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Why Intel Wants To Network Your Clothes Dryer

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the p2p-lint-sharing dept.

Intel 330

An anonymous reader writes "Intel has shown off a working prototype of a small box that, among other things, can monitor your clothes dryer to see how much it's contributing to your power bill. The Intelligent Home Energy Management proof-of-concept device is a small box with an 11.56-inch OLED touchscreen that is designed to act as an electronic dashboard for monitoring energy use in the home. By equipping devices like home entertainment systems and clothes dryers with wireless networked power adapters, the system can actually report back the power draw for a particular power point. Leave the house, and it can make sure power-draining devices like that plasma TV are turned off. It is unlikely the device will enter production (there are apparently only four in existence), however this story about the box shows something we can expect to see in the home of tomorrow. Ultimately, it's not only about saving money, but also reducing load on the electricity grid by removing needless power use."

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first! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601696)

booya!

second! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602008)

booya!!

Perverts! (3, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601712)

They want to see your underwear, that's why.

Re:Perverts! (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601762)

Now i know what "Intel Inside" really meant. Bastards.

Interesting... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601732)

If it could also give suggestions such as:

"You know, if you waited 4 hours and ran this load of laundy at midnight, you'd save 30% because of the lower power rates"

That would be pretty cool and useful! We can save a lot of money, not by buying a bunch of new electronic goods but, by simply modifying our habits with our current electric drawing devices.

Re:Interesting... (3, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601780)

You could do that with a sticker right now. Do you need a sticker?

Re:Interesting... (2, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601904)

Isn't that a lot of the point of the smart grid?

I should be able to say, "Dry my clothes in the next 4 hours or when the unit price for power drops below $0.07"

Re:Interesting... (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602006)

I know a way we could save at least 15% of energy usage in the USA right now:

mandate that all appliances (DVD players, TV's, etc) had an actual, PHYSICAL POWER SWITCH rather than being electrical vampires [sciencedaily.com] .

There's no reason every fucking device on the planet has to have a goddamn clock, and much less that it needs to eat more than 2 watts 24/7 just to wait for a power-on signal from some lazy fatass who can't stand up and walk 8 feet from the couch to turn it on.

Re:Interesting... (3, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602172)

much less that it needs to eat more than 2 watts 24/7 just to wait for a power-on signal from some lazy fatass who can't stand up and walk 8 feet from the couch to turn it on.

That can be achieved with less than 0.1W. It's close enough to 0 for me. Mandate that instead of mandating physical switches.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602264)

I'd be willing to bet that the sticker would consume less power than this device.

On that note.... So the device monitors power usage for devices that are supposedly off (as we all know, off doesn't necessarily mean off). This device will actually add to your power bill if you don't change behavior.

Maybe I already shut off lights, and am generally power conscious. I must consume more power to determine how much power I'm consuming.

Why don't I just put an electricity meter [microcustom.co.uk] on each circuit in my house and take notes at regular intervals?

But, then again, this device is so much cooler because it's an OLED touchscreen.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601882)

by simply modifying our habits

In Soviet Russia Free Market changes you!

Re:Interesting... (3, Insightful)

Xacid (560407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601932)

I've been waiting for all the foreboding 1984-esque posts here but so far not too many. Frankly I'm glad to see some optimism here for this. People fail to realize how the whole system works. It's not like a battery that gives instant power at a certain capacity. The power companies have to be able to predict usage to a fairly accurate degree. To the best of my knowledge any power produced above what is needed isn't stored anywhere and thus is wasted. If we could optimize the grid in a way that made it more predictable and easier to lower the load on then there'd be less overall waste.

Re:Interesting... (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602158)

Pumped storage schemes can store power (pump water uphill, to fill the reservoir used by a hydroelectric power plant).

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says it's used for 2.5% and 5% of electricity generation in the US and EU respectively.

