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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

Building Innovation with the MIT Open Prototype Intitiative (OPI)

Green building research to provide open source innovation for more sustainable development...from MIT.

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Innovation Tip by Carolyn Allen

Open Prototype Intitiative (OPI)

The Open Prototype Intitiative (OPI) program is run by the MIT House_n Research Consortium and industry partners, to advance technologies and techniques for building affordable, energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes, and to share that information openly across the building industry.

House_n by MIT

House_n is a Department of Architecture research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that explores how new technologies, materials, and strategies for design can make possible dynamic, evolving places that respond to the complexities of life. Major House_n initiatives include">The PlaceLab and the Open Source Building Alliance.

Open Source Building Alliance

The goal of the Open Source Building Alliance is to develop key components of a more responsive model for creating places of living where: (1) Developers become integrators and alliance builders to offer tailored solutions to individuals, (2) Architects design design-engines to efficiently create thousands of unique environments, (3) Manufacturers agree on interface standards and become tier-one suppliers of components, (4) Builders become installers and assemblers, and (5) Customers (home buyers) become "designers" at the center of the process by receiving personalized information about design, products, and services at the point of decision.

House_n PlaceLab

The mission of House_n is to conduct research by designing and building real living environments - "living labs" - that are used to study technology and design strategies in context. The PlaceLab is a joint MIT and TIAX, LLC initiative. It is a residential condominium in Cambridge, Massachusetts, designed to be a highly flexible and multi-disciplinary observational research facility for the scientific study of people and their interaction patterns with new technologies and home environments.

Hundreds of sensing components are installed in nearly every part of the home, which is a one-bedroom condominium. These sensors are being used to develop innovative user interface applications that help people easily control their environment, save resources, remain mentally and physically active, and stay healthy. The sensors are also used to monitor activity in the environment so that researchers can carefully study how people react to new devices, systems, and architectural design strategies in the complex context of the home.

MIT House_n
House_n is a Department of Architecture research consortium

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