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Smart Outlets

Evrim Sahin

A home system that reduces electricity consumption by targeting phantom loads and unneeded usage.

With the fast developing technology, electronic appliances have become and continuing to be more widely used in our lives. One of the consequences of having many appliances is the significant amount of energy wasted while they are not being used. The excess usage is caused by the phantom loads and users’ negligent behavior. Studies show that standby power alone accounts for 5 to 15 percent of the electricity wasted in our homes.

Smart Outlets aim to help people live a greener lifestyle by helping them conserve energy. The system is automated to kill power at the outlet level when it detects a device has gone to standby mode. The outlets are also wirelessly networked to cut off unneeded electric flow when a household leaves home and to enable future implementation of remote controlling over the internet.

Good Magazine's phantom load analysis
X10 home automation

Anyone who wants to reduce his/her environmental impact or electricity bill!

User Scenario
Jane Doe is an environmentally conscious individual who tries to live a greener lifestyle. She lives with her husband and two children in a house. She recently purchased Smart Outlets to save electricity and for convenience.
Every morning after sending the kids to school, Jane has to quickly get ready to go to work. The last thing she can think about is to unplug appliances so that she can conserve electricity during the day. Instead,as she is leaving, she picks her keys up from the Smart Outlet's key hook module which triggers all the outlets to kill power. The children's night lamp that was still on, the coffee maker she forgot to turn off are all switched off now.
In the afternoon, kids are the first to come home. They place their keys to the key hooks. This will not switch on anything. After having some snacks, the children want to watch TV. Before turning it on, all they have to do is to turn on TV's outlet by using outlet remote which is human powered with a few shakes. When they are done watching TV, they turn if off with its remote. The outlet senses that the TV has become inactive, so it kills the power flow.

The prototype comprises one power strip of 2 regular and 5 controlled outlets, one controlled single socket, a key hook unit that acts as kill switch to all outlets activated when the last person leaves home and possibly an ethernet module to enable managing the system over the internet.