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5 Best Smart Power Strips In 2018

 

Power strips can be found in almost every home. These are components that let you plug in two or more electrical or electronic peripherals by using just one primary port. These are also known as surge protectors in some implementations. These are essential for every home as they can cut down the amount of ports and plugs used in your home.

Best Smart Power Strips Maxcio Smart Power Strip, Maxcio WiFi Surge Protector with 4 AC outlets & 3 USB Ports Fast Charging, Multi Outlets Works with Alexa and Google Home, Wireless Remote Control, No Hub Required 29.99 Weton WiFi Smart Power Strip Socket with Alexa,Weton Multi-Plug Timer Switch Power Strip Outlet Surge Protector with 4 AC Outlets 4 USB Port Remote Control Via Free App for IOS/Android Smart Phone/Tablets 28.89 Amtake WiFi Smart Power Strip, Amtake Surge Protector Outlet with 4 Smart Plugs and 4 USB Charging Ports for Multi Outlet Socket Extension Cord, Voice Controlled by Amazon Alexa Echo Dot and Google Home 19.99 Iron-M Iron-m WiFi Smart Power Strip Surge Protector, 4-Outlet 4-USB with 5-Foot Cord, Remote Control via Smart Phone, Work with Alexa and Google Home Mini 19.99 ANEKEN Smart Power Strip Wifi Surge Protector Aneken Smart Home Switch with 4 Individually or Grouply Controlled Smart AC Outlets Remote Control Home Devices Timing Function Works with Alexa & Google Home 0.00

Did you know that there are smart power strips available in the marketplace? Well, these are like regular power strips but with Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to control their functionality with your smartphone or through a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. These add more utility to your home, especially if you’re into home automation and are already invested in Smart Home products.

So let’s have a look at some of the best smart power strips that are available for purchase.

5 Best Smart Power Strips Amtake

From the outside, this looks like just another ordinary power strip. But it comes with Wi-Fi on board, allowing you to turn it on or off using just your smartphone or voice assistant. This particular device works in tandem with the Tuya Smart app that can be downloaded from the Play Store. The power strip requires a secure 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection to work, making it compatible with most home Wi-Fi routers out there.

Thanks to the app, you can schedule the on/off timer to work as per your convenience. Another handy feature here is the ability to control it from practically anywhere, so you could be away from home and still be able to control it using your smartphone or tablet. It also comes with four full sized USB ports to let you charge your smartphone or other peripherals.

What’s even better is the fact that it only costs $19.99 on Amazon right now. If you’re a fan of automated home peripherals, a smart power strip like this is the first thing to buy right now.

Maxcio Smart Power Strip

This particular power strip is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant as well as IFTTT. The dedicated Smart Life application allows you to control key aspects of the power strip, making it ideal for use when you’re away from home. Given that it supports a number of automated services, you can even use the features of this smart power strip with your voice. It comes with a total of four outlets and users can control each outlet individually or together.

If you have appliances plugged into this smart power strip, the timer function can help you cut down on your utility bills significantly. Let’s say you have a washing machine plugged in and forgot to turn it off. Enabling the timer function will make sure the appliance is turned off, saving plenty of energy in the process. This power strip doesn’t require a smart hub appliance to work. All you need is the aforementioned Smart Life app from the Play Store and you’re good to go. There are three USB ports here, allowing you to charge your phone or tablet.

The power strip is made using UL-94-V0 materials, which makes it fireproof. This handy smart power strip is priced at $32.99 on Amazon right now.

Iron-m Smart Power Strip

This is pretty similar to the offerings we’ve talked about above, although it comes with a more refined design. Also, there are four full sized USB ports here, letting you charge up your phone, tablet or even smartwatch. Each USB port has a maximum power output of 12W, which is plenty for any device to charge.

As for the outlets, there are a total of four, which can all be controlled over an internet connection (2.4 GHz Wi-Fi) and your smartphone/tablet. Although the four outlets can be controlled individually, the USB ports can be turned on or off together, which is a minor inconvenience but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

Thanks to the intelligent smartphone app, you can schedule its running time to save big on energy costs. The idea behind automated and smart power strips is not only to offer control to the users, but also to save up on annual energy costs. Details on the smartphone/tablet app will be available in the user manual when you purchase the product. The manufacturer mentions that the app is compatible with Android 4.1 and higher, so you should be good as long as you have a phone or tablet that was launched in the last few years or so.

This is one of the inexpensive options at only $19.99. You can check it out on Amazon.

Weton

This particular smart power strip (unlike others on this list) has been certified to work with Amazon’s Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant. This means you can control the functionality of this power strip with a simple command to Alexa. Weton makes a myriad of products, including Wi-Fi enabled plugs, and this is yet another quality offering from the company.

In terms of functionality, however, it’s pretty much the same as the power strips we’ve mentioned above. While power outlets can be controlled individually, the four USB ports can be turned on or off together. This power strip doesn’t support 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks, so you will need to have a 2.4 GHz compatible Wi-Fi setup at home. This particular unit is slightly expensive at $29.59, but still cheaper than most smart power strips.

ANEKEN Smart Power Strip

Yet another product certified by Amazon to work with Alexa, the ANEKEN smart power strip comes with four individually controllable power outlets. There are no USB ports here, however, which is a bit of a letdown. But given that a product like this is used for automation and extended control, we don’t see this as much of a negative to be honest. You can schedule the functioning of this power strip, so it’s pretty similar to other offerings that we’ve talked about on this list. Amazon is currently offering this smart power strip for $29.99. This product is also compatible with Google Assistant.

