Fujitsu just recently showcased a new power strip
that gives users a visual indication of energy usage, and now it sounds like the company may not be along in the market. Intel, a company that is increasingly expanding their reach in the consumer electronics market place, recently described a similar device at their IDF expo in China.
The pocket-sized sensor is designed to monitor energy usage across the home, with everything from televisions to cellphone chargers being eligible for audit. The current design uses a small black box which plugs into a power outlet of its own, and then it monitors current usage and sends logs and reports to a PC via a wireless protocol.
The demonstration setup utilized a PC with an Atom
processor and MeeGo
; MeeGo sounds like a great OS for a task like this, which wouldn't require the complexities of Windows to handle. The sensor could reportedly discover which devices were being turned off and on, and then reports can be created to show at what hours a certain device is being used the most. The goal here is to give users a visual indication of exactly how much energy they're using, which in turn will hopefully coerce them to cut back.
Many people aren't really sure where their energy goes, but if you see a graph that points to specific items (a game console, heater, etc.), it becomes far easier to pinpoint and cut back on using certain things. Mary Murphy-Hoye, an Intel engineer, stated that users could "reduce energy consumption by 15% to 30%," and in the future, users may be able to download even more apps to analyze usage in various ways (maybe for businesses, perhaps). Intel has yet to say if or when this will become a commercial product available for sale, but we suspect we'll hear more shortly. The company is also looking at ways to store energy in the home, which is something that could of course easily be tied into this monitoring setup.