A few years ago I got pretty excited over a project Google had started called Google PowerMeter. Its idea was to enable consumers to see their entire home’s electricity use in real-time over the Web. This was a great initiative, but unfortunately it relied on your power company having a smart power meter installed at your home in order for you to use it. In addition, the PowerMeter project was ended by Google back in 2011.
Enter a new Kickstarter project that aims to offer everything Google PowerMeter did, without the hassle of dealing with the electric companies. The engineers behind the project created what now seems like an obvious workaround: create a device that will read your existing meter, be it analog or digital, dumb or smart. Strap the device onto your home’s power meter and you’ll instantly be able to track your power usage on the Web, on a mobile device, or even via the upcoming API. They call it Wattvision.
How do these meter attachments work for the different types of power meters, exactly? Its Kickstarter page explains:
If you have an analog meter, our analog sensors will watch and time the rotations of the disk inside your meter. Each rotation marks a fixed quantity of energy used by your house. If you have a digital meter, our digital sensor will read the infrared pulses emitted by your meter that also mark the energy coming from the grid.
Once its “Wattvision Energy Sensor” reads your meter, it sends the data over to the “Wattvision Gateway,” which is connected to your home network. From there the data is sent off to the Wattvision servers in the sky to wait for you to analyze said data wherever you might be.
If you did a bit of research you’d find that the Wattvision team is already selling their original model on their website (currently sold out) and Wattvision has been operating as a VC-funded effort since 2009. So what’s the Kickstarter for? The team behind Wattvision already has goals for Wattvision 2, a completely reworked model designed from scratch and with the input of a few early adopters of its first system. The Wattvision team hopes a fully funded Kickstarter project will help with the development of Wattvision 2 in a few ways, including covering a huge production run to get Wattvision 2 in as many hands as possible, expand Wattvision’s compatibility across more types of power meters, and supporting ethernet and more types of wireless networks.
Its “First Adopter” Kickstarter Reward went for $149 and is already sold out, with more expensive rewards left for those who are eager, so be sure to hurry and back this project if you want to get this technology in your hands as soon as possible. The Wattvision team hopes to have Wattvision 2 in the hands of Kickstarter backers in January of 2013.
I hope this project goes far, as I’m all for smarter energy use. I was bummed when the power company in my area was behind the times and didn’t offer smart meters, so you know I’ll be eager to give this technology a try when it hits the market. In fact, I’ve already got it backed and my very own Wattvision system effectively pre-ordered. What about the rest of you lot?
[Source: Wattvision – The Smart Energy Sensor]