Even if you are not, you should know what may be coming soon to your local hardware of electronic retailer to help monitor your energy consumption. And when I say “monitor” I mean monitoring in such details that one may have a feeling it comes from a sci-fi movie.
Professor Shwetak Patel and his group of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with a relatively simple device that can detect when an electrical appliance is turned on and off. The gadget exploits the idea that every appliance in your home — refrigerator, stove, flat-screen TV, washer, dryer, even the toaster — has a different “electrical noise signature” that it draws from the electrical system. When you turn it on, this “signature” is sent through the wires to the circuit-breaker box. By using a single plug-in module all this information is recorded on PC, analyzed by the software and displayed on the monitor.
You would know exactly when you turned on and off the DVD player, the PC, the light in the bathroom, when the AC kicked in and so on and so on.
So, what’s the use of such a technology? You would know exactly why your hydro bill was so high last month and would have a good idea what you have to do to save energy and money next month. But if we look a bit ahead – with the increasing popularity of “intelligent” appliances this technology can help make your home more automated, smarter and more comfortable. Just imagine this scenario – as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning, a few minutes later the light in the room is turned on, then the coffee maker… And yes, if you are really curios, you would know exactly how many hours your teenage son spend playing his Wii.
We can’t escape from the technology.