When it comes to saving energy and water, we have to first know how much we're currently using before we can begin to make changes. Gadgets like the Nest thermostat have made learning our energy usage patterns and making positive changes much easier. There are many smart thermostats or smart home device that helps us to track and manage our energy use, but so far, there haven't been as many smart devices focused on water consumption.
While there have been countless devices that help you to save water when you shower, there haven't been any that help you monitor your home's total water use. Ôasys, a glowing wall-mounted orb that makes its debut on Kickstarter today, does just that. The WiFi-connected device uses a simple sensor-embedded, battery-powered band that wraps around your home's exterior water main to detect when water is being used.
The white disc is mounted on the wall and displays real-time water use whenever the sensor detects that water is running. You can see daily use as well as comparisons to the week before and to your neighbors (if they are also using an Ôasys).
The screen doesn't show water use in gallons but instead shows you a number score that goes up or down based on consumption. The score lets you easily see if you're water use is improving or not. The designers decided to use a scoring system instead of actual gallons because it's hard to know whether a certain amount of water for different tasks is actually good or bad -- some household tasks are more water intensive than others. The scoring system offers immediate feedback as to whether you're saving water or using too much and it also avoids a direct association with the water bill so that users are focusing on saving water, not just saving money.
The orb also displays real-time local water reserve levels and precipitation forecasts so that users can see their water use in context. Since the device monitors water continuously, it can detect potential leaks or times when water is being overused.
In the future, the device will be able to differentiate between appliances and other water use sources by learning typical water use patterns for each source, much like the Nest learns heating and cooling patterns. The team also wants to add micro sensors for appliances so the data can be more exact.
The makers hope that having the display on the wall will encourage users to be more conscious of water use and even make it into a competition or game among people in the house to save even more water.
The Kickstarter campaign launches today with an early bird price on a first-run of the gadget of 180 € (about $200) and a shipping date goal of May 2016.