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Neurio Making All Appliances Smarter

Vancouver, British Columbia — Start-up Neurio has developed an energy-monitoring sensor that can be installed inside a home’s circuit-breaker box to track the power usage of individual appliances in real time from a smartphone or tablet.

The $249 device will be available in April to consumers through the company’s website. It’s already available to Kickstarter backers at a discount.

The sensor uses Wi-Fi to connect to Neurio’s server and to smartphones and tablets in the house. The mobile devices can also monitor the senor from remote locations via cellular.

“By using a single home sensor and some really smart Cloud-based analytics, Neurio can monitor individual electrical appliances from inside a home’s breaker panel without the need to install sensors on every device,” a spokesman said.

The sensor can be installed by DIY-ers in 15 minutes or by electricians, he said.

Initially, the device will monitor whole-home power consumption, but with a software update planned for April, the device will gather and send “energy signatures based on user interactions in the home” to Neurio’s server. The sensor will then “very accurately detect” common larger load appliances such as dryers, washer, ovens, ACs, heater and the like, he said. “Then each month, as our algorithms get smarter, we will release new appliances for users to detect.”

Through an iOS or Android app, the appliance-detection feature will show users when an appliance turns on or off and how much energy it uses.

For now, the apps show a home’s total energy consumption in real-time and instantly show when total usage goes up or down when things are turned on or off. Users will also learn how much energy a home uses when things are turned off, and they’ll be able to compare that “always-on” power level to that in similar homes, the company said.

Future upgrades will send alerts to let users know when their laundry is done, if the hot water heater is acting abnormally, if their refrigerator breaks down, whether the game console in a child’s room is turned on, and the like.

The sensor screws inside a circuit-breaker box and gets power through two wires that connect to different breakers, each on a different phase. Two ring-type current transformers wrap around each of the breaker box’s two main cables to detect power consumption. A Wi-Fi antenna is mounted behind the wall through one of the box’s knockout holes and connects to the sensor via a short cable.

Neurio funded the device through Kickstarter and currently is making it available to backers at a discount.

In December 2014, Neurio secured around $1.2 million in seed funding led by BDC Venture Capital.