Engineers at MIT have created a new device that can identify appliances in your home which are using too much power.
In a paper published this week in the IEEE Sensors Journal, the team’s described their the culmination of several years of research. Unlike existing approaches, the device involves no complicated installation and does not require wires to be physically connected. The device requires that only a small postage stamp-sized sensor to be placed over incoming power lines and it will self-calibrate.
As the instrument can collect frequent data samples, its software can distinguish between different types of lights, motors, and devices in the home and show exactly which ones go on and off, at what times.
Currently, and perhaps most significantly, the software is designed so to store data inside the user’s home. This eliminates concerns about privacy or monthly subscriptions that potential users may have when considering power-monitoring systems.
A customised app can provide further analysis and potentially includes the ability to offer specialised analysis based on an individual user’s specific needs or interests.
The system will need to be developed in a full commercial product, but Steven Leeb, MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering, hopes that once it is it should cost only about $25 to $30 per home.
“We’re trying to lower the barriers to installation,” says John Donnal, the IEEE Sensors Journal papers co-author, and the sensor is simple enough for most home users to install on their own as “it just goes on with a zip tie”.