Much has been made of the smart, connected home. The ability to monitor and control all electrical appliances in your house with a tap on your smartphone seems pretty great, but until now, you've needed a house full of smart appliances and gadgets to really get any useful data.
A new device that took Kickstarter by storm over a year ago lets anyone get useful energy consumption and performance data on their home's electrical appliances without needing anything other than a smartphone. No need to purchase a bunch of smart appliances; you can keep what you already have.
The Neurio plugs right into a home's breaker box or circuit box, and gradually learns to recognize the electric ‘signature’ of different gadgets and appliances. To help it along, users can tell it what's what by turning that power source on and off while entering the name of that device in the smartphone app.
The device can learn on its own thanks to algorithms that use crowdsourced information for recognizing the different type of appliances, like the specific signature of a microwave.
After it has learned to identify the various appliances, users can start to see which devices in their home are hogging the most energy and at what points in the day. The system does this by measuring both differential voltage and current signals every split second and using those to calculate power and energy consumption.
Users may discover, for example, that a game console is still using energy even when it's turned off and learn to unplug it at night. The app can also be set to remind you to turn off any lights or appliances that are still running when you head to bed. You can also check in with the app to make sure that things like the oven are turned off when you're away.
With all of this new information and interactive feedback from the app, the company says that some users have saved as much as 44 percent on their energy bills.
The company sees the system being used for more than just energy savings though. Users could potentially utilize the data to monitor what's going on in their home. Are the kids watching too much TV? Is you elderly parent making enough meals during the day?
Also, it could just help to keep you on task with household chores. The system could remind you to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer when the cycle is complete or to unload the dishwasher when a load is done.
Because it is open platform, Neurio also works with any smart home devices like the Nest to optimize energy savings and with installed solar power systems.
The app is currently available to download for iOS and Android devices and you can purchase the device for $250.