Re:Interesting... (2, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601992)

If it could also give suggestions such as:

"You know, if you waited 4 hours and ran this load of laundy at midnight, you'd save 30% because of the lower power rates"

That would be pretty cool and useful! We can save a lot of money, not by buying a bunch of new electronic goods but, by simply modifying our habits with our current electric drawing devices.

Clippy: It looks like you are trying to wash semen stains out of your Y-fronts.Would you like me to order some rubber knickers instead?

Re:Interesting... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602144)

"You know, if you waited 4 hours and ran this load of laundy at midnight, you'd save 30% because of the lower power rates"

So you put it off for 4 hours, then ... oops, I fell asleep ...

Ever let damp laundry sit overnight?

You end up wasting a LOT more energy when you have to wash it again.

Easier (and cheaper) to keep an eye on the weather and do most of your laundry on sunny days.

Re:Interesting... (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602174)

Or, a message that prints on the OLED screen that says:

"Due to demands on the power grid, I will not be able to dry your clothes for another 9.37 hours. Sorry for the inconvenience. The Smart Grid."

Or...

"The power grid load is high now, therefore, I will not be able to play the 'Beatles Anthology: CD1' right now. Sorry for the inconvenience. The Smart Grid."

Ad infinitum.

So when will Intel sell Arm based processors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601734)

If Intel is worried about power draw, maybe they should consider a better architecture

Re:So when will Intel sell Arm based processors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601924)

About ten years ago, after they got StrongARM from DEC and before they sold XScale to Marvell

only if the government mandates it (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601738)

These will only become common if the government mandates it. I do not believe that the average end user will get enough benefit out of a device like this for them to be interested in putting the effort and money out to deploy and use these.

Re:only if the government mandates it (2, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601812)

A lot of people are already monitoring their stuff with Kill-A-Watt. This is a networked, managed version of that. If the price was low (like less than $30 US per appliance, plus maybe $100 for the central box or software), people would get it. The problem would be getting to that price point.

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602038)

Really, "A lot of people"? I do not personally know anyone who does. I would say that the accurate statement would be that a lot of early adopters/geeks are using Kill-A-Watt, but not many others.

Re:only if the government mandates it (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602220)

Some electricity companies in the UK have sent digital power meters to customers -- the one my parents received has a large LCD showing the total power use for the home (in watts). The display is portable, the sensor is wrapped around the main power cable.

(I think they're forced to send them to some people to encourage energy efficiency.)

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602260)

***Really, "A lot of people"? I do not personally know anyone who does.***

Some will in the future I think. My local hardware store has grown a couple of bubble wrapped Kill-A-Watt devices on a peg a few feet over from the network cables at the other end of the aisle from the PVC pipe fittings.

=====

Wrt to the technology itself. Is there some reason this couldn't be done over the power line using X-10 or something similar? I do not, repeat NOT, want to run network cables to my washing machine. Neither do I want to expose some bozo's flawed C or Java in my freezer or microwave oven to every sociopathic teenager in Eastern Europe via the magic of the Internet and IPV6.

Re:only if the government mandates it (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601836)

I signed up for PowerSmart Pricing [powersmartpricing.org] for free. Which has hourly rates instead of a monthly flat rate. I've cut a good chunk of my bill by shifting most electricity to off hours.

Coupled with a free eSmart [actonenergy.com] programmable thermostat. I can set temperatures from the internet. I also have it setup to kill my AC during peak hours. I did have to give them ability to kill my AC remotely, however 1) I'm not home anyway. 2) It's only 6 times between June and September. Meaning all of 2 days per week.

I'd love to figure out the protocol that it uses and set up some scripting, but for now it works.

Initial cost out of pocket: $0
Savings per month: $20-$50 (compared to previous year)

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601862)

Oh man...I wish our power company offered something like that (we live in Maryland, ~30 minutes outside of DC)

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601942)

Oh man...I wish our power company offered something like that (we live in Maryland, ~30 minutes outside of DC)

I agree, and ever since the Maryland Government went away from regulation, energy prices are going to be like California soon. It's really gotten out of hand IMO. BGE is just paying for the poor investments that Constellation Energy made over the last few years. It's really a lot of BS IMO.

