Smart Bricks, Or A Dumb Idea?

from the smart-ass-houses dept

Apparently, in the world of tiny wireless sensors, the current trend is to put the sensors into everything, and preface each thing with "smart". So, we've got smart dust, smart bricks, smart toilets - all of which can be combined into one big smart home. Of course, it also sounds like there's a pretty strong debate over whether any of this "smart" stuff is useful at all. Some are worried that it's a case where people are simply building products because they can - and not because there's anything really useful that people can do with it. Near the end of the article someone wonders what happens when you spend plenty of extra money to build your new "smart home" - and a year later you realize your "smart home" is completely obsolete?

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  • identicon
    Frank Pennetti, 20 Jun 2003 @ 5:26am

    automation overkill

    I had a related article published once called "When Automation Gets Ugly". I put up a crude PDF of the article here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alternatives, 20 Jun 2003 @ 7:30am

    Only if the data is captured.

    Engineering is knowing where the failure point is, then adding a 'safty margin'.

    The 'smart bricks' are useful if the they:
    1) Outlast the building useful life (Lets see Migration of silicon dopeants should render chips dead in 30 years. Bricks have a longer useful timespan)
    2) Someone collects and collates the data.

    Without 2, 1 doesn't matter. If you think the economic lifespan of a building is less than 30-50 years, why build with brick in the 1st place? Wouldn't you like to get data up until the building itself is destroyed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Roland Piquepaille, 20 Jun 2003 @ 8:35am

    More information about smart bricks

    I agree with you about the increasing usage of the adjective "smart" these days. I wrote a few days ago about a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign press release, "Smart bricks could monitor buildings, save lives." 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 a summary here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John, 20 Jun 2003 @ 1:32pm

      Re: More information about smart bricks

      Yeah who is going to pay for the electric to run these dumb oh I mean "smart" bricks?! Someone really needs a hobby out there.....There are risks in life and I dont see magic bricks fixing anything.Let alone the elctromagnetic noise and radiation we would get from these bricks.Dumb idea!Trash it! Go back to the drawing board.This one is right there with EZ-PASS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2003 @ 9:42am

    Old hat

    When the Soviets built the new American embassy in Moscow circa 1980, all the bricks had listening devices embedded in them.

    I have read a tale of a New York mob boss who got shot in the butt at a night club; at his hospital bed, a DEA agent showed up and told him that surgeons implanted a listening device in his butt. The mob boss lost his nerve and confessed everything. (The DEA agent was lying.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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