possibly more unreliable, and accuracy or precision will be worse since, well, you made 'em cheaper.

  • by d'fim (132296)
    Why not just add sensors to the existing power and/or data infrastructure? Like the safety device vendors are already doing? Bricks could be used to supplement that, but using these bricks in place of existing technology seems silly.
  • I can't actually be sure I'm insane.
  • 3. If a smart brick comes crashing in through the window, don't duck....it will veer out of the way to avoid hitting you.

    2. Oh yeah, how 'bout wrapping that sensor around THIS finger? [Take your pick which anatomical region you prefer.]

    1. Huh? You mean central Illinois has buildings, let alone any actually made of brick?
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug&geekazon,com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:11PM (#6204622) Homepage
    "In the gaming industry, wireless sensors attached to a personâ(TM)s arms and legs could replace the conventional joystick and allow a âcouch potatoâ(TM) to get some physical exercise while playing video games such as basketball or tennis."

    I get it. Sort of like if they got off the couch and played the actual sport. Uh...
  • "Help I've fallen and I can't get up!"

    The problem is the micro scale versus the macro scale. While you think having bricks with humidity sensors would help you find a leak in a wall, just find the first brick that reported wetness, they wouldn't work in the rain.

    What's a brick going to tell you during a California earthquake? "Dude ... I'm feeling shaky."

    Unless a brick can report its actual position and orientation in 3D space along with any delta since is was laid (better be none) you can't tell anymore
    • While you think having bricks with humidity sensors would help you find a leak in a wall, just find the first brick that reported wetness, they wouldn't work in the rain.

      Have you ever seen a brick house being built? Not all bricks are on the outside, some never get wet unless there's a leak somewhere

      What's a brick going to tell you during a California earthquake? "Dude ... I'm feeling shaky."

      I guess by knowing which bricks are under the most stress or which ones break first in case of earthquake, you c

    • Reletive Delta (Score:3, Informative)

      by inKubus (199753)
      Unless a brick can report its actual position and orientation in 3D space along with any delta since is was laid (better be none) you can't tell anymore about "settling damage" than with a visual inspection. But GPS down to the fraction of a centimeter is beyond what the military has access to.

      What about relative deltas. IE, you have 1000 bricks stacked up, and you monitor all of them. The wall starts bowing inward. If the bricks are capable of communicating with neighboring bricks and measuring how th
  • this is perfect (Score:2, Interesting)

    so not a hacker or the government can egt inside out homes and monitor our activities.....and law enforcment does not even need to bug a house they can just hack into the bricks.
  • Mmmm, an intelligent piece of drywall would probably be more usefull in the typical american lumber and cardboard construction :-).

  • Grandma was right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Embedded Geek (532893) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:24PM (#6204694) Homepage
    Whenever she was concerned about being overheard, my Grandam would caution us: The walls have ears.

    Who knew - the old girl was right.

    • Seriously, who's to stop people from putting microphones/other recording devices along with the sensors in the bricks. With the wireless capabilities, they'll be able to transmit whatever they record, and the government/other evil agency will be able to download every conversation that takes place in the house.
      Paranoid thinking?.. Let's hope so.
    • Whenever she was concerned about being overheard, my [grandma] would caution us: The walls have ears. Who knew - the old girl was right.

      So sayeth Embedded Geek.

  • in soviet russia, smart bricks monitor yoU!
    • Yep USSR Should have patented those bricks (IIRC back in the 70s or 80s one American Embassy built in the USSR had Listening Devices in just about everything - including the bricks.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    - Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of those things!
    - Dude, its called a *wall*
  • Ad Hoc Networking (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The real development out of this is the application for ad hoc networking. A building full of sensors must be managed. Managing millions of bricks (or any trivial item), where each brick is effectively a base station will be a challenge. Overcoming this challenge will be very beneficial to our networking theory(not necessarily IP). This is step one for sensor networks.