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602266)

I'm with Pepco, in MoCo, and they have the thermostat program (I'm on it) but not the tiered pricing. Still, it was easy to get them to put in the thermostat, so it's a start.

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602046)

That is really cool! Sadly CL&P doesn't seem to offer anything near that. In fact, the way I'm billed, it doesn't seem to matter what time of the day I use the power...it's the same rate. The off/peak power billing plan only makes sense for people who use a ton of power. Despite all my computers, fish tank, tortoise house...still under 800 Killowatt hours a month. Maybe it's time to review their offerings.

Now I remember why I don't use it... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602094)

That is really cool! Sadly CL&P doesn't seem to offer anything near that. In fact, the way I'm billed, it doesn't seem to matter what time of the day I use the power...it's the same rate. The off/peak power billing plan only makes sense for people who use a ton of power. Despite all my computers, fish tank, tortoise house...still under 800 Killowatt hours a month. Maybe it's time to review their offerings.

Variable Peak Pricing requires me to buy my electricity from CL&P instead of from the company that uses all renewable tech to generate.

Oh well, take one for the team and all that.

Re:only if the government mandates it (2, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601962)

I've seen some new hotels with some interesting energy saving stuff.. If it doesn't sense anyone in the room, it shuts off the heat/AC, turns off lights, TV, etc.

Personally, I would love something like that at home, or just a big frickin red button near each door to the house (especially the door to the garage) that would kill all non-essential outlets in the house, turn off lights (except maybe one or two on a timer) and knock the thermostat down (or up in summer)

Why is Intel working on this at the power supply side. It would seem to be much smarter to do this from the breaker box panel, (and those are actually pretty easy to replace/swap. You have the total house draw right there on the mains, and could monitor the load on each breaker going out. Define the "non-essential" ones, and then turn them off easily. All in one place. Breaker boxes haven't had much technology improvement since they upgraded from little glass fuses...

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602064)

Personally, I would love something like that at home, or just a big frickin red button near each door to the house (especially the door to the garage) that would kill all non-essential outlets in the house, turn off lights (except maybe one or two on a timer) and knock the thermostat down (or up in summer)

Isn't that what X-10 [x10.com] is all about?

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601994)

I've seen one of these in the flesh - they're very shiny indeed.

There's no earthly reason it has to be used for power monitoring - it could, for instance, provide a pretty UI to a fullblown home automation system. AFAICT, the only reason Intel are specifically making a thing about the power monitoring is because with ever-increasing electricity prices they think it's a sexy marketing feature.

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602056)

Worse than little benefit, the sum of the power used by the monitoring will exceed by a factor of ten the power saved by reminding you to turn off your dryer before leaving home.

The built in timer will turn off said dryer for next to nothing.

Re:only if the government mandates it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602102)

If it doesn't save enough money to pay for itself, then it's pointless. Why should anyone buy it?

If, on the other hand, it does save money, then it will be adopted anyway by savvy consumers wishing to lower their bills. Then there is no need for a mandate.

In either case, there's no need for government intervention. (It really scares me that people say "the government should mandate this" and then justify that by saying "it has no benefit for the end user"!)

Re:only if the government mandates it (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602208)

This is beneficial to everyone if you don't have one of these screens per new fad. In my opinion to be truly useful everything in the house should be controlled with the same house computer in a neat interface: Power, music, calendar, the doorbell + opener, your fridge (with RFID you can have food expiration warning and auto-ordering online etc.). Add voice activation and you're golden!

Enough dreaming, time for a reality check: this thing is still pretty useless... A big disadvantage of these wireless 'Zigbee' blocks is they are way too clunky, create one that can be built into the wall socket and i'll install them all over the house immediately! That is the product i've been waiting for and am still waiting for: adding 'smart power' to my house in a way that doesn't leave those ugly things hanging from every power socket.

