Work plan for Carbon and Energy Hack Weekend
This weekend is Rewired State: Carbon and Energy Hack Weekend an event organised by 10:10, The Guardian and Rewired State with the aim of putting people together under one roof to develop applications around Energy and Carbon. The event is formatted so people can either arrive with a project to develop, or can lend a had to others, here is my proposed project.
People install energy monitors in their homes to become more aware of their consumption, and to improve based on the information the meter provides. To lower energy consumption the key information people want from their meter is whether they are doing better or worse, compared to yesterday, their neighbours, or a national average, for instance. The majority of devices in the smart meter space tend to provide energy consumption data in kW h, sometimes mixed with a trends graph. There is a mismatch between users’ understanding of their energy usage, which is informal and relational, kettle vs. toaster or today vs. yesterday, and the continuous numeric data stream provided and presented by meters. I believe end users can benefit form a different approach, an ambient display which presents information as relationships, to encourage behaviour change.
I have an early prototype for an ambient display that presents fluctuating sources of data such as energy, and it can show trends as well as comparisons, see a picture below, also here, here, and you can read more about the project here. I would like to take the opportunity of this weekend to take that prototype a little further, working with others who can provide input into the project. I have a functional prototype of the device, I want to create a webservice that provides data streams, and need to design a serial protocol that feeds the data to the device.
What I’m I hoping from the experience of working with others:
- Data: I would like to get individual household energy consumption data, hopefully something along the lines of hourly summaries. I donâ€™t need to pinpoint individual addresses, so data can be anonymised. I want to prototype a realistic use scenario for the device use in a home environment. I want to display both trends of use for a day and comparisons between data. For instance the same space at different points in time or comparisons with other spaces of similar characteristics (m^2) & location.
- I would like to build a prototype for a web service in which users can select what data to display. Iâ€™m looking to build it in django sprinkled with jquery. I have worked with django before (a while ago) I would really like someone’s input in designing the models and thinking about the structure of the service. Help with the implementation is obviously also welcome, particularly with the jquery side.
- I want to design a lightweight protocol to send data from the service to the device. This can be a very simple ascii protocol if we run out of time, or something a bit more intelligent. I have already written an arduino library that takes care of the plotting, the protocol only needs to get the data and plot it. I would love to talk to someone with c++ experience in particular for embedded devices/arduino as a sanity check, to get input into that side of the project. Serial communications currently happen via USB, but I can very quickly move to either Xbee or Bluetooth.
I am very interested in discussing additional aspects of the project with others. In particular, energy experts, statisticians, social scientist, product designers, marketers, potential partners, investors. I am also really looking forward to see what others are doing, I’m happy to provide input where I can. I have been involved in a number of projects visualising energy data in the past.
Do you want to make the Internet of things a reality? join me! ping me on twitter @Gonzillaaa