“We have had electricity in our homes for 100 years, but we still operate it with buttons and switches,” says Dr. Ali Kashani, software lead at Energy Aware Technolgy. “Technology has changed so much of our lives, but our homes have stayed constant.”
Neurio, a new home intelligence technology from Energy Aware Technology is seeking funding on Kickstarter and hoping to change the way we interact with our homes by making our ordinary appliances smarter.
“The wires in our homes are like a nervous system connecting every appliance in a central place. Except, there is no brain, no intelligence,” says Dr. Kashani. “This is where Neurio comes in, acting as the intelligence center of the home, monitoring everything at the same time, and relaying the information back.”
While there have been home automation systems in the past, cost and ease-of-use have been barriers to wide spread adoption. “Neurio is innovative in that it a sum that it is greater than the pieces. It enables you to do things that were never possible before,” he adds.
The Neurio Sensor is installed in the home’s breaker panel, and uses current transformers to measure the electrical signals, taking a measurement every second. This data is then transmitted via Wi-Fi to the Cloud where different patent-pending algorithms are used to identify appliances and behaviors.
“Every device that we use in our home has a unique signature in the way it draws electricity,” explains Dr. Kashani. The team is continually improving the algorithms to make them smarter, and through the website users can tag appliances that have not yet been discovered.
The Neurio Sensor's technical specs:
- 200 A - Sized to work even in large homes.
- 2 independent monitoring channels.
- Bi-directional - Separately measures net energy flow to/from the grid.
- 1 W/1 Wh resolution.
- WiFi - 802.11 g.
- 18 dBm output power.
Wattson, the wattage monitoring app, allows users to visualize which appliances are using the most electricity. Displaying numbers and charts can only do so much, Kashani explains how the information can be used as more than a simple graphic.
To take this information to the next level, the team developed Trigger, an open source application for makers and hackers that enables users to set up a series of rules for different events.
“You can ask Neurio to please do ‘x’ when you wake up. Where ‘x’ can be ‘turn on my coffee maker’ or anything else you can think of,” explains Dr. Kashani.
The Neurio system includes:
- The Neurio Sensor with two current transformers, a voltage cable, and mounting hardware.
- Free access to Neurio Cloud and Wattson.
- Wattson iOS and Android Apps.
- Trigger apps and source code.
- Open-source Neurio personal cloud.
- Documented API and sample code for Neurio sensor and accessing Neurio Cloud.
It can also be programmed to send reminders, such as one for emptying the dishwasher, or turning off the stove. “It can adjust the thermostat when you leave, and when you come back, as the garage door opens, it will readjust the thermostat,” adds Dr. Kashani.
Throughout the past eight years the company has been saving consumers money on their energy bill, working to make resource conservation a day to day activity. “But it’s hard, because you don’t know what you should be doing,” says Dr. Kashani. “You can’t all of the sudden stop using your dryer.”
By turning to Kickstarter, the team has discovered even more ways that the Neurio can be used. “One of my favorite things about Kickstarter is that people are telling me what they want to do with it, and they are coming up with things that we never thought of,” explains Dr. Kashani.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Kickstarter, and about crowdfunding. Funding is obviously a part of it, but it is not the most significant,” he adds. “The value you are getting out of this process if having such an engaged community.”
With more than 1,200 backers, and almost $150,000 raised, Neurio has surpassed its goal with 10 days left go.
For more information, visit www.kickstarter.com.