Is this cost effective? (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601740)

This'll be a great idea if it can be built so cheaply that the money I save from using it is greater than the money I'd save by not buying it.

Not sure I see that happening all that soon.

Re:Is this cost effective? (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602198)

People like to bring this out, but it isn't always that simple. Time is money. The most aggrivating thing to me when I was a kid was my dad driving 6 miles out of his way to get gas for 10c/gallon cheaper. So you drove 12 miles, consuming half a gallon, costing you 50c at $1.00/gallon. You saved $1.50, netting you $1.00. You also wasted 15 mins....do you like working for $4.00/hr on weekends? I'll change my own brakes/shocks and save $100-$200 for 2 hours of work, THAT is worth my time.

I know this is completely different, but my point is that if its difficult to use/install then it may not even be net neutral when factoring in time.

Re:Is this cost effective? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602248)

Right.

People buy electric clothes dryers out of convenience in the first place. A clothesline offers a significant reduction in both up front and ongoing costs, but far less convenience.

Put this monitor in someone's house and pop up a message that it will cost an extra dollar to dry clothes now versus waiting 6 hours, I think most people will spend the dollar.

Re:Is this cost effective? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602240)

Yeah.... You could already buy a "Kill-a-watt" meter and hook it up to a device to see how much power it draws. Most people probably haven't bothered, even though it only costs $20 or so.

http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4400-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU [amazon.com]

The thing is, beyond taking steps to simply reduce usage of the device in question, or alter your usage patterns so you use it more at night (or otherwise deemed "off peak" electrical usage hours), you can't do anything else to make it cost less to operate. Your only option becomes getting rid of it and buying a new, more efficient alternative. And THAT usually costs FAR more than the savings is worth, unless you simply wait until the old one wears out and needs replacing anyway. Even then, some of these "super energy efficient" appliances sell at a large premium price. Will it pay for itself before it breaks down and is taken out of service? It's often a gamble!

I would like it... (1)

hbean (144582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601744)

...if you could network your washer and dryer to see how long is left on the cycle.

Re:I would like it... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601798)

if you could network your washer and dryer to see how long is left on the cycle.

That's called experience. Washer A takes 47 minutes. Started it 33 minutes ago, ergo it will be done in 14. Don't need a network to count for me.

Re:I would like it... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602234)

Washer A (of the future) takes 47 minutes at minimal clothes load; 57 minutes at 50% of max and 65 minutes at 100% capacity (calculated on the fly). Add or subtract 10% for selected soil grade. Still have that in your head? Now, your wife insists on permanent press (shorter cycle) and that the clothes don't have any down time in the washer before being hung or moved to the dryer.

How long before you come back to the basement to check on the clothes? FYI, the future is here and this is the problem I face daily :-(

Now how about... (5, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601752)

...they come up with a way to detect that monster that keeps eating my fucking socks. I'm sick and tired of wearing mismatching socks! DAMMIT, FIND THAT BASTARD!!!

Re:Now how about... (4, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601936)

Dryers actually do eat socks. Some years ago, mine died. Thinking "hey, there might be some salvageable parts" (motor, timer), I took it apart. Inside the case, outside the drum, there was a literal double handful of single socks, and about $4 in change and bills.

Re:Now how about... (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602082)

I believe you, but how does all that get into there? Was the spacing getting wider over the years?

I wonder... (1)

inigopete (780297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601756)

...how much energy you'd save by turning off The Intelligent Home Energy Management proof-of-concept device?

Hmm. (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601758)

I suppose I could embrace this technology, given the security of my firewall.

I have visions of other people walking to their dryer and reading 'pwned' on the screen as they discover their clothes are all still wet.

Or even worse... PERMANENTLY PRESSED!!

Re:Hmm. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601956)

::huge explosion, laundromat sign flies towards camera:: ::Ahnold opens a single-shot grenade tube::

Ahnold: You've been pressed. ::ahnold places another round in the chamber, closes it up, and cocks the tube:: Permanently.

