Low-Road Buildings Are Homeowner-Friendly

first_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Members There are at least two recognizable camps in the green building community. The older camp includes hippies, owner/builders, and those in the natural building movement. These builders prefer to scrounge materials from the woods or demolition sites rather than purchase new materials from a lumberyard. Their homes might be made of adobe, logs, or straw bales.On the other side of the aisle is the newer camp of builders who emphasize energy efficiency and high performance. This group includes fans of triple-glazed windows and heat-recovery ventilators, as well as builders who brag about their blower-door results. The Passivhaus adherents can be found on this side of the aisle.If you draw a Venn diagram of these two groups, you may find a few builders in the small zone where the circles overlap. But most green builders are outside of the overlap, falling clearly into one of the two large circles described above.The natural builders usually work in rural areas, while the high-performance builders often work in urban areas or suburbs. These two groups have contrasting attitudes toward building codes and regulations. While natural builders usually decry the stupidity of building codes, calling them roadblocks to creativity, the energy-efficiency group often promotes stricter building codes, noting that “we need to raise the bar.”In short, these two green building groups appear polarized. Perhaps the aims of the two groups are irreconcilable, and this polarization is inevitable. But even if the groups’ aims can’t be reconciled, it’s important for green builders to listen to each other.In 1994, Steward Brand, best known as the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, wrote an influential book, How Buildings Learn. Brand observed that all buildings are destined to be modified — a fact that many architects forget — and that many… center_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Biometric Authentication

first_imgTags:#Features#Future Tech#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts dan rowinski 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The problem is not new. One way or another, people have to validate their identities. I am trying to enter a building or a Web service that only Joe Smith should have access to, I need to offer evidence that I am, indeed, Joe Smith. For decades, authentication has required cards and passwords. In the near future, you might just use a part of your body. (The “Futurist’s Cheatsheet” series surveys technologies on the horizon: their promise, how likely they are, and when they might become part of our daily lives. This article is Part 2.)What Is It?Use a thumb-print to unlock a door, an iris scan to unlock a smartphone. Maybe use your voice to interact with your mobile device, PC or television. Biometric data can be used for verification (say, allowing access to a personal bank account) or identification (say, identifying you to law enforcement agencies). How It WorksPick a body part, any body part. There is a good chance that it has a unique identifier that can be used authenticate an individual human. Of course, not all body parts have practical applications in all situations. For instance, hormone analysis would be an awkward choice of authentication for entry to a building. Criminal forensics provided an early proving ground: Identification based on fingerprints became a viable form of authentication in the late 1800s. DNA performs much the same function today. Cloud technology is giving rise to new, ubiquitous forms of biometric authentication. Physical identifiers for large groups of people can be uploaded to a server and used for purposes such as accessing data on a company computer, gaining access to secure buildings or unlocking smartphones. Storing biometric keys in the cloud makes it much easier for devices to recognize and recover the data and for users to put it to work.Potential ImpactThe rise of a digitally connected society has led technologists to propose the notion of “one true login.”  Today, you may have one password for Facebook, another for Gmail and so on. At the same time, you may have an ID card such as a driver’s license. Depending on where you work, you may have an ID badge that you have to scan to get into your office. What if all of these functions could be replaced with one biometric identifier unique to you? Such an innovation could improve personal and data security an dalso improve user experiences across a variety of devices. Much of modern computing has been built around the standard user interface: keyboard and screen. That is starting to change as computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions incorporate cameras that recognize your face, touchscreens that know your fingerprint and microphones that recognize your voice. Quick, convenient biometric authentication would tie these devices more seamlessly into daily life.ChallengesThe technology for biometric authentication is already widely available. The true challenge comes in building an acceptable infrastructure where the technologies can be easily implemented. Part of the challenge is cost in replacing or augmenting legacy authentication methods such as the magnetic keycard system in a hotel or an enterprise. Another challenge is legal. Many states and countries have privacy laws on how certain types of biometric identifiers can be used, inhibiting how enterprises and commercial ventures can deploy these authentication methods. These privacy laws are important as people are extremely sensitive in how their biomedical is stored and used. When Will It Be Ready?Research firm Gartner focuses on the future business aspects of biometric authentication in its most recent Hype Cycle report, but the consumer realm poised to see practical applications. Smartphones can be unlocked through a variety of biometric keys such as voice, facial recognition or a fingerprint. Apple, Samsung and Microsoft will likely lead the way. Companies like Nuance are tuning mobile devices to the user’s voice. And enterprises won’t be far behind. Before long, companies will implement biometric authentication for onsite building access and smartphone security.Additional InformationBook — Anil K. Jain et al. — Introduction to BiometricsMichigan State University — Partial Face Recognition: Alignment-Free ApproachMicrosoft Research —  Progressive Authentication: Deciding When to Authenticate on Mobile  Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more