This year’s Greener Gadgets Competition is loaded with brilliant ideas. One of our favories is the Tweet-a-watt, a fabulous open-source, power monitoring project from ladyada. One part off-the-shelf hardware, two-parts hackware and a dash of environmental consciousness and social networking, Tweet-a-watt monitors and “tweets ” (publish wirelessly) your home’s daily energy use to your Twitter account, all for less than fifty bucks!
What can you do with Tweet-a-watt? Many things, not the least of which include monitoring your domestic power usage without having to hack your main power grid (handy, especially if you’re a renter). The Tweet-a-watt automatically uploads the data to your Twitter account for sharing, competing or bragging. There’s nothing like a little public accountability to keep us all honest!
Designed by MIT graduate and open-source maven Lima of ladyada, Tweet-a-watt is an open-source hack with a green heart. You can make your own Tweet-a-watt by opening up an off-the-shelf Kill-a-Watt power monitor and making a couple simple modifications – wire an Xbee wireless module, super capacitor and transmission indicators to the power sensor output, then syc it to an Xbee receiver connected to your PC via USB. Clear as mud? Never fear, Ladyada.net has all the details mapped out nicely — with diagrams !
The process goes like this: “The modified Kill-a-Watt uses a “super-cap” to slowly recharge itself. Once there is enough power it turns on the Xbee wireless module which transmits the data to a nearby computer (or internet connected micro-controller, like an Arduino). Once the power usage for the day is recorded it uses a predefined Twitter account (it can be your own) to publish your daily KWH consumption for the day. Multiple units can be used for an entire household.”
Be sure to check out the fifty other finalists in this year’s Greener Gadgets Design Competition and vote for your favorite! We’ll be using your votes to help determine the top ten designs to showcase at this year’s Greener Gadgets Conference, and we’ll be giving away $5000 in prizes to the top three designs!