Autodesk Research

Implementing a Sensor Network at 210 King - Version 2
September 8, 2010

Interface Boards
Figure1: Interface boards are prepared to be installed at each cubicle.

As part of our focus on collecting, mapping and analyzing building performance data within our office building, we have reached our first milestone by instrumenting a total of 24 cubicles in addition to an office space all located in the research area on the 5th Floor (Figure 2). We are essentially treating each cubicle as a cell for sampling data within the floor space (Figure 2). The advantage of this approach is twofold: First, each cubicle essentially defines a meaningful local boundary for evaluating comfort and energy usage per occupant. Second, the cumulative effect of data collection at such a high resolution per square foot could itself result in the understanding of new qualities about the larger space and more detailed information for the building control system (BCS).

Floor Plan
Figure 2: Instrumented cubicles and office space shown as green dots.

Figure 3: A typical instrumented cubicle.

Our implementation consists of pre-manufactured, commercially available sensors. These sensors include temperature, humidity, light, CO2, motion and an alternating current sensor per outlet (Figure 4). Since there are currently no guidelines on the overall arrangement of sensors, our sensor configuration is a result of informal tests we ran to determine areas of high importance within each cubicle.

Phidget Sensors
Figure 4: Sensors (Left to right). Current, Light, Temperature and Humidity, Motion, Co2.

Sensors output measured data as (analog) electronic signals. In order to convert the analog sensor outputs into digital signals, all sensors are attached to interface boards that had to be assembled on site. (Figure 1, 3, 5) In turn, one or more interface boards are connected to a Wi-Fi enabled embedded computer using a standard Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface (Figure 6).

Manufacturing Interface Boards
Interface Board Detail
Figure 5: Making of interface boards.

Embedded Computer
Figure 6: Custom embedded computer mounted at a cubicle partition.

Collected data is sent to a web application that monitors the rate and frequency of sensor updates, as well as storage of the data. In addition to sensor data, this database also manages BCS and weather station data. The web application implements an interface for querying the data.

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