Martin Ceperley


A power strip that generates awareness of the user's energy consumption through dynamic colored lighting as well as logging the energy data to a web application through Wi-Fi.


Introduction to Physical Computing (Thu PM)

In our digital lives every new gadget and tool comes with a new power plug that is capable of silently and quietly drawing our electricity 24 hours-a-day. This has serious environmental consequences for our society and financial consequences for the consumer who is paying for this wasted electricity. How is a person to know which power adapters are efficient and which are so-called power vampires? Or how much energy playing a Playstation 3 consumes versus a Wii?

With the powerAware power strip, this live energy consumption data can be visualized through the speed and color of a set of full-color LED lights that illuminate bundles of fiber optic cable arranged in a house-plant like form. The user can see these patterns in the corner of their eye every day, leading to an increased awareness of the energy they consume, hopefully leading to less energy used overall and more energy-efficient habits, like turning off or unplugging appliances when leaving the house.

In additional to the passive energy feedback through lighting, the user is able to analyze their usage online, as powerAware is continuously logging this energy data via WiFi at fixed intervals to a web database. This allows for live graphs of energy usage, as well as analysis of this data, like showing the peak hours of the day energy is consumed. A social-networking component could be added as well, letting users share their consumption via a Facebook app, giving social rewards to users who have kept their energy usage down or showed a significant decrease day-to-day or week-to-week.