Coming to theaters this summer. Ahnold is: The Spin Cycle.

Not sure if its worth it (3, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601786)

Assume for a second that they are going to start selling these systems tomorrow. What would their cost be? $100? $300? $500?

Now, how much would you stand to save per year in reduced energy use from a device like this monitoring and potentially powering off unused devices? $50? $100?

I'm already pretty good at keeping things off when I'm not using them so I'm skeptical that a device like this is going to save me any money after you figure in the cost of the device and the ironic cost of powering the device.

In theory a device like this sounds good but the very people who are worried about their energy use (and would purchase a device like this) are probably the people who least need it.

Re:Not sure if its worth it (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601912)

No... probably more in the order of 5-10 euro.
A very decent payback time. All it is, is a bunch of amp-meters, a number of switches, a display and a wireless system. I can find phones that can do a lot more for 20 euro.

Re:Not sure if its worth it (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601996)

How much extra power would the metering system use?

Re:Not sure if its worth it (1)

Knoeki (1149769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602120)

I'd assume a few watts at most... Some metering equipment can't be *that* power-hungry.

Re:Not sure if its worth it (1)

nunojsilva (1019800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601946)

I guess this'd be more useful as a long-term improvement (if we ever want that, what's next? M-x bbdb on your dishwasher?) than as a "change NOW" move — people who need new equipment will buy it, others can continue using the older ones.

Now, this kind of solution probably would be as useful for aware people as antivirus with "permanent protection" are for people who understand how to stay away from viruses.

wired? Don't bother. (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601794)

I don't want to run a network drop to my laundry room.

Is it going to add more than $10 to the cost of the dryer? If yes, and unless it's going to save me more than $10 in the first year; again, don't bother.

Re:wired? Don't bother. (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601866)

Way to be altruistic there, buddy.

Why bother buying a hybrid then? Why seek out alternative energy sources? We could keep driving our beat up Suburbans and keep using our coal mines simply because it's cheaper and switching wont give us instant gratification.

Think long term and think of everyone but you.

Re:wired? Don't bother. (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602062)

I guess it's snarky day here on /. and ad hominem attacks are part of the culture anyway.

In that vein, altruism and $1.78 gets me a coffee at Starbucks.

The carbon footprint of me continuing to drive my existing car -- no, it's not a Chevy Suburban -- is much lower than me replacing it with a Prius out of some misguided altruism.

Re:wired? Don't bother. (3, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602018)

ZigBee, which, as the article states is the key to this system, is a protocol that runs over a wireless mesh network. I use XNet ZB modules [digi.com] for my tinkering.

Clothes dryer? (2, Insightful)

elvum (9344) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601804)

My highly advanced clothes-line technology comes with an implicit display of its power consumption - zero.

Re:Clothes dryer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602004)

Incorrect, you are siphoning the wind that wind generators use!

Re:Clothes dryer? (1)

Knoeki (1149769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602136)

Not if he hangs them out inside, in the hallway.

Re:Clothes dryer? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602032)

A lot of people live in small city apartments, many of which simply have no space for clothes lines...
Also using clothes drying racks inside the house tends to increase the moisture in the air which can encourage mould to grow which is highly undesirable.

Re:Clothes dryer? (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602202)

That's just because there's this silly perception that having clothes lines outside the window is something that only happens in third world countries.

Re:Clothes dryer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602230)

Or to the Pacific Northwest where it rains the majority of the time I'm not at work.... God forbid you live in, say, Anchorage Alaska.

heh. Captcha is: unfair

Re:Clothes dryer? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602216)

I tried the outside thing.. but I ran into two problems. First was the amount of bugs that would attach themselves to the item hanging on the line. Second, and much worse, birds seemed to enjoy using my clothing for target practice, and more than once I had bird shit on the side when I went to bring them in.

Now I just run the dryer right before going to bed, so at least it's during non-peak times.

