We are interested in the power consumed in our homes, in our offices, and throughout our lives. We purchased several off-the-shelf plug load meters like Kill-A-Watt, and although these devices are highly accurate they are not particularly useful. The main drawback is size – they are simply so large that they block adjacent outlets. Even with 5+ in my apartment it felt overwhelming, how was I going to get the 50 needed to measure every load? And that doesnt even count the cost of these units, both in up-front purchase price and in power consumed while in use.
Instead, we designed PowerBlade. Our true-power plug-load meter is a single PCB 1 inch square and 1/16 inch thick. This diminutive size allows it to sit inconspicuously between the plug and its outlet, measuring the power supplied and reporting these measurements over BLE to nearby smartphones. Our device draws 176 mW in operation, and costs about $11 in large quantities.