People generally don't know much about their power consumption. In addition, it takes a lot of time if you are going to think about and control everything yourself. Smart systems are coming out more and more, but there are still no systems that fully automate everything, that's why we have created the EcoControl system.
What it does
The EcoControl system is a complete system for optimal control of lighting and power consumption both in homes and commercial buildings. The system saves electricity by automatic control of all your electrical appliances.
The system has several sensors for optimal lighting control. The movement sensors automatically turn on the neighboring lights whenever motion is detected. All light installations in the system are dimmable and change the lighting throughout the day, so that lighting is not as bright in the evening before you are about to go to sleep as it is in the morning and midday when it helps you stay awake. Through light detection, it can also make the inside lights follow the natural outside lights throughout the day.
The temperature sensors in the system work together with the heaters, to automatically turn on/off heaters adjusting to your set temperature. You can change your settings from anywhere you want, and through our WiFi enabled smart plug your changes will be sent to the heaters immediately. This system, together with the motion detection and scheduled timers, will optimize the heating in the building so that the temperature always is comfortable whenever anyone is in the building, but at the same time saves electricity by turning down the heat when everyone is gone.
Humidity sensor automatically detects when rooms are getting too humid, and turn on dehumidifiers accordingly through our smart plug without any human interaction.
Through our WiFi enabled 230V smart plug, you can basically hook up anything you want to get automatically controlled by our system. The plug can react on events, and you could for example use it to turn on the coffee machine as soon as it detects movement in at the workplace.
How we built it
We first started out by reprogramming the SAMD21 using embedded c-programming in Atmel Studio. We added the functionality for pushing the light sensor data on the mesh network, and receiving messages to set the dimming level of the lights. In parallel, we also started programming the WiFi system-on-chip module, which controls the load. Also, at the same time we tested the Azure web services, tried to think what to hack with the Paulig Muki, and set up all of the necessary backend infrastructure for out idea to become realizable. 48 hard-work-no-sleep hours later, the result is awesome.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Getting an entire system working consisting of multiple languages and nodes. We litterally hacked this together. It was a fun experience with loads of challanges along the way.
What I learned
That it really pays off to be persistent and not give up before you make what you wanted. Teamwork is important and together we accomplish things we never could have done on our own. 3 people does not make it 3x times faster, it speeds up the development far more than that.
What's the next for EcoControl
The next steps and future implemetations for the EcoControl system is to add Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitors (NIALMs) that detects the power consumption of all appliances in the entire building. With just a few of these you can get full reports on the live status of the building and historical data and graphs. You will know exactly how much is used on heating, coffee making, charging of Teslas and so on. With our WiFi enabled plugs, you can then apply these to everything that uses a lot of electricity, and let our system do the rest of you and optimize your power consumption.