Useful for some people, but... (3, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601810)

I don't see the appeal. It looks like it's over-engineering a solution to something that can be done with common sense.

Then again, I love tech and gadgets and I guess most of that is an over-engineered solution to something or another.

The only reason I would care about this is if I realized I left something *dangerous* on before I left for work and could turn it off remotely. I don't use a curling iron, but I know for some that would be a big deal. A stove / oven / toaster oven / etc would be dangerous as well, and while I never left one on before leaving the house I know that's a concern for some. Though I imagine only electric stoves and ovens would apply unless there was a way to electronically turn off the gas reliably.

As for the power draw, I would just care enough about it to know in the beginning "how much does X" use via one of those little gadgets you can temporarily plug between the device and outlet. Then decide for myself if I should monitor how much I use device X.

Personally, I'm in the mind-set of "turn if off when not in use."
- Not watching or listening to the TV, turn it off.
- Not in that room across the house, turn off the main light.

I shouldn't need a device to remind me.

CurrentCost meters (3, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602178)

Here in the UK we're seeing a lot of devices that you place around the incoming electricity feed (via a loop you put around the cable) that has a wireless transmitter to a LCD display of current overall power usage (and some historical stats). They're quite cool, some can be connected to your PC, like the CurrentCost Envi [currentcost.com] . The idea is you can see how much power those hungry devices use as you see the meter spike up when you turn them on.

The government has set a policy for monitoring meters, and the electricity companies (and Sky TV for some reason) are offering subsidised units (I got mine cheap off ebay from someone who had one of these).

You can get these things in the US and Australia/NZ [currentcost.co.uk] too, and even Google is getting involved as these things will upload to Google Powermeter [google.com] .

So, adding a wireless usage transmitter to every plug sounds expensive (but cool) but it wouldn't provide that much more information than you can get currently. However, the CurrentCost devices talk to each other (and you can set up multiple meters) so if their comms protocol was a standard (it might be, they advertise it as C2), then additional transmitters could fit into an existing power-usage network without fuss.

So the Government can turn it off (3, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601826)

So the Government (or the egacorporation acting on the govt's behalf) can turn off your appliance, and only let you use it during certain predetermined times. i.e. Rationing of electricity usage.

Yeah I know..... you think I'm a nutter for saying that, but then again I've studied government history. If they CAN do a thing, they will do that thing. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.

Re:So the Government can turn it off (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601854)

Correction:

"or the [mega]corporation acting on the govt's behalf" - Also known as fascism (old term) or Corporatism (new term) where the government motto moves from "We the People" to "We the Corporations".

Re:So the Government can turn it off (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601926)

What's to stop them from doing that already? The rolling brownouts could be planned, man!

jaykay, jaykay :)

Re:So the Government can turn it off (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602010)

The rolling brownouts could be planned, man!

jaykay, jaykay :)

Thanks but though laundry is the topic we don't want to discuss the state of your underwear.

Re:So the Government can turn it off (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602076)

Thanks but though laundry is the topic we don't want to discuss the state of your underwear.

Strange. My wife always tells me the same thing...

measure something without changing it? (1)

jqh1 (212455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601832)

what's the impact on my power bill of a bunch of these little things?

Re:measure something without changing it? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602022)

Nothing significant. I have a PowerMeter that I use to measure various devices like my TV, computer, or air conditioner and I was curious to see how much energy the gadget uses, and it was unmeasurable. Probably 0.1 watt or so. Even if I had 10 of these power-monitoring devices in my applicances, that's only 1 W * 24 hours * 30 days == 0.7 kilowatt-hours, or 79 cents added to my bill.

My DTV converter is also unmeasurable when put in "standby" mode. It doesn't take much energy to run embedded CPU devices in a low-power state.

Using these devices to monitor & limit appliance power usage certainly makes more sense than trashing the reliable Incandescent bulb for the mercury-filled, ugly, dim POS crap called the Compact fluorescent that saves me only a few pennies per month. (IMHO)

Re:measure something without changing it? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602060)

Was my thought too, aren't we supposed to be trying to do away with standby power devices?

