Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Making it easier to save energy

15.01.2010
Fraunhofer scientists are developing programs that help show at a glance how much energy devices are consuming. At the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the researchers will be showing how a cell phone can help save energy (Hall 2, Stand E41).

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
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010/january/save-energy.jsp

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>