An even smarter “plug” than the smart powerstrip is being developed to turn off devices via a central control panel to minimize useless energy loss.
Smart plugs would be fitted to all appliances in the home and communicate via radio waves back to a central control panel to calculate how much energy each device is using and when equipment is operating needlessly. For example, if your phone is fully charged it will turn off further supply of energy to the phone.
Being developed via a £90,000 award from Carbon Connections Development Fund (a green initiative managed by the University of East Anglia) researchers from the University of Essex in Colchester are hoping to expand the reach of this plugs to be used on ALL domestic appliances in only a few years. One of the researchers, Dr John Woods says, “You will be able to see if a fridge has failed, or if something has been left on that should not have been”.
The plug will even have an “integrated motion sensor” to detect minimal activity in a room to shut down devices left on. If something has been shut off that shouldn’t be, a simple flick of a switch to turn it back on again will tell the central controller that you don’t like that particular service being compromised.
A batch of plug prototypes should be ready within six months and are expected to cost less than £1 ($2 US) if mass produced.