Wrist sensor logs the devices you use and your power consumption

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MagnifiSense is a high-tech wristband developed by University of Washington researchers. Unlike fitness trackers, though, it doesn't log the number of steps you've taken or calories burned: it takes note of the electronics and appliances you personally use to keep track of your power consumption. During their tests, the researchers found that the sensor can correctly identify and differentiate 12 devices from each other, including electric toothbrushes, lamps, laptops and even cars. It's able to tell them apart by "listening" to the electronic radiation they generate. According to lead researcher Edward Wang, electronics actually produce distinct sounds similar to "vocal cord patterns," so "a blender 'sings' quite differently than a hair dryer."

Wang and his colleagues believe that they can develop more applications for MagnifiSense: it could, for instance, monitor what devices a nursing home resident switches on. That way, an attendant can come in and check if he believes the user forgot to turn off the stove or any other appliance that could explode or cause fire. As you can see above, the current prototype looks too chunky for actual use, but the team plans to scale the technology down in the future. They're hoping to create a version that's small enough to be embedded into a watch or a slimmer band. We imagine that could lead to commercially available wearables, which can remind people to conserve energy and make it easier for roommates to divvy up electric bills more fairly.
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