A UT Arlington Computer Science
& Engineering team is developing a sensor and monitoring system to put
consumers in charge of monitoring energy, gas and water use with a goal of
saving them money.
The project builds on pervasive
computing technology developed by professor Sajal Das, director of UT
Arlington’s Center for Research in Wireless
Mobility and Networking. Das and doctoral student Giacomo Ghidini are one
of 100 recipient teams of a 2012 National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, or
I-Corps, grant intended to move research to the marketplace.
“If this technology can save
homeowners or businesses 10 to 15 percent of their energy expenses, that’s
monumental,” Das said. “It gives them great insight and allows them to make
Until now, energy providers have
been in control of web-based, smart meter applications that can help homeowners
and other consumers monitor and regulate energy consumption. With the pervasive
computing system developed by Das and Ghidini, consumers would have the power,
the researchers said.
“The system we have has mass
potential because everyone wants to control their environment in their home,”
Das said. “They don’t want to surrender that control to power providers.”
Das joined The University of
Texas at Arlington in 1999 and has received nearly $2 million in NSF grants
during the last several years in support of his work in pervasive computing and
data fusion methods that accumulate information using high-tech sensors.
In the current project, the
sensors record data that affects resource consumption, such as how many people
are in a room, whether they are engaged in physical activity, how many
appliances or lights are on and exterior humidity and temperature.
The data is analyzed to
determine how much energy is needed to cool or heat a home. Homeowners would
access information about optimal thermostat settings, for example, via a
smartphone and web-based application.
The NSF has created three
commercialization nodes in issuing I-Corps grants. They are at Stanford
University, Georgia Tech University and University of Michigan. Das and Ghidini
presented their recommendations at a Georgia Tech conference recently where
potential investors, fellow I-Corps grant recipients and venture capital firms
were present. Ghidini’s presentation focused on a business model to
commercialize the technology.
“What makes the grant exciting
is that we’re taking what we learn inside the lab to where it will be put to
use,” Ghidini said.
Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the
UT Arlington College of Engineering, said the work by Das and Ghidini is
representative of the many real-world solutions being developed by University
“Energy consumption and our
ability to control consumer costs affect everyone,” Bardet said. “UT Arlington
researchers are committed to developing technology that improves our lives, and
this NSF project is an important avenue for making that technology accessible
The University of Texas at
Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,200 students
in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu
to learn more.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.