Best Smart Power Strips Maxcio Smart Power Strip, Maxcio WiFi Surge Protector with 4 AC outlets & 3 USB Ports Fast Charging, Multi Outlets Works with Alexa and Google Home, Wireless Remote Control, No Hub Required 29.99 Weton WiFi Smart Power Strip Socket with Alexa,Weton Multi-Plug Timer Switch Power Strip Outlet Surge Protector with 4 AC Outlets 4 USB Port Remote Control Via Free App for IOS/Android Smart Phone/Tablets 28.89 Amtake WiFi Smart Power Strip, Amtake Surge Protector Outlet with 4 Smart Plugs and 4 USB Charging Ports for Multi Outlet Socket Extension Cord, Voice Controlled by Amazon Alexa Echo Dot and Google Home 19.99 Iron-M Iron-m WiFi Smart Power Strip Surge Protector, 4-Outlet 4-USB with 5-Foot Cord, Remote Control via Smart Phone, Work with Alexa and Google Home Mini 19.99 ANEKEN Smart Power Strip Wifi Surge Protector Aneken Smart Home Switch with 4 Individually or Grouply Controlled Smart AC Outlets Remote Control Home Devices Timing Function Works with Alexa & Google Home 0.00

 

Solar Panel and Sun

Smart windows could combine solar panels and TVs too

Smart windows could combine solar panels and TVs too

File 20180503 138586 5ldwyo.png?ixlib=rb 1.1
Could this monitor and window be combined with a solar panel?
patat/Shutterstock.com

Kerry Rippy, Colorado State University

Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. You hear someone enter the room behind you. You turn. “Welcome,” you say. “Here is the video I wanted to show you.” At the press of a button, the view vanishes and the windows transform into a high-definition TV screen.

No, your friend isn’t James Bond, and you aren’t the next Q. Still, even as you watch the video, your window-TV is doing as much to help avert global catastrophe as any Bond-film gadget ever did. You see, it’s also a solar panel, constantly harvesting renewable energy from the sun. The problem of climate change is not a typical movie supervillain, but it’s a trickier problem than Goldfinger posed. Worse, humanity’s efforts to solve it with existing technologies aren’t working fast enough.

The heroes swooping in to the rescue could be a new technology called organic semiconductors, a new way to make materials that conduct electricity only under certain conditions. Most semiconductors in modern electronics are made of crystalline, rock-forming elements like silicon. Organic semiconductors, by contrast, are made primarily of carbon-based molecules. They take less energy to make than conventional semiconductors. A conventional photovoltaic cell, for instance, can take years to produce as much energy as was required to build it; an organic photovoltaic cell takes just months.

However, perhaps the most exciting thing about organic semiconductors is that it’s possible to design molecules that are flexible, lightweight, colored or completely transparent. In the lab I work in, we design and test new small molecules that have specific, targeted properties – like making a simple transparent pane into a window, screen and solar panel.

Each of these research samples is a small organic solar panel made from different molecules, with varying degrees of transparency to visible light.
Kerry Rippy

Capturing solar energy

Making a solar panel that’s also a window involves a bit of creativity: It has to be something that both absorbs light, to make electricity, and lets light through, to let people see in and out.

Our material takes advantage of the fact that a window only needs to transmit human-visible light; in my lab, we can make molecules that absorb only UV and infrared light, wavelengths of light our eyes don’t see. These are parts of the spectrum we don’t really want to pass through a window anyway. UV light gives you a sunburn. And infrared light is hot: Filtering it out can save on the energy use and expense of air conditioning. It’s true that our method doesn’t capture absolutely all the energy in sunlight, but that’s okay. The amount of solar energy that reaches Earth every hour is more than all humanity uses in a year.

Transparent organic solar panels don’t absorb the part of the solar spectrum that includes visible light; they only absorb UV and infrared light.
Kerry Rippy, CC BY-ND

Flipping the process around

Organic semiconductors are also useful for making monitors and displays. If you think about it, a screen is basically a solar panel run backwards. It generates light from an electric current. Both solar panels and display screens involve conversions between light and electricity. Just like we can design transparent organic semiconductors, we can design molecules that emit specific colors of light when an electric current is applied.

Put together one molecule that emits red, one molecule that emits blue, and one molecule that emits green, and you have an organic light-emitting diode. Those are the key to what are known in the TV and monitor marketplace as OLED screens.

Simplified diagrams of organic photovoltaic cells and organic light emitting diodes show how they operate very similarly, just in reverse.
Kerry Rippy, CC BY-ND

To make a smart window, we would need to deposit two layers of organic semiconductors – one layer to generate electricity from sunlight and another to emit light – onto a pan of a transparent conducting material, like indium tin oxide. These technologies exist, but are not yet available for sale.

Putting the pieces together

Half of this device is already commercially available: Energy-efficient high-resolution OLEDs are a big hit in the marketplace for home and office TVs.

Companies selling organic solar panels, and even organic solar panel windows, are just getting going. Ongoing research efforts, like mine, are aimed at optimizing the properties of these materials, increasing their efficiency, and making them more durable.

The ConversationAs we make the components better, we’ll also find ways to integrate organic-semiconductor solar cells and organic-semiconductor displays together. It may be a few years out yet, but there is certainly incentive to do so, with so many possible applications. An electric car with smart windows could collect enough solar energy to drive the car 10 to 15 miles a day, enough for a typical commute. Driving directions could appear on the windshield, too. Anywhere there’s a window – whether in a skyscraper or a mobile home – there could be a smart window, saving space, saving energy and letting the occupants feel like James Bond.

Kerry Rippy, Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry, Colorado State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.