View Full Version : Automatic buildings

22nd Jan 2014, 21:08
My company moved from an old 1970s office block into a brand new, purpose built office about 9 months ago. The new building is very pleasant inside and is a vast improvement on the old one, but something has started to really wind me up.

Everything is automated.

Lighting switches itself on and off. The doors open themselves. The toilets flush on their own, the taps dispense ready mixed hot/cold water to a set temperature, the soap dispenser has an electronic sensor, and there are no hand towels - only automatic hand driers. I'm a controls engineer so I'm not averse to a bit of useful automation.....but the new building seems to be making small decisions for me every five minutes. This is now getting on my tits. What's wrong with normal taps? Switches? Doors I can wedge open? The mixer tap in one of the gents toilets has a bloody USB socket!

Anyone else feel like this....or just me? :ugh:

22nd Jan 2014, 21:12
It's not just you.

I don't work in one of those buildings but when I do go into them occasionally I sometimes get a bit surprised when something happens - like a door opens when not expecting it to et al.

22nd Jan 2014, 21:19
This I must see............ the ultimate optional extra......


22nd Jan 2014, 21:21
I've got a "PIR" controlled halogen light outside me shed. One day I'll wire it up.

All joking apart, it seems to have gone a bit far.

S'pose if it saves a bit of 'leccy, and makes things easier for those with mobility problems, the it 'aint a bad thing.

To be honest, the buildings that I worked in, in the seventies, seemed to suffer from Sick Building Syndrome resulting in blocked noses etc, modern buildings seem better lit and ventilated.

No flippin'character though. Having a p*ss in the Philharmonic Pub, Liverpool is an experience to be rivaled.

A A Gruntpuddock
22nd Jan 2014, 22:21
In one office they installed motion detectors to control the lights and supposedly save money. This was extremely irritating when few people ware actually moving about.

One guy who worked a lot of overtime sitting at his desk kept finding himself only illuminated by the street lights on a nearby road. And the office lights sometimes did not come on again, leaving the corridors within the central core in complete darkness.

They eventually decided this was contrary to elfin safety regulations and the detectors removed.

22nd Jan 2014, 22:29
I worked for a few days in one of these fully automated buildings earlier this year. The first thing was pre-select lifts. In the lobby you inserted your visitor's card into a slot and it was programmed for the floor you had to go to. A number flashes on the screen and that corresponds with the lift you have to get into. The lift arrives and there are no buttons to press. It's a leap of faith.

By the end of the week in this fully automated place I was losing the will to live. I was worried that there would be an automated hand in the toilet to unzip my trousers etc.......!

22nd Jan 2014, 22:32
I giggled t'other day when I heard that a local lecture by Rowan Williams (yes, 'im) was plunged into darkness; it seems that the lecture hall lighting similarly works on motion detectors. Everyone was (apparently) so fascinated that no motion was detected...

And I've learned not to squirm on some crappers on t'continent, having had involuntary bum-washes on more than one occasion. If I want a bidet, I'll select a bl**dy bidet, thank you very much.

22nd Jan 2014, 23:01
You don't need to go abroad for that, a quick flit through an airport toilet with a hi-vis on will do that for ya. Turns on the taps, flushes the bog,you name it :-)

G&T ice n slice
23rd Jan 2014, 07:06
It doesn't matter how small the object is, the designers of the object have got to find a way of squeezing the legend in somewhere, because it is their attention which is being drawn to it rather than necessarily that of the user's.

The legend is this:

`The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.'

23rd Jan 2014, 07:20
Read somewhere the other day that the software in network connected refrigerators had been hacked and they were circulating spam emails. Imagine if the same happened in a fully automated building, being hacked that is. Lifts only go down, you have to walk up. Lights only come on during daylight hours. All the doors lock before the evening rush to leave. Sounds like fun.

23rd Jan 2014, 07:31
Burnistoun - Voice Recognition Elevator in Scotland - YouTube

23rd Jan 2014, 07:36
yep, and then you bump into doors somewhere else because it had never occurred to you one has to open them with hands :)

23rd Jan 2014, 11:48
Them sensor taps only dispense a tiny dribble of water before they shut off automatically. I got big hands and prefer the taps to flow long enough to get the job done.

23rd Jan 2014, 11:57
Them sensor taps only dispense a tiny dribble of water

In Wetherspoons pub toilets, the sensor taps keep gushing water long after you've abandoned drying yer mits under the trickle of slightly warmed-over air from the machine.

23rd Jan 2014, 12:49
It is a well known phenomenon that I have invisible hands.
No amount of waving will persuade any automatic tap or dryer to function.

Soap dispensers work just fine though. Leaving me with soap on my hands but no way to rinse it off.

Don't talk to me about auto flushing bogs. I also have an invisible arse as well.

23rd Jan 2014, 12:55
I think the design philosophy in fully automatic toilets as described in the OP is to minimise hand contact, with the aim of avoiding picking up germs from many other previous users' hands. The automatic door opening on leaving the toilets avoids the need to use the handle, so you don't pick up the surviving E.coli bugs onto your scrupulously clean hands, from those antisocial types before you who didn't bother to wash their hands after using the cubicles.

I agree that it can feel a little odd on encountering such a high degree of automation, but surely the improved health aspects make it preferable?
And by the way, the entry doors to toilet/washrooms usually have self-closing devices fitted, partly to exclude pongs escaping into the rest of the building, but more importantly because they are often fire doors, with a specific approved hourly rating to provide a temporary refuge in case of a building fire. Wedging them open is not only antisocial, it also infringes fire safety regulations. Naughty, naughty ...

23rd Jan 2014, 13:03
I do sometime ponder this thing about washing hands after having a pee. Assuming I haven't pissed on my hands, and assuming that I had a bath/shower this morning, my willy is likely to be cleaner than the taps, door handles, toilet flush, etc.