Inspiration

To make the world greener and safer

What it does

When connecting a tagged electrical plug to a smart(er) socket, the tag is identified and checked against a user maintained list of authorized devices. The socket enables the current flow using an internal switch only if the device is confirmed.

As long as a confirmed device is connected, its power usage is sent to the main application for monitoring its usage. Possible usage of the data:

  • Present the power consumption history per device.
  • Using the total power consumption reading supplied by Fortum, the total consumption of the non-monitored consumers (e.g. lights) can be calculated and presented as well.
  • Detect "hungry" consumers.
  • Monitor the activity inside the building. For example, verify that an elder family member is ok by checking its device usage.
  • Detect possible failures before it happens: the system can study the consumption of each device and then detect anomalies.

Additional possible feature:

  • Parental control (Playstation is available only between 7 to 8 PM).
  • Disable usage of damaged devices (for example: power cord with bare wires).
  • Postpone low priority tasks when Fortum readings show high power consumption - the level of "high consumption" can be altered according to readings from the whole area (spread consumption from the power plant during peak hours).
  • Ensure that electrical devices are operated only via sockets they are supposed to (e.g. bathroom sockets approves only fan and shaving machine).

How we built it

The product consists 3 main parts: 1 Smart(er) electrical socket with integrated RFID reader, WiFi module and a relay.

  1. Slim RFID tag module which mounts neatly on each electrical plug.
  2. Main application which monitors, manages and controls the usage of the electrical devices remotely throughout the home/office/facility. For the demonstration the main application was coded on Raspi3.

Challenges we ran into

  • We are hardware designers and therefore had trouble with coding the main UI application.
  • Integrating the RFID stickers to the plug due to size constraints.
  • Setting up network protocol for wireless communication between smart(er) sockets and main application.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Building a well working hardware prototype.

What we learned

  • Working with RFID tags.
  • Transceive data between components.

What's next for Smart(er) socket

  • Improving the UI.
  • Integrate Wifi module, RFID reader and relay to a small component to minimize the change in the current socket volume.
  • Integrate smaller ID tags which contains minimum data (4 digits are more than enough).
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