Re:measure something without changing it? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602190)

If it costs you five watts to save 100, you've saved 95. As long as the extra load is less than the load they eliminate, you're ahead.

TV power saving idea! (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601840)

How about the networks showing hours and hours of repeats, garbage and more repeats every day?

That way people would be less inclined to switch on their power-hungry TVs and would do something (hopefully less energy consuming) instead. ... Oh, hang on. What's did you say? they already do that?

Re:TV power saving idea! (1)

Knoeki (1149769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601998)

A better idea is to just not endlessly repeat shit. Repeat it maybe once every few months, and the rest of the time: if you don't have anything new to show, just turn off the fucking transmitter. That should save some energy.

I don't need that, I just act like my dad... (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601910)

....whenever I move around the house I turn lights off, turn off radios, unplug anything with a goddamn LED on when the device is off (I'm looking at you toaster!), and firmly but politely as the other people in the house to turn things off when they aren't using it.

I'm not "green" I'm cheap!

"Green" means spending money on this monitoring device, it means buying a new car when the old one could just use a good tune up, it means feeling good but not accomplishing anything. Being cheap means that I actually have an impact on MY bottom line, I use less therefore I spend less. It accomplishes more for me and for the environment.

Re:I don't need that, I just act like my dad... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602068)

Or how about go back to traditional hard off switches, instead of the software controlled standby switches most appliances have these days?

Um... (1)

mgierhart (1823976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601914)

So basically I'm supposed to save money by plugging in another electronic device that needs to stay on at all times if I want it to efficiently monitor my power usage?

"Ultimately, it's not only about saving money..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601916)

Ultimately it's about selling more Intel chips.

Double-edged sword (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601918)

I recently shopped in a high-end major appliance store and the salesman told me about a frig that has the ability to contact the manufacturer if something goes wrong. The system figures out what parts are needed and sends them to the local repair center so that they are on hand when the repair person comes to your house. While that is pretty slick and efficient the darker side is that information could potentially be used by the nanny state to turn down your frig settings. Thus proving a major axiom: Any piece of technology, law, or concept can simultaneously be used for both good and evil.

Today its about you saving money (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601922)

and your needs, when this goes city wide, expect others to set the power quota, with you at home.
One Australian city had to find generator capacity - solution, float an on/off radio network idea
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/etsa-plans-to-take-control/story-e6freo8c-1225697720719 [adelaidenow.com.au]
Note the "power would be cut to certain appliances" and "a plasma TV and airconditioner might be turned off remotely"
This is the gateway for a "death panel" on your private electrical use.

Oh goody, the wired home. (2, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601930)

Our flying cars are just around the corner.

I have heard about the intelligent home all my life. So did my parents AND their parents. Look up some old reels from a "visions of the future" style problem. Where you see some housewife in black&white use robots we still don't have. 50+ years and the toaster still doesn't work right.

Okay, so the dryer is networked. What now? Report its power drain? I know it drains power, I can hear it running. How much? Well, I know how much thank you, I can see it on the bill. If I don't care about the money I sure as hell don't care about the environment OR that it will brownout the district.

If I do care about the environment and bill, then I would hardly want to ADD to the polution and cost by installing electronic devices I don't need.

This belongs in the category of the fridge that scans your food. The gadget is called a wife. They can see straight through metal and can detect rotting food a mile away. The gadget for saving electricity is called a dad. Try it. Get a wife with the optional extra of a kiddy or two (odd enough you don't get a discount for bulk buying) and you soon will be the most efficient energy saver on the planet.

Ultimately, it's not only about saving money (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601986)

Correct, its about monitoring the citizens even further. Expect gen 2 to report back to the government to see if you are washing too often.

Obviously... (1)

Giordano (188346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601988)

Intel doesn't have teenagers in the house.

