January heatwave inspires Deakin University engineers to invent new IoT workplace comfort monitor

Deakin University researchers will soon test a new cloud-based monitor to track and optimise workplace comfort levels, with an aim to commercialise the device by 2020.

The Cube Comfort Monitor or “Baby Cube” contains a collection of sensors for tracking  parameters including temperature, humidity, light intensity, carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds. It is connected to a cloud server and analyses information in real-time.

The School of Engineering researchers believe the new device, which they aim to soon test at 15 sites at Deakin, will have applications including optimising comfort levels and better managing building resources.

Researcher Scott Adams said it was inspired by the January heatwave and a letter from facilities management about thermal comfort.

“We wanted to know how temperatures and humidity levels fluctuated during that time to help us manage our cooling systems more efficiently,” Adams said in a statement.

“The Cube Comfort Monitor can vary in size from individual desktop cubes to miniaturised whole-of-office systems that sit in the corner of a room. It is a low-cost way of collecting data that will help building managers monitor what’s happening in any office, or part of that office.”

Picture: Professor Abbas Kouzani (left) and researcher Scott Adams (right) with the Deakin Cube Comfort Monitor (supplied).

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