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众筹新品速递:省钱又省心的智能插座

电熨斗还开着就出门了?手机充电器一直插在电源上?Yasser Khattak相信他的智能插座可以帮你节省能源和电费,并且插座本身价格合理、易于使用。

赖在床上,Yasser Khattak不想下床关灯。这样的烦恼给了他一个主意,制造一种家用电源插座和照明开关,并且开关按钮可以通过智能手机远程操作,这样诸如电视和电灯等电器就可以同时被关掉,节省电能。

Khattak的公司Den计划于明年发布一系列产品,包括可以自动点亮灯光的运动感应器,方便人们半夜去卫生间。产品中还包括一个可以同时关闭家中所有电器的遥控器。Khattak宣称该公司的技术可以让插座随时自动识别插上的电器的种类:比如,一个忘关的熨斗可以被远程关闭。

Khattak现年20岁,在他上学时产生了开发一种远程操作的开关的想法。他说“(开关)已经伴随我们的生活很久了,大约100年。我们现在有了更好的方法来制造它。”

虽然与普通的插座看起来差不多,但这个插座的开关可以被遥控器的按钮远程控制。遥控器的工作半径大约20米,如果通过手机应用进行控制的话,软件将通过Wi-Fi路由器控制插座。

工程师们设计了开关的运作方式,具体情况Kahattal拒绝透露。“我从未学习过工程学,但是我会从用户的视角理解失误。我知道产品应当是什么样,以及人们在使用它时会有什么感受。这就是我考虑问题的角度。所以我会说,‘我们希望当电熨斗被开在那里半小时后插座可以自动断电’-这是我们的客户将会看到的场景,我们之后会以此为标准来要求我们的软件与电气团队。”他表示,最终产品的尺寸将与普通插座一致。

除了节能的潜力与遥控的方便性之外,Khattak表示这一系统还会方便其他人群,比如老年人和孩子。老人不再需要摸到电视后面去关掉墙上的电源,而对半夜去卫生间的儿童来说这将是一种保护安全的工具。“如果烟雾报警器在半夜检测到了烟雾,整个家庭原本可能需要摸黑逃生,而我们的产品可以自动点亮灯光,让你能看到自己在往哪里跑。”它表示。“如果你把自己的熨斗或烫发棒开着放在一边超过半小时,我们的软件将给你发送通知,告诉你有些事情不太对。”

Khattak表示,这种可以感知插座上插着什么电器的能力是另一个重要的特色。

“如果我们发现一个电器插在插座上并且在待机,比如你插着充电器却没有在给手机充电,它将在半小时后自动关闭来节省电力。如果你希望孩子的Xbox在晚上十点之后不能通电,我们可以设置在十点后不为Xbox供电,无论把它插在家里的哪个插座上。”

虽然市场上有其他的智能照明和开关产品,Khattak认为它们都太复杂了。早先,Den旗下产品的建议售价为:插座9.99英镑、照明开关8.99英镑、Wi-Fi集中控制器59.99英镑,而Khattak表示最终售价还未确定。他希望能让自己产品的售价与传统插座一致。去年该公司已经通过众筹募集了大约50万英镑,现在的团队由六人组成。

“我们保留了人们熟悉的部分。我们的总体思想是,如果有人搬进一座已经安装了我们的开关产品的房子,他们一看到我们的产品立刻就能知道该怎么使用。对他们来说,这就是一个正常的开关,还是可以用手来控制,和你之前使用开关的方式一模一样”他说。

Left the iron on at home? Got a phone charger on without a phone plugged in? Yasser Khattak says his affordable, simple-to-use remote smart plug sockets help you save energy and cash

Snuggled up in bed, Yasser Khattak wanted to turn off the light without getting up. It was his lightbulb moment.

That teenage frustration gave him the idea for a household plug socket and light switch where the on-off button is flicked remotely via a smartphone,so appliances such as TVs and lights can all be switched off at once, saving power.

The new range of products from Khattak’s company Den is expected to launch early next year and include motion sensors so lights turn on automatically, for instance when someone gets up to go to the toilet at night. A remote control can also be used to switch off everything in a home at once. He claims his technology will recognise what type of appliance is plugged into a socket at any one time: for example, an iron left on can be switched off remotely.

Khattak, now 20, developed the idea of having a remotely operated “rocker switch” while at school. He says: “[Switches] have been around for a really long time, for 100 years. There is just a better way to do it.”

Although almost identical to a conventional plug socket, the switch simply clicks on and off when a remote button is pressed. The remote control works within a radius of about 20 metres while the app communicates via a Wi-Fi hub which then relays commands to the switches.

Engineers designed just how the switch moves from on to off – a feature which Khattak refuses to detail. “I never studied engineering. I understand things from the user’s point of view. I understand how it should look, how people should feel when they interact with it. That is where I look at things, I look from the user experience. So I will say, ‘We need it to turn off when the iron is left on for more than half an hour’ – that’s how the user will see it and then we will talk to the team in terms of the software and electronics.” The size of the final product will be identical to a run-of-the-mill plug socket, he says.

Alongside the energy-saving potential and the convenience of remote control, Khattak says the system will help others, such as elderly people who will not have to reach behind the television to turn the TV set off at source or as a safety tool for children who go to the toilet at night. “If a smoke alarm detects smoke in the middle of the night, instead of a family having to run out in complete darkness, it can turn on your lights for you so people can see where they are going,” he says. “If you leave your iron on or your hair straighteners on for more than half an hour we can send you a notification to say that something is not right.”

This ability to understand what appliance is plugged into a socket is another key feature, says Khattak.

“If we detect that something has been plugged in on standby – like if there is a phone charger plugged in but there is no phone plugged in – it will automatically flick itself off after half an hour to save electricity. If you want your child’s Xbox to not be powered after 10pm, we can set it to stop giving power after 10pm regardless of which plug they try and plug it into.”

While there are other smart lighting and switch systems on the market, Khattak claims they are too complicated. Early suggested prices for Den devices put a plug socket at £9.99, a light switch at £8.99 and a Wi-Fi hub to control them at £59.99, although he says the final cost has not yet been determined. He aims to set them at the same cost as conventional plug sockets. The company raised almost £500,000 on a crowdfunding campaign last year and is now a team of six people.

“We have retained what people are familiar with. The whole idea is that if someone moves into a house with our switches preinstalled, they would look at our products and instantly understand how to use them. As far as they are concerned, it is a normal switch which you just continue flicking on and off with your hand in the exact same way that you have always been able to,” he says.


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