A smart and safe home a new concept for digital age, says researcher
Associate Professor Krischonme Bhumkittipich, of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), revealed his new research into technology that goes beyond “smart home” to keep us both “smart” and “safe”.
Using his engineering expertise, Dr. Krischonme advised a group of post graduates to develop what they call “the power and energy research (PSRC) LAB” to put the concept of a smart home and an electrical circuit breaker into “one single technology”, to ensure safety as well as intelligence.
The researcher explained that recent smart home technology such as the Google smart home hub still does not address questions that go beyond management and control of smart devices or conventional devices with smart circuit added in, and that is not safe to people or properties.
He said, for example, when the electrical connection of an appliance is loose and someone, without knowing, remotely activates that appliance, it could cause an electrical fire or give an electrical shock to anyone touching it, In addition, many smart home technology in the market today leaves the safety function to the conventional electrical circuit breaker.
His research project was launched in 2009. Its purpose was to design a solid-state circuit breaker that replaces the electromechanical functions of a traditional device. The solid-sate breaker is faster, and thus safer. A solid-state device can move at the speed of a computer, improving the device’s kilo-amperes interrupting capacity, or KAIC, a key measure of a circuit breaker’s ability to perform its core function of keeping electrical equipment safe.
Although the solid-state breaker technology is still expensive, he predicts that, with advances in smart home functionality, prices of devices can be lowered to become competitive. In terms of design, it makes every day management of home appliances, and future Internet of Things (IoT) devices, easier through this integrated switches and a gateway panel with an OS called “Home@Cloud”, the heart of the system.
He went on to say that the Home@Cloud turns a simple home into a truly smart one by letting it calculate the risk of electrical hazard prior to implementing a command entered by users. It is indeed a self-thinking home. Moreover, the Home@Cloud acts as a gateway to all IoT devices in the house, changing the concept of the smart home and electrical safety.
Dr. Krischonme said his research project is funded by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) which plans to expand the research output to a wider use once the prototype is fully completed and tested in the near future.
He said that the RMUTT is collaborating with many colleges in Japan, China, Australia, Malaysia and European countries in research into smart technology, especially as Thailand’s society ages. He believes the elderly population will benefit greatly from smart and safe home technology as they will be more independent and rely less on care givers.