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New tech allows home appliances to be securely controlled with smartphone without Internet connection

Innovation

GROUND-breaking technology that turns a smartphone into a household power monitor and remote control without relying on an Internet connection is being launched on the Australian Small Scale Offering Board today.

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Developed in South Australia by tech firm Xped, the technology allows the energy output of any electrical appliance to be measured and displayed on a smartphone or computer.

It also turns a smartphone into a remote control for all infra-red using devices, such as televisions, and allows appliances to be turned off when people are away from home.

“The key to successful technology is to make it simple, secure and convenient for people to use,’’ Xped sales and marketing officer Michael Partington said.

“An important part of this technology is that is doesn’t need to be accessed through the Internet – it is able work independently within the home without an Internet connection.’’

“We found this was a large concern for the market,” Partington said. “People were concerned about their personal information being accessed or hacked from the Internet.’’

He said that people forget that the average smartphone is actually a very powerful computer – that just happens to be able operate as a telephone.

Partington

“So we created a system that was self reliant and able to provide this information to people via their phones or their computers without having to go through the Internet at any stage.’’

Three components make up the “home network.’’

The first piece is the “Ultraplug’’ which is about the size a double adapter. The Ultraplug instantly begins measuring the power usage of an appliance plugged into it and can turn the appliance on and off through a smartphone.

The second is a “Smarthome hub’’, which is about the size of a wallet. The hub is the central brain receiving information from the Ultraplugs and transforms the data into easily understood bar graphs or pie charts. The graphs are then presented on a phone.

The third component is called an “IR Blaster’’, and is about half the size and shape of computer mouse.  It can give commands to any appliance that uses an infrared remote control – such as an air conditioner, television, DVD, CD player or home theatre.

Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled smartphones connect to Xped’s system by tapping a device, allowing the phone to receive all the information needed to operate as a remote control.

“We have manufactured the prototypes here in Australia and we will begin a pilot run in the coming months,’’ Michael said.

“Currently we have filed nine patents applications on our technology with significant interest from the USA, Singapore and other areas in Asia.’’

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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