This wearable won’t track your steps, but it’ll track your energy and power consumption

this wearable wont track your steps but itll energy and power consumption screen shot 2015 09 13 at 6 07 52 pm
University of Washington
It’s not exactly the sleekest wearable on the market, nor will it track your steps or give you customized workout advice. But if knowing how much (or little) electrical power you’ve consumed over the course of the day helps you sleep at night, then the MagnifiSense may be perfect for you.

Developed by researchers at the University of Washington, this unique wearable may not be able to count calories, but it can count how many watts you’ve used by way of the devices you interact with on a day-to-day basis. By using the individual electromagnetic radiation signatures that various electrical devices generate when they’re switched on, scientists found that after a single calibration, they could identify (with 94 percent accuracy no less) our interactions with 12 everyday devices, including microwaves, blenders, remote controls, electric toothbrushes, laptops, light dimmers, and even cars and buses.

“It’s another way to log what you’re interacting with so at the end of the day or month you can see how much energy you used,” said Shwetak Patel, Washington Research Foundation endowed professor of computer science & engineering and electrical engineering noted in a statement. “Right now, we can know that lights are 20 percent of your energy use. With this, we divvy it up and say who consumed that energy.”

The coolest thing about MagnifiSense — if you can boil it down to just one thing, that is — lies in its ability to differentiate between many different types of electrical tools and appliances by “listening” to how each of these electricity-consuming devices ‘sings.’

“When a blender turns on, for instance, modulators change the current profile of the device and create something similar to a vocal cord pattern,” explains study lead author and UW electrical engineering student Edward Wang. “A blender ‘sings’ quite differently than a hair dryer even though to our ears they sound similar.”

And while detection of this sort may seem to require NASA-level equipment, as Gizmag notes, MagnifiSense only uses “three basic, off-the-shelf sensors that use coils of wire around magnets (inductors), to accurately capture a broad frequency range of electromagnetic radiation without being too power hungry.” Of course, the signal processing and machine learning algorithms that complete the project are nothing if not complex, so don’t assume you can create one of these gadgets overnight for yourself.

Moving forward, the team at the University of Washington believes that this new wearable could have a variety of different applications, from detecting when an appliance has been left on too long, to keeping track of geriatric patients and their interactions with technology. And as for its design, MagnifiSense is working on that as well, with hopes that the technology could ultimately be embedded into existing wearables. “We think it could be integrated into any wrist-sized product,” said Patel. “The next steps are really to look at what other devices we can detect and work on a prototype that’s wearable.”

So keep on keepin’ on, MagnifiSense. After all, nobody else out there is helping us keep track of our electricity usage.


Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

Amazon is generating a new level of sustainability into its platform with Amazon Second Chance, a new portal that encourages consumers to trade in and recycle their old electronic devices.

New sensor from L’Oréal tracks UV exposure to keep your skin safe from the sun

L'Oréal has announced a new wearable sensor that attaches to your clothing and can track ultraviolet light. The sensor uses NFC instead of Bluetooth -- meaning it doesn't need a battery to work properly.

Mozilla’s built-in price-tracking extension makes it easy to shop with Firefox

Mozilla has heard those worries about Black Friday shopping, and is now introducing a new set of experimental extensions which aim to make it easier to find the best deals online.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

This startup will sequence your entire genome for free — but there’s a catch

Want to get your DNA sequenced but don’t want to shell out the hundred bucks or so to do so? A new startup called Nebula Genomics offers you the opportunity to have it done for free.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!
Emerging Tech

Students who designed transforming smart home will compete in Solar Decathalon

Modular smart homes are all the rage, and now some students from Virginia Tech are putting their money on their FutureHAUS, a modular, solar-powered, transforming smart home they're taking to the Solar Decathlon in Dubai.
Emerging Tech

Hotter than the sun: Chinese fusion reactor claims breakthrough

China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a heating power of 10 megawatts -- six times hotter than the center of the sun. The achievement could mark progress towards fusion as a clean energy source.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.