    I applaud the effort however, I don't beieve this particular product is good but it is a start. Slapping a sensor onto the side of a bri
  • by skepton (681359) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @12:40PM (#6204778) Journal
    If you look at the vibrations coming out of a building that is burning there is a huge jump in the amplitude of certain bands right before the building collapses.. there's basically a shift in the fundamental frequency of the building. A brick to detect this is gonna save alot of firefighters.

    Basically, any structure like a bridge or a building can be characterized pretty well by its frequency response. You stimulate it with an impulse and transform the output to the frequency domain. A burning building is being constantly stimulated, so detecting the vibrations with a brick in the wall is going to let you easily determine the frequency response.

    As you can imagine (this is a generalization) if there's a large spike in certain frequencies, the structure is unstable. When you engineer structures, you try and keep the frequency response flat.
  • "In the gaming industry, wireless sensors attached to a personâ(TM)s arms and legs could replace the conventional joystick and allow a âcouch potatoâ(TM) to get some physical exercise while playing video games such as basketball or tennis."

    Not happening... same problem as with the power glove and DDR-type home game systems. Dancing around is great for strutting your stuff at the mall/arcade, but at home 90% of folks would rather just sit on the couch and use a joystick... at least 90% of th
  • movie (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Brickinator 3 rise of the bricks
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @01:13PM (#6204939) Homepage Journal
    SO it would be rather easy to monitor conversations in buildings.

    Especially when there is more then one brick, then you could triangulate the speaker, and filter out noise. And report back any 'suspicious conversations, even in a private home.

    Then add the ability to track the chips that will eventually be implanted in people, then you got instant 'undesirable' tracking in every building.

    I feel so much safer now. Don't you?

  • Didn't Edgar in Electric Dreams already invent these?
  • It will automatically home in on the police when thrown by violent demonstrators.

  • What are the odds? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ccnull (607939) <null@filmcritic. c o m> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @01:31PM (#6205015) Homepage
    What are the odds that, 50 years from the time the bricks are installed, the technology will still be around to access the data from the brick? The information will probably be most useful once the building really starts to decay -- if this technology had been around 50 years in the past, we'd all still need room-sized mainframes in order to access the data our buildings are providing us -- or, failing that, we'd need to rip out all the smart bricks and upgrade them with new ones. Either way, $$$... The wireless technology alone will be obsolete within 3-5 years, I'm sure.

    Just a thought...
  • The idea of measuring temp and loads in a brick structure may be useful in some buildings but not all. Perhaps this technology may be applied to other building materials on site, as the structure is being built. A weekly log or journal could be loaded into the "chip" recording the weeks events: the architect and general contractors' meetings, workers names and thoughts, subcontrators present at site for the week, etc. This would record a history of the building for historical purposes and future troubles
    • that would be pretty cool but why store it in a brick. I mean there should be a moer efficient and easier to maitain form then a brick set in the wall. why not put it in a plate on the wall that as a removeable faceplate or something easier to get to.
      • I think the idea of historical information about the building being permanent is striking. The only way it would move was if the building was demolished. There is no separation. The act of recording and "planting" the info on a weekly basis would be like tending to a garden, ploting the growth that may effect many lives in its history. If it is easily accessable to man its liable to end up in a library or a room built 20 years later, just to house the faceplates because they a clashing with the new remo
  • What is the average life of a building? Now, what is the average life of electronic components? And what is the average life of data formats or transmission protocols?
  • In order for this to be useful wouldn't there have to be multiple 'smart bricks' on a single wall. Measuring the stress of a brick wall at one focal point isn't very useful. What about having multiple smart bricks on each wall. The bricks should communicate with each other in order to create a total assessment of the wall's integrity. eniacx
  • One possible use for these things is supposed to be "ascertaining the soundness of an earthquake-damaged structure." But, as anyone who has ever lived in San Francisco can tell you, you just don't build with bricks and masonry in earthquake zones!

    I think this engineer needs to get out of the lab occasionally.
  • ...terrorists who are trying to figure out which part of the building is already under the greatest stresses. How about cyberterrorists who hack into a buildings bricks and convince them to report failures, causing expensive and dangerous repairs, or premature demolitions.

    Some things are better left dumb.
  • by TCM (130219)
    So "You're as dumb as a brick" loses its meaning as an insult?
  • What will happen to that old favorite saying "dumb as a brick"? I think we'll have to revise this (for some people) to "dumber than a brick."
  • They're normally called Project Managers!

  • ...smart landlords! So now I can live in buildings that are smarter than the people who own them... *sigh*
  • Isn't anyone else just a bit worried about other things that could be built into the walls with these bricks? Maybe some type of motion sensor? A high-sensitivity microphone? A pinhole camera in the fireplace?

    Now, I'm not usually paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, but it's been my experience that if the gov't can use something to better monitor/control its citizens... it will. Having one's walls wired to send wireless signals has dangerous potential for invasion of privacy... maybe my future home will hav
    • They will mandate that all new buildings be constructed using these bricks; that the bricks be addressable by law enforcement and have built-in surveillance capabilities.

      And then they will charge us, the dweller, for the cost.

      Definitely not just another brick in the wall.
  • Now with smart brick technology, we can write a whole new ending to that slimy tale, and turn it into a TV series.

    Why not? No matter which grimy hole in the wall our hero gets stuffed in, there will be a smart brick complete with ssh (or maybe a dumb brick equipped with AOL Instant Messenger) and so the chode gets rescued, every single time!

    Or, use the tale as an advertising gimmick. Show the "Can you hear me now?" guy getting bricked in the vault, but with a Sprint smart brick.

    Or maybe not.
  • What's up with the mass paranoia going on here on /.? If they wanted to put in listening/monitoring devices in your walls, they already could have done so long ago using age-old technology.

    Stop it with the tin foil hats and start appreciating this new innovation. I for one think this is a great invention. Now we'll know if a building is at risk for collapse. Firefighters will know whether to enter a burning building or not. The positives go on and on.
  • ... an even smarter brick, which listens to all communication within 5 meters, and automatically logs who said what and uploads it to the homeland security dept.
  • Such information could be vital to firefighters battling a blazing skyscraper...

    Oh, yeah, that's great. If the technology in this brick is so great, how come they can't just make the entire building out of fireproof materials and not have to worry about battling the damn thing in the first place???

    I don't know. Fireproof Christmas trees have been around for a long time. They didn't have to put a computer in every brick to make buildings the same way.

  • Jesus Christ, most people can't even afford enough regular bricks to build a house. You know, the kind that are basically made out of dirt. Maybe more people would be better off if we concentrated on affordable housing than if we concentrated on making this kind of stupid shit.

    You know, there's a solution to buildings falling down. It's called structural engineering. Tempered by a dose of common sense. Like if you don't want your house to fall on your head don't build it on a fault line or next a sand
    • This technology could be very useful, let's say we implement varius sensors in a skyscraper in an earthquake prone area, if a earthquake occurs, the building may have points where the metal is fatigued or a piece of the internal structure has become loose. We could get a glimpse on the damage in a matter of minutes to determine if an evacuation of the nearby premises is needed. It could provide useful information that may prevent injuries and death.
      • Nice idea. I've seen bricks fall off of tall buildings before. Here's my question: if the bricks are so shot that they are falling off, why would we expect that the sensors are still intact and working? Should we install sensor sensors, to detect sensor failure? I'm no luddite, but this is really pie-in-the-sky.

        Like I said, I'd spend my money on a good engineer and good masons before I bought smart bricks. How many deaths are caused annually by bricks falling off of skyscrapers? Nevermind that skyscr
  • While the bricks itself will most likely not be able to provide much benefit, I imagine that they are important for any upcoming intelligent building infrastructure. Not only in the already mentioned area of detecting damaged building parts, new services might be built with these bricks. Who would have thought in 1980 that IP might some day be used for sharing music and video files by end users?
  • As a graduate of UIUC, I hope there's more to these than it looks like in the summary. Commercial buildings already have sensor networks installed- how do they think the HVAC systems work? New construction, which seems to be the target here, would have controllers that can be accessed from a PC. People doing research in this field all already know how to get the data, research is now being done in different ways to use the data. The "info to firefighters" aspect might be useful, but there are already ot

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