Most residential heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems utilize a single zone for
conditioning air throughout the entire house. While inexpensive, these systems lead to wide temperature distributions
and inefficient cooling due to the difference in thermal loads in different rooms. The end result is additional cost to the
end user because the house is over conditioned. To reduce the total amount of energy used in a home and to increase
occupant comfort there is a need for a better control system using multiple temperature zones. Typical multi-zone
systems are costly and require extensive infrastructure to function.
Recent advances in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have enabled a low cost drop-in wireless vent register
control system. The register control system is controlled by a master controller unit, which collects sensor data from a
distributed wireless sensor network. Each sensor node samples local settings (occupancy, light, humidity and
temperature) and reports the data back to the master control unit. The master control unit compiles the incoming data
and then actuates the vent resisters to control the airflow throughout the house. The control system also utilizes a smart
thermostat with a movable set point to enable the user to define their given comfort levels. The new system can reduce
the run time of the HVAC system and thus decreasing the amount of energy used and increasing the comfort of the
Four monocular Head-Mounted Display (HMD) prototypes from the Fire Information and Rescue Equipment (FIRE) project at UC Berkeley are presented. The FIRE project aims to give firefighters a system of information technology tools for safer and more efficient firefighting in large buildings. The paper begins by describing the FIRE project and its use of a custom wireless sensor network (WSN) called SmokeNet for personnel tracking. The project aims to address urban/industrial firefighting procedures in need of improvement. Two “user-needs” studies with the Chicago and Berkeley Fire Departments are briefly presented. The FIRE project’s initial HMD prototype designs are then discussed with regard to feedback from the user-needs studies. These prototypes are evaluated in their potential costs and benefits to firefighters and found to need improvement. Next, some currently available commercial HMDs are reviewed and compared in their cost, performance, and potential for use by firefighters. Feedback from the Berkeley Fire Department user-needs study, in which the initial prototypes were demonstrated, is compiled into a concept selection matrix for the next prototypes. This matrix is used to evaluate a variety of HMDs, including some of the commercial units presented, and to select the best design options. Finally, the current prototypes of the two best design options are presented and discussed.