Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

PowerBlade: A Compact, True-Power, Plug-Through Energy Meter

Technology #6901

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Researchers
Samuel DeBruin
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734.764.8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Residential and commercial buildings in the US used 2,760TWh of electrical energy in 2014, and the state of the art in metering plug-loads, which represented the fastest growing segment of electrical loads, does not permit researchers or consumers to easily and accurately measure the devices that comprise this consumption. Current plug load power meters are too large, too expensive, and too difficult to use to permit a meter on every outlet or device in a home or business. PowerBlade is the smallest, lowest power, wireless true power meter and sits physically between the plug and outlet. This enables whole-building deployments of plug load meters.

PowerBlade provides a compact, true-power, plug-through energy meter

Achieving this design point requires revisiting every aspect of conventional power meters: a new method of acquiring voltage; a non-invasive, planar method of current measurement; an efficient and accurate method of computing power from the voltage and current channels; a radio interface that leverages nearby smart phones to display data and report it to the cloud; and a retro power supply re-imagined with vastly lower current draw, allowing extreme miniaturization. PowerBlade occupies a mere 1" 1" footprint, offers a 1/16" profile, draws less than 180 mW itself, offers 1.13% error on unity power factor loads in the 2-1200 W range and slightly worse for non-linear and reactive loads, and costs $11 in modest quantities of about 1,000 units.

Applications

  • Smart energy meter

Advantages

  • Compact size
  • Low cost
  • Wireless data transmission