Your own personal cloud of cool

29 June 2015

Snow season has well and truly kicked off and the ski bunnies are out to play. Meanwhile, the rest of us are chilling – literally – in our frosty houses and wishing to escape to warmer climates.

In Dubai earlier this year – an international city renowned for its hot climate – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) unveiled a new air conditioning innovation known as Cloud Cast, during a UAE Government Summit.

The Cloud Cast acts as a personal cloud of cool, following you wherever you go. It’s a radical re-think on traditional air conditioning systems and does away with the idea of cooling/heating an entire room.

Operating through a series of motion sensors, Cloud Cast can determine where you are at any moment and in which direction you are moving. The sensors can detect your presence by interpreting echoes from high-frequency sound waves. This data is fed to a central control system that triggers the hydro-valves and LEDs, covering you in a fine mist to cool you down.

The refreshing jets of mist are expelled from a series of aluminium rods, or cylinders, mounted onto the ceiling. These ‘nebulisers’ are carefully controlled by the ultrasonic sensors which are cleverly embedded within the suspended, ceiling-mounted structure.

Rather than pumping mist through an entire space, Cloud Cast is specifically designed to save energy and water by targeting only the people it detects. As a result, the amount of water it uses is minimal.

MIT has a history of creating and developing personal heating and cooling devices. After developing Local Warming 2014, an idea similar to Cloud Cast but for warming people rather than cooling them, MIT also developed a wrist-based wearable version (around the same size as the Apple Watch).

While all three devices are still in development, they offer us an exciting vision for how we might heat and cool ourselves in the future.


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