Consumers have long paid their utility bills with little inkling of how much each device in their home costs to run. Shwetak Patel has found a better way. The MacArthur Fellow recognized that every device has a unique digital signature that can be detected with simple wireless sensors.
Patel's smart algorithms, combined with a sensor plugged anywhere in a home, inexpensively provide visual feedback allowing consumers to see which devices are the biggest wasters and how to conserve. The family who lives in the Hayward, California, home pictured here, was surprised to learn that digital video recorders eat up 11% of their household power.
Read more from Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt's book: Human Face of Big Data
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