Interdisciplinary blog

An Ambient Display for Non-domestic Energy Consumption

July 20, 2015
by Edward Cater

Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015

Student name: Edward Cater

Student degree course: Computer Science

Year of study: 2nd

Supervisor: Enrico Costanza

Vacation Bursary Research project title:

Tell us a bit about you and your chosen research field:

Having recently completed my second year of Computer Science at Southampton, I am currently undertaking a ten-week internship with the University’s Agents, Interaction & Complexity (AIC) research group. I will be working primarily with the HCI-focused members of the research group, designing interactive systems based around reducing energy consumption.

Tell us about your specific research project:

My project focuses on helping building inhabitants become aware of the impact of intervening with the building’s heating system (by manually adjusting the thermostat). To accomplish this, I am developing an ambient, always-on display, suitable for deployment in non-domestic buildings such as libraries. For this reason, I will be developing a web-application for use with a tablet embedded in the environment.

The display will update regularly. Some of the display’s features may include:

  • Current temperature.
  • Today’s highest and lowest temperatures reached
  • Current expected cost of heating
  • Predicted cost of heating if the temperature were to be raised/lowered by 1°C.
  • Some way for the user to interact with the system. Possibly by giving emotional feedback.

Of course these are just examples. It is entirely possible that features will be removed or added as I iterate the display’s design.

The display is being developed using Django; a Python web framework.

Describe any future plans regarding on-going study/postgraduate research connected to your Vacation Bursary project:

I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here and I am now seriously considering post-graduate study at Southampton, perhaps in HCI or possibly even a field I’m yet to experience, such as Machine Learning or Computer Vision.

Before starting the project, web development was completely alien to me and I had minimal experience with Python. This internship has been an opportunity to dedicate myself completely to something new, and I have learned a lot in a very short amount of time. The post-graduates in the labs have been immensely helpful, and I have been exposed to real-world research for the first time. I look forward to working more closely with some of the researchers in the future.

Categories: Blog. Tags: Blog, epsrc, idr, interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary research, University of Southampton, USRG, vacation bursaries, and vacation bursary.

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