Everyone wants to save energy, but there are few individuals who can tell you exactly how much energy the devices in their homes consume. For example, which consumes more power – the dishwasher or the television?
To answer such questions and to give consumers a sense of where the energy guzzlers hide, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt Augustin, Germany has developed an application that demonstrates the energy consumption of individual devices in the household. The basis for this is the “Hydra” middleware developed by the institute which is extended by an energy protocol. A middleware reduces the workload of programmers: in Hydra’s case, by administering the communication between devices.
Each device is given a power plogg, which is a small adapter located between the power plug and the power outlet. It reports the power consumption at any given time to a PC via a radio signal. People can tell which device is guzzling the most energy by taking a look at the computer monitor. But the FIT experts have also provided a far more convenient way to access the information: “Using a cell phone as the display and control unit allows people to check the energy consumed by their devices or appliances,” explains Dr. Markus Eisenhauer, who developed the system. “For example, it can be used to display the consumption by room, switch devices on and off, and dim lights.” And there is another special attraction: The cell phone's camera can be used as a "magic lens". Point the camera at the device in question, and the power consumption at the moment is shown.
The technology behind this feature is complex: A server stores pictures of the individual devices, taken from a number of directions. When the function is activated, the cell phone sends the picture taken to the server, which then compares the picture with the ones in its database. As soon as it has recognized the device, it determines the power consumption at the time as reported by the associated power plogg, and sends this information back to the cell phone.
The result is a multitude of options that allow people to analyze the power consumption of their devices: The total energy consumed by a device is a calculation of its power and the respective time that it is in use. In addition to the power at any given time, it is also possible to examine a device's total consumption, for example, extrapolated across the average time in use during a year. This even makes it possible to detect energy guzzlers in the household that are not always turned on, such as the oven.
Various other scenarios can also be run through. Eisenhauer’s colleague Marc Jentsch reports that “it is possible, for example, to try out the room lighting with energy-saving bulbs and compare this consumption with conventional light bulbs to see the impact on the electric bill.” A display of the current energy consumption along with the energy and cost savings per year facilitates this comparison. Similarly, it is possible to compare the energy used to play DVDs on a PlayStation with that when a DVD player is used.
The system is already equipped for the future. The cost of electricity could soon depend on the time of day, and this system allows people to save money by waiting until the electricity is cheap and then using their cell phones to switch on the washing machine.
Marc Jentsch | Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Energy hybrid: Battery meets super capacitor
01.12.2016 | Technische Universität Graz
Tailor-Made Membranes for the Environment
30.11.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy