Skip to main content
Ideas at the Intersection

ampér
A smart circuit breaker that helps reduce energy use

Share this project
Share to TwitterShare to FacebookEmailMore...

ampér is a startup building a smart circuit breaker that allows consumers to monitor and reduce their energy use on a per-appliance basis. By studying consumer usage patterns, ampér sends customized text messages or push notifications featuring recommendations on how to improve usage habits and reduce monthly energy costs.

Ampér

Problem

The US Department of Energy estimates that Americans waste 20% of the electricity used in their homes every year. For consumers motivated to curb their energy use, determining where to commit their efforts is no easy task. Utility bills only provide generalized data about month-to-month usage trends, offering few details and little context about one’s habits. Consumers don’t know where to start, leading many to continue their wasteful practices. 

Having information is the first step toward making a measurable, positive change. We want ampér to empower people to take control of their energy use and waste. Energy efficiency is key for a future where we optimize resources—and with ampér—one can receive actionable insights and track improvements.Akshat Thirani, ampér, co-founder

Solution

ampér offers the next generation of home energy monitoring through hardware that seamlessly reads the electrical current in consumer homes and sends the data directly to user smartphones. After studying a home’s electricity use for one week, the ampér circuit breaker system provides tailored advice to its occupants, such as turning off the air conditioner before leaving for work, or replacing an outdated refrigerator for additional energy savings. 

Benefits

Development Process

A mock-up illustration of ampér's smart circuit breaker technology.The team developed ampér after several rounds of surveys and interviews with potential customers from the team’s target markets. Using the feedback, the group has been able to pinpoint the features of a smart circuit breaker system that consumers would be most interested in. The team has also been able to identify potential pain points for their technology and determine the proper approach to address those issues through design. The group has used the survey and focus group feedback in developing a series prototypes for their smart circuit breaker. 

Current Status

Members of ampér recently finished the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s NUvention: Energy course, where they pitched their product and business plan to members of the NUvention: Energy board of directors. The startup has since announced it has received a $5,000 VentureWell grant, as well as the $20,000  Energy Efficiency award from the 2016 MIT Clean Energy Prizeto continue the development of its smart circuit breaker. This fall, the group will participate in the 2016 HAX Accelerator, the world’s largest hardware accelerator program in Shenzen, China. The team has also filed for a provisional patent on their technology.

Updated May 2016

Websitehttp://www.getamper.io/
CourseNUvention: Energy
Co-foundersSachin Lal (computer science), Nikhil Pai (computer science), Akshat Thirani (computer science)
More Like ThisEnergyDigitalEnvironment

There's something to be said for the crazy person that starts the thing.

Zachary JohnsonCo-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Syndio Social

Innovation is creativity that is implemented. It must influence what we do and how we experience our lives.

Elizabeth GerberAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Engineering sometimes works not by satisfying recognized needs but by creating the needs it satisfies.

Julio OttinoDean, Northwestern Engineering

Empathy is the foundation of design thinking. We want to find needs that are often unarticulated and might be different from what the data show.

Greg HolderfieldDirector, Segal Design Institute
View All Projects