Accelerate 2014: Excursions
November 26 2014

The program of Accelerate 2014 included three very interesting excursions:

On the first day the excursion was a tour around la Halle Pajol, the building in which the conference took place. Édith Collavizza explained the making of la Halle Pajol. The following tour took the attendees outside to see the public garden and the historic saw-tooth roofs  with modern solar photovoltaic and hot water panels. Next stop was the basement, full of equipment for the aquifer thermal energy system (ATES). An innovative, sustainable building like this needs some specific maintenance. The hot water panels produce most warm water in August. But the youth hostel has low numbers of guest in August. Therefore there is a lot of excess heat that needs to be dealt with. An ATES can only work well if windows are kept closed. With new guests coming in every day, this requires some extra communication.

The second day started with an excursion to the “institute de la vision”. Here all kinds of products for in-house as well as for streets are being tested to see how well they work for blind and poor sighted people. In-house a normal thing like a glass-ceramic cooktop appears to be less easy for poor sighted people because it is hard to see the touch-buttons and the chosen position. An interesting innovation is the use of Apps that scan products in supermarkets to tell what it is and what the price is. In-house these can even be used to tell e.g. how much oil is left in a half-transparent and therefore very difficult to see, bottle.

The STREETlab consists of an artificial street, complete with noises of approaching ambulances, bikers passing, artificial sunny days, cloudy days or dusk and blowing winds. Street furniture, signposts, advertisements etcetera can be placed in the street. Next to this artificial street is a control room with many computers and screens to control and monitor everything. Movements of people in the street are fully registered and analysed.

The last excursion went to “Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie”. Here 3D technology is used for teaching and designing. Our galaxy was modelled and standing in a triangle on the ground we all felt we could touch the earth and the moon. Possibilities to change the point of view in our galaxy, to take out the planets and put them back in one by one, show the orbits of planets and much more made this an instructive and very entertaining visit.