Have you ever wondered how much money you are spending on electricity? What does it actually cost you to turn on your lights, run your microwave, or power your TV?
We decided to explore this concept in the first episode of our new video series, Technology Time Out. Our developers designed and implemented a new iOS app called MeterReader. MeterReader tracks real time usage of your electricity by monitoring an existing electrical meter and logging the data to the cloud. The data sets are then ultimately translated into per hour, day and month costs through the Meter Reader app. The end result is an app that allows you to determine how much money you are spending on electricity in real-time. This project was generated in conjunction with the Internet of Things movement.
We used an Arduino Yun in our Meter Reader project. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform intended for anyone making interactive projects. Adruino can be programmed to interact with a variety sensors, inputs, and controls.
The data generated by the Arduino Yun was then collected by Firebase. Firebase is a realtime platform that allows us to store and sync data instantaneously. Firebase is one of our favorite technologies to use due to its powerful API and lightning fast capabilities. This makes it perfect for use in The Internet of Things projects and we thank Sarah Robinson from Firebase for turning us on to it. Connect with Sarah on Twitter to learn more about Firebase.
We overlaid a hardware device that we built from our Arduino board and various sensors, to our electrical meter. The device monitors the electrical meter hardware and syncs data points in real-time via Firebase technology.
The data is then translated and displayed on our iOS app, Meter Reader. Meter Reader uses a custom formula to calculate your cost per hour, day and month. By simply turning on a light switch you can track the differential in your cost giving you a real-time snapshot of your electricity usage.
The Internet of Things
What is the Internet of Things? The Internet of Things is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers which gives the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human or computer interaction. When objects are connected to each other they are then able to send and receive data to each other. In layman’s terms, we make objects talk to each other. To make Meter Reader work, we had to make our Audrino board communicate with our electrical meter and Firebase.
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