High Tech

Caltech’s New CAST Facility Simulates Testing Environments for Drones, Robots, and Satellites

Preparing Autonomous Devices for ‘Rigors of Life Outside the Lab’

Published 8-1-2018

To support its cutting-edge research in self-operated machines, the Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is equipped with several groundbreaking capabilities that set it apart from other engineering research facilities. At the top of the list are a drone testing arena capable of mimicking a full gamut of real-world weather conditions, and a zero-gravity-simulating space lab whose epoxy resin floor has been ground and polished to a final flatness of 0.003 of an inch. Three CAST components—the aerodrome, assembly lab, and the Space Robotics Controls Laboratory (SRCL)—are located in the 1940s-era Kármán building, originally constructed for wartime hydrodynamics research. Working with CO Architects and Matt Construction, Pasadena-based Caltech renovated the bunker-like building to create new types of spaces for cross-campus collaborations in the expanding field of autonomous drones, robots, and satellites, with a focus on practical applications in science, industry, and medicine.

University Facilities for the Sciences and Advanced Technologies 2019

October 28-29, 2019
Austin, TX

A transformation is underway in university facility and space planning models for the sciences, engineering, and advanced technologies. The drivers are widespread program convergence, experiential learning platforms, the boom in maker culture and entrepreneurism, and market demand for highly-skilled, work-ready graduates in newly emerging, heavily funded high-technology programs.

Managing Cybersecurity Threats for Building Infrastructure in the IoT Age

Protecting Networks, Data, and Devices Shifts Responsibility from FM to IT

Published 11-15-2017

While the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) offers tremendous business potential for all types of organizations, it also presents significant new security challenges and privacy concerns. As the number of connected devices grows into the billions, so does the number of risks and exposures through multiple entryways, including building automation systems (BAS). Many of these network-connected devices and applications lack basic security measures because they are rushed to market or deployed rapidly without standard protections. In addition to providing hackers with more opportunities to gain access to corporate networks, exposed IoT devices—some as innocuous as a light bulb—allow hackers to take control over millions of devices at a time and use them to launch large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other attacks on the internet. This means that, while facility management and operations teams may have the most to gain from IoT platforms and applications, deploying and securing them is now an IT issue.     

Utilizing IoT to Create Smarter Spaces, Buildings, and Cities

How the Internet of Things Improves Utilization, Performance, and Sustainability

Published 11-8-2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a widely used buzzword that refers to a rapidly growing network of internet-connected devices and sensors that transmit data back to a central repository for rapid analysis. This network generates massive amounts of information that can be used to maximize energy efficiency, optimize space use, reduce costs, and increase operational visibility across all types of facilities and organizations. LED lights with sensors, smart grid meters, intelligent HVAC and security systems, even mobile and body-worn devices, all generate tremendous amounts of data that both humans and computers can use to make better decisions.

Virtual and Augmented Reality are Reinventing Medical Education

Immersive Environments Represent the Future of Simulation

Published 7-19-2017

Virtual and augmented reality are bringing new learning experiences to today’s medical students—and their campuses. The building boom is part of a revolution in the way medicine is taught. Today, medical students often learn with sophisticated mannequins, computer models, and collaborative electronic projects. Now, some schools are taking the technology a step further, building immersive environments where the doctors, nurses, and dentists of tomorrow can experience real medical settings and explore human anatomy in three dimensions.