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electrical power outlet on green background XAOC/iStock/Getty Images Plus

MIT Engineers Build Smart Electrical Receptacle

Power outlet can distinguish between dangerous electrical spikes and harmless ones

A host of smart products, such as lighting sensors, thermostats, and luminaires, have steadily made their way into our homes and businesses over the past decade or so. Now, a team of engineers at the Massachusetts Technology Institute (MIT), Cambridge, Mass., has taken this concept one step further with the recent development of what they are calling a “smart power outlet,” according to an MIT News article.

The article says the device evaluates electrical current usage from single or multiple outlets, and can differentiate between benign arcs — like those caused by common household appliances — and dangerous arcs, such as those from faulty wiring that could result in a fire. The device can also learn to identify what type of apparatus might be plugged into a specific outlet, such as a fan versus a desktop computer.

According to MIT News, the solution contains custom hardware that processes electrical current data in real-time and software that analyzes the data via a neural network, which is a set of machine learning algorithms based on the workings of the human brain.

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