Deluge of daily metrics? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602002)

I don't think we need the added complexity or the flood of daily metrics. Instead of fitting all of these appliances with their own power-monitoring and networking features, just buy one Kill-A-Watt, measure each appliance once in their typical usage pattern(s), and make some decisions. If you think they will deteriorate over time, measure them again in six months. Of course Intel wants to sell more chips, but I don't really want to turn my house into the NORAD Crystal Palace with all of the metrics-gathering.

Just wondering.... (1)

ewenix (702589) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602036)

How much electricity will this box be using 24x7 to do it's monitoring?
Wouldn't all the electricity that the box uses, be unnecessary?

More likely.... (1)

EvilJohn (17821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602042)

Yahoo and HP will want to try to buy adspace on the dryer's LCD display.

Re:More likely.... (3, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602188)

and Google collect its MAC.

Each to his own fashion (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602054)

If I buy power for use in my home, the power's mine, see, to dry clothes if I have a mind. And I have. You needn't watch me.

a lot of hidden power is wasted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602080)

Like in my Onkyo amp - if you've enabled HDMI control or Network control, putting it into standby it is still drawing over 70 watts of power - really not what you would expect at all. Got that (and everything else) attached to an intelliplug (http://www.oneclickpower.com/store/) now, cuts power to the lot.

and for the pc, got a great extension lead that has a foot switch hanging off it, so just stamp on it and its like turning everything off at the wall. very handy. and saves all the monitors/usb devices sitting there in standby.

Completely useless (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602100)

Just get a killawatt [google.com] , plug it in, turn the drier on for a cycle, and you've got its usage. Do this for your other appliances and you'll have all the data you will ever need.

There is no reason to have on-going monitoring in your house, as appliances don't change their electrical usage over time. However, the simplest solution won't lead to profits for Intel. In fact, you'll use more energy constantly powering the monitoring device hob, the sensors, the Ethernet network, etc... All these parasitic monitors will raise your bill. Not by much, it could even save on your bill, if you put the information to good use. But I can think of no reason why a killawatt won't be cheaper and just as useful.

What's the point? (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602114)

Anything that I own that is worth running off hours, namely the washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher already has the ability to dial in the number of hours before it starts.

The only one I ever use is the dishwasher, and that's more because I don't want to listen to it while I'm up. I tend to do 2-4 loads of clothes at a time which makes it rather hard to schedule running at off peak hours. Your money is better spent on a higher spin cycle which reduces dry times. A lot of my clothes come out so that they can hang dry in about 10 minutes. Or a gas dryer.

Most people use the power they use because they want to use it then. Shall I only use the oven after midnite? All of this is a waste of money. Just another way to make money for GE, Intel, etc.

So, why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602138)

So why does this have to be wireless then? Are they that stupid?

The gear already has wires hooked up and going wireless for no reason is yet another potential vulnerability, data leak, point of attack, and so on.

HAN (4, Informative)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32602152)

I work in the AMI/ Smart Grid field and I am just finishing up a study on HAN devices for a municipality. This is the way to go, with a ZigBee enabled device to communicate with power monitoring adapters that all of your electrical loads plug into. If it also supported an internet LAN connection back up to the utility AMI MMS (meter management system) it could incorporate the latest billing rate information and any data collected from the AMI meter outside the house.

There are some solutions out there that are closed-proprietary but I believe that a standards-based solution is the right way to go. HAN needs to get to the point where you can go into your local home improvement store and buy devices that can associate to a central device. Right now the price-point is too high at around $100 a device and it can cost $300-$400 to equip a home with a IHD (in home dislay), programmable thermostat and a communications gateway.

I hope that Intel can apply pressure to the marketplace so this technology can become ubiquitous.

You can get these in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602176)

E.On in the UK offer a monitor device called 'electrisave'. So much for there only being 4 in the world.

What about the monitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602228)

So, what about the monitor itself? Does it monitor its own power consumption and then turn itself off if its using too much?

What's new about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32602242)

This already exists under the name "PlugWise"

http://www.plugwise.com/en

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