Smart Power Outlets Prevent Fires

Intelligent power outlets can conserve energy and prevent deadly accidents like house fires. John La Grou is working on the Electrical Fault Circuit Interrupter – EFCI – using microprocessors and RFID tags.



In the United States alone, over 20,000 are killed or injured every year with 350,000 home fires. The main causes of which are faulty and misused appliances and electrical wiring. Over 80% of all home electrical fires start below the safety threshold of circuit breakers.

John believes the solution is that “electrical appliances must be able to communicate directly with the power receptacle itself. Any electrical device – an appliance, an extension cord, whatever — must be able to tell the power outlet, “Hey, power outlet, I’m drawing too much current. Shut me off now, before I start a fire.” And the power outlet needs to be smart enough to do it. So here is what we did. We put a 10-cent digital transponder, a data tag, in the appliance plug. And we put an inexpensive, wireless data reader inside the receptacle so they could communicate. Now, every home electrical system becomes an intelligent network. The appliance’s safe operating parameters are embedded into its plug. If too much current is flowing, the intelligent receptacle turns itself off, and prevents another fire from starting. We call this technology EFCI, Electrical Fault Circuit Interrupter.

Every year in the USA, roughly 2,500 children are admitted to emergency rooms for shock and burn injuries related to electrical receptacles. And this is crazy. An intelligent receptacle prevents injuries because the power is always off, until an intelligent plug is detected. Simple”

Energy Savings

“This invention will reduce global energy consumption by allowing remote control and automation of every outlet in every home and business. Now you can choose to reduce your home energy bill by automatically cycling heavy loads like air conditioners and heaters. Hotels and businesses can shut down unused rooms from a central location, or even a cell phone. There are 10 billion electrical outlets in North America alone. The potential energy savings is very, very significant. First international recognition, the 2009 CES Innovation Award.”



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