Center Completes Smart Conference Room Testbed

Achievement date: 

The NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA), headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), completed the build-out of the Smart Conference Room (SCR) testbed. The room is an autonomously operated meeting space with optimized lighting, window blinds, and HVAC controls, and a local Internet of Things (IoT) platform.


The testbed uses multi-sensory fusion of information from networked sensors to make autonomous decisions. It can host complex projects on human cognition and comfort, and begin integrating evolving machine learning and edge computing paradigms that will make the system scalable to improve human wellness, minimize energy use, and improve worker productivity.


The testbed demonstrates the power of combining the properties of illumination with distributed connected sensors, and communications and controls to create autonomous building services (e.g., lighting, HVAC, security, space utilization optimization). Smart conference rooms are being augmented with voice recognition to create systems that participate in meetings, generating data, and seeking to optimize participant interaction dynamics for more efficient meetings.

Building services and systems will operate most efficiently if they can know where people are, how they are moving, and to determine what they are trying to accomplish. LESA has developed concepts of light transport analysis to fully characterize an illuminated space, determine how it is occupied, and infer the kind of services required (e.g., lighting, HVAC) to minimize energy use while maximizing lighting quality, comfort, and human productivity. The testbed is integrating machine learning-based adaptive controls.