The Oculus thermostat could keep people more comfortable and use less energy at the same time. To control radiant heating or cooling, shouldn’t you measure the right temperature? Existing thermostats just measure air temperature, or the temperature of one surface in the room, but people’s thermal comfort is roughly half from air convection and half from the ‘mean radiant temperature’ (the average of all radiation from all surfaces in the room). Reading both air temperature and the mean radiant temperature gives the ‘operative temperature’, a good measure of comfort.
This video shows the prototype device in action. (Note, the heating and cooling systems for a real building would be different, the fire is for utterly gratuitous effect.)
How it Works
It was made with Arduino, wirelessly communicating with a web server. Users schedule temperature setpoints using the web interface, via computer or mobile device. They can also manually override by turning the thermostat’s physical face to a desired temperature.
The cutaway view and exploded view below show the two different temperature sensors (green cylinders), receiving radiant and air temperatures:
A custom circuit board was created to house the Arduino controller and WiFi shield compactly, and provide LED indicator lights for testing heating and cooling signals.
Users schedule temperature setpoints using the web interface, via computer or mobile device. They can also manually override by turning the thermostat’s dome to a desired temperature. The system will automatically revert to schedule when the next pre-set setpoint occurs. (See video above for demonstration.)