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Sony Power

Sony Outlets Control Electricity Through Authentication 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the papers-please dept.
itwbennett writes "Sony on Tuesday demonstrated new 'smart sockets' that 'perform authentication whenever a device is plugged in,' said Taro Tadano, a general manager in Sony's technology development division. The company also demoed a home power grid that tracks electricity use by time and appliance." This has led to speculation that the technology will be used in some places to charge consumers for the use of electricity.
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Sony Outlets Control Electricity Through Authentication

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  • by thomasdz (178114) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:15PM (#39038291)

    I don't see any risks in this whatsoever, no siree bob, this plan is completely flawless....

    NOT!

  • Re:Power piracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:18PM (#39038345)

    Yeah, because nobody will think of correlating where the outlet IS versus where the drain is coming from.

    Your plan requires the people to be incredibly stupid. A not unreasonable belief, but it strains some credulity.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:19PM (#39038367) Homepage Journal

    So that people can be charged for use of public restrooms depending on the excrement mass they release.

    what the hell. lets just put it in streetspeak :

    for charging people per ounce of shit. .............

    there is no end to 'charging' in capitalism. everything is privatized so nothing will remain public, and then everything is charged so that some who control the means can make even more money.

    its to the imbalance of 85% of population getting 15% of everything to 5% top of population getting 72% of everything in u.s. now.

    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html [ucsc.edu]

    reduction of 'public' and increase of 'private' will just tip it more and more towards the ......... well not medieval serfdom, for sure. medieval serfs got 33% of all produce from the land by law. whereas lord got 33%. church the rest 33%. no medieval lord could dream of getting 72% like top 5% americans did, and no medieval serf would accept less than 33%. but americans, do.

  • Other uses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveha (103154) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:26PM (#39038459) Homepage

    You might have a web page where you can pull up your current electricity consumption and break it down by appliance. You might find a new refrigerator would pay for itself, or maybe that your old refrigerator is doing okay; either way you won't have to guess.

    Also, I wonder if we will ever see "smart" plugs where the appliance negotiates with the socket for desired voltage and amperage. Instead of having a power brick that converts AC to 5 Volts, just have the smart plug request 5 Volts. I think not, actually, because you don't want transformers in every wall socket and DC is not efficient over longer distances (unless it's ultra-high-voltage).

    Also, "smart" plugs would have a safety advantage: if a little kid sticks a butter knife into the socket, the knife wouldn't request any voltage.

    But "smart" plugs are also just one more thing to break.

    Given the emerging standard for small electronic devices to run on 5 Volts and use a micro-USB socket for charging, I do wonder if power-only USB sockets will become common on electrical outlets. You can already buy [fastmac.com] wall fixtures with power-only USB sockets, and some cars have USB sockets available for charging phones and GPS sat-nav boxes.

    steveha

  • by PhxBlue (562201) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:40PM (#39038597) Homepage Journal

    Coming next, Sony demos batteries that charge you by the volt.

    Well, at least then the price would stay fixed, because the voltage doesn't change.

  • by iamhassi (659463) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:42PM (#39038615) Journal
    I don't even understand why a company would bother. Electricity is what, about 8 cents a kw? So powering a 1000w microwave for an entire hour is only 8 cents. Laptop for an hour would probably be less than 1 cent, so why would you put in an expensive outlet when you could just let people charge their devices for a penny?

    If they're worried about people stealing electricity then install locking electrical boxes that fit over the outlets. [lectralock.com]

    Also... I'm not sure how this Sony outlet would work.
    "a new power outlet that can identify who is connecting to it, and therefore allows for an individual to be charged for use. The key to the intelligent outlet is the inclusion of an integrated circuit which communicates over the power line connection. It can check the identity of the device, and therefore the owner of that device before deciding what to do. "

    Ok it communicates... with what, exactly? It's copper wire, going into a battery... what's it talking to? It's not ethernet, it's not hacking into my iphone or laptop or whatever, how is it checking the "identity of the device", unless I own a special "smart" power cord that can communicate back.....

    Ah, I understand, article is BS

    There's no "magic" integrated circuit that can automatically just read anything plugged in and pass on your credit card number, according to Sony you must have a special smart AC charger to communicate with the outlet. [google.com]

    And how many people are going to buy these special smart AC chargers? No one. So how many outlets like this will there be? Zero. Whole idea is a bust. Add this to the long list of failed proprietary Sony formats like MemoryStick, UMD, DAT, Minidisc and ATRAC Audio Compression. [fastcompany.com]
  • by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @05:57PM (#39038725)

    Risks are one thing, but actual use case is even more basic.

    Is there any rationale to bill you for the power you use in a hotel room? Seriously?
    Paying today's hotel rates (not high end, just quality chains), I already pay them exorbitant rates for next to no service, zero security, and retched restaurants.

    Now they are going to charge me to plug in a phone, and a computer? Given the dearth of outlets in your typical hotel room I can't see how you can use enough electricity to make it matter. