Unless you have a degree in engineering or a natural talent at programming things, automating appliances in your home is not an easy task.
Actually, even some engineering students may still have trouble automating things, even with all the current technology available. What could average Joes or Jills do to add some automation to their homes? They can spend thousands on technology to do the job for them, or they can wait some time and invest in Roger Yiu's Smart Power Strips.
Currently available on Kickstarter, the Smart Power Strip is a simple way users can control home appliances from wherever they are. The idea is simple, a power strip with four AC outlets and two USB outputs for charging. Additionally, inside the strip is a WiFi module along with a 2.4 GHz MESH home automation module. Four relays allow each individual power outlet to be controlled along with four blue LEDs to indicate which ones are currently providing power. There is also a circuit breaker at the end for surge protection.
Once appliances have been plugged in through the power strip, users can then monitor and control their appliances through a smartphone app. Android and iOS devices are supported with very similar features. Users can check to see what is currently being powered, monitor power consumption, and even schedule specific times for devices to go on or off. Furthermore, as noted on the Kickstarter website, stand-by power, also known as phantom power, is a large waste of energy around the world. Through using the Smart Power Strip users can simply turn off the power being provided to something such as a phone charger when a phone is not being charged.
As I write this, the project has 500 backers on Kickstarter and has raised $58,444 out of a $100,000 goal with 13 days left to go. A Smart Power Strip will cost you $100 if you back it now on Kickstarter, but if the project gets funded and backed, it is likely going to retail for around $200. Furthermore, different international versions are being offered, which include an Australian and European version.