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News Link • Technology: Software

SNUPI's Smart-Home Sensors Communicate Via the Copper Already in the Walls

Building smart homes that are networked to run as efficiently as possible is supposed to be one of the technological fixes to our current energy consumption problem. But what’s often lost in all the heady talk about innovating our way to a greener future is the fact that those wireless networking technologies also consume power, reducing the net benefit. So a team of researchers came up with a novel fix: eliminate the power burn required by wireless technologies by using a home’s copper wiring as a huge, building-wide antenna.

Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure, or SNUPI, is a system of tiny, low-power sensors that monitor a home for a variety of energy-sucking problems – moisture in the crawl space, heat escaping through a poorly insulated window, lights left on in an upstairs bedroom – and beams a signal back to a central hub via the copper wiring already installed in the home. Since the sensors don’t have to communicate wirelessly with the base station – the copper does them the favor of ferrying the 27-megahertz signal – they don’t need a large power source. In fact, a single watch battery can run each sensor for a decade or longer.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Trouser Chili
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This is an expensive solution looking for a problem.  You don't need a permanently-mounted sensor to tell you cool air is escaping through a window seal in the summer or other of their examples.  You need to survey it once, then fix it.  And total amount of money saved by the window fix compared to how much it will cost you most likely puts that investment at a negative return on investment.

But this technology sure would be handy in alerting some central command center about all sorts of other activities - when your televisions and computers are on, which lights are turned on in your home...

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