Formula 1, Babies and Buildings A String of Connected Possibilities

A recent Ted Talk Peter van Manen of Mclaren electronics visits the possibilities of taking the thousands of data points of a Formula 1 car and applying them to to a pediatric intensive care ward. I applaud the inventiveness of the folks at Mclaren for taking a system which helps the most competitive motor sportscars perform at the highest level, to increase the survival of babies in their most fragile time of life.

As I listened to the presentation by Mr. van Manen I was intrigued to think if we monitored buildings with the same level of density as a Formula 1 or Indy car what would we learn about the interdependencies of the systems of the buildings we create. While racing teams build a new car for each season and then continually  refine the car with new parts over the racing season, buildings aren't tuned to the same level of razor edged performance. But how could buildings benefit from the clouds of information such systems create and how could they be built to allow for more constant upgrading to increase performance?

While the real-time streams help teams during the race, the real benefit to the teams is the pattern analysis of different systems interacting and the stories they tell about the performance of the vehicle. Patterns of interaction which warn of impending failure. Today there is a distinct possibility of converting buildings from acting like consuming appliances to being a cooperating, interdependent network of producers of power and electricity. But to accomplish this task will require a nervous system at the level used in the Formula 1 auto racing business.

So while we are using the continuous monitoring of and using real-time analysis of the data to forecast future performance of both machines and mankind, we might also be thinking of applying the same ideas to buildings to raise their performance levels, extend their lives and provide greater comfort and safety all at the same time.

See related article about Google Contacts

This is a continuing chapter in the interrelationships of discovery and application of technology and the built environment. The suggested connections and links between seemingly different applications can open new possibilities as a String of knowledge to make our lives better. 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew,

    As an F1 fan, I applaud Peter van Manen of Mclaren electronics and his discussion of applying real time data acquisition to pediatric wards. F1 is a performance contest driven by hundredths of a second. Teams are able to invest in real time data acquisition because the alternative is lost time and position on the race track. Building owners do not compete in a similar climate. In general buildings are a passive system of components that silently perform until they fail. Convincing an owner to invest in real time building component data reporting would have to show some ROI that justifies the investment. Power consumption and production monitoring capability are offered with many current HVAC systems. Adding additional reporting capabilities for the remaining building components is a long term goal that can be achieved, but currently offers diminishing returns to the owner. F1 and babies are extremely time sensitive, buildings not so much.

    Bruce Williams