(Tech Xplore)—The expression "science" of living is vague, imprecise, and could mean just about anything, from a video tutorial on biology to a diet guru promoting healthful meals.
An outdoor space in London gives meaning to the phrase with its focus on technology supporting a city physical space. Namely, it addresses how to take under-utilized space and transform it into an-enhanced environment? Standard city experiences of sitting on a bench, or walking along, can be taken a next level of sitting on a CleanAir bench, walking to generate electricity—even breathing in purified air.
Urban living can rise to the next level. Namely, a smart street opened in London. The Belfast Telegraph is calling it the world's first. The venue is Bird Street in the city's West End.
The system makes use of technologies to transfer physical space into special experiences in the heart of the city.
Scottish Construction Now!: "The transformation of Bird Street has been spearheaded by New West End Company and Transport for London. The idea is to transform overlooked outdoor space into "a blueprint for retail destinations of the future in the West End."
"Bird St sits just off one of London's busiest and sought-after shopping destinations, Oxford Street, and is nestled between Selfridges and GAP," said the Bird Street site. "Offering 629sq ft of retail space split across 4 oragami-inspired retail pods with one pod designated for a food and beverage company."
One can get the intended picture— an oasis of enlightened browsing and relaxing, especially, an enticement for retailers to participate in a smart environment. It is a novel way to showcase the future of the technology-infused high street environment.
The technology components that make Bird Street "smart" come from Airlabs, Airlite and Pavegen.
In this traffic-free street, Pavegen technology is focused on an energy-harvesting flooring system whereby a pedestrian's walking can generate bird sounds or lights.
Its system converts footfall into off grid energy, electricity, data and rewards. Each tile is equipped with a data transmitter to capture wireless information from every single footstep.
The UK company, based in King's Cross and Cambridge, supplies permanent installations and "experiential activations."
Embedded Bluetooth connectivity goes to work so that retailers get customer insights through the combination of footfall data with analytics via apps.
A clear payoff is that a business retailer can predict peak timings and prime locations. "The unique design also monitors directional flow to provide a comprehensive analysis of movement patterns," said the company team.
The Bird Street site described a Pavegen array. The footfall of visitors is converted into electricity to power bird sounds during the day and lighting in the evening. The system will also provide a data feed on hourly footfall.
As for the CleanAir bench, this comes from Airlabs. Its team of atmospheric chemists and airflow engineers developed the bench to remove urban pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM).
Airlite, meanwhile, has a paint that "cleans the air we breathe, removes bacteria ad reduces energy consumption." The Bird Street site said Airlite reduces air pollution by neutralizing pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Airlite provides protection against harmful bacteria too. "Laboratory tests show it removes 99.9% of airborne germs, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Airlite technology naturally disinfects and sterilizes the space around it."