"Sensing" Your Needs: The Key to Personalized Comfort

18th June, 2020

Temperature feels different from person to person, which means a single air-conditioned or heated room rarely provides the ideal temperature for everyone. So how can we find the most comfortable setting for each occupant? The answer is on the horizon: advanced air conditioners that can accurately map everyone’s individual comfort level. Let’s take a closer look at the technology behind all of this.

Reaching Everyone’s Comfort Level

As ever-progressing leaps in technology continue to transform society, our ways of life have undergone major changes throughout the times. The same rings true for goods and services – while products were once generalized, mass-produced, and one-size-fits-all, we now see trends leaning towards wares more tailored to the individual consumer.

These trends tell of a keen awareness of other people’s needs and an ability to respond to them before those needs are expressed; and this notion has, at long last, extended to the realm of room air conditioners. Normally, even if a group of people occupies the same room, everyone’s ideal temperature varies depending on a number of factors such as body type and clothing. Add an air conditioner to the equation and the gap widens: while some people may feel perfectly comfortable, there may be one person who isn’t. Has this ever happened to you?

In order to resolve this kind of situation, air conditioning (AC) systems must have a grasp on a variety of factors, such as the location of room occupants, their body temperatures, the temperature of the walls and floor, and the flow of warm or cool air. Still, it is not enough for a model to just be technologically advanced, and it is in no way a simple task for a wall-fitted air conditioner to monitor the room’s data on a moment-by-moment basis. It was advancements in AC sensing technology that made progress possible.

Giving Senses to Air Conditioners

There are wide ranges of sensing technologies available, and among them is one type that utilizes infrared rays: the aptly named IR (infrared) sensors. People and objects constantly emit infrared rays, and the wavelengths of these rays have different properties depending on temperature. Hot objects emit infrared rays with longer wavelengths, while cold objects emit shorter ones. So if a system could measure these wavelengths, it would be able to determine the conditions within the room as well as how each individual perceives the temperature there.

Enter Mitsubishi Electric’s i-See Sensor, a system designed to perform sensing for AC units. After its announcement in 2005, technological innovations allowed the i-See Sensor to expand the scope of its sensors, improving performance and allowing for detailed detection of human positioning as well as the temperature of hands and feet. This made it possible to monitor an entire room in real time and allowed engineers to manufacture room air conditioners that could create a space that was comfortable for everyone within it.

Using the data accumulated by the i-See Sensor, systems aim to differentiate each individual’s temperature level and maintain an ideal level of customized comfort for an entire room of people.

The i-See Sensor’s Vision of the Future

In this way, the i-See Sensor has become capable of detecting detailed information on body and room temperatures, allowing it to further revolutionize air conditioning when paired with AI technology*.

Only available in select countries and regions

One such application is "preemptive operation," which allows systems to continuously maintain comfort by predicting coming changes in room temperature. The system produces cool air before outside temperatures rise or sunlight heats up the room by using the i-See Sensor and an AI system that learns exactly how your home handles temperature, thus preventing the inhabitants from perceiving noticeable changes in heat. As the temperature reaches the ideal level, the flow of cool air slows so as to maintain comfortable conditions – all done without anyone pressing a single button. It goes without saying that the system works in the same way vice versa – maintaining comfort levels by predicting temperature drops as well. The process not only detects temperature-related stress, but also reduces everyone’s stress in general.

What’s more, with the "observation" function, the system is able to monitor how temperatures feel even when the air conditioner is turned off. Should it determine that a room’s temperature is too low or high, the system can automatically switch on and perform heating or cooling as needed. This allows the system to maintain ideal temperatures around the clock: providing greater peace of mind particularly to households with elderly residents or young children.

The evolution of room air conditioning continues ever forward, and the added value of sensing technology to AC systems is increasingly growing in tandem with advancing technological innovations. Considering these innovative leaps, one receives a sense of how technology can change our lives even further.

The content is true and accurate as of the time of publication.Information related to products and services included in this article may differ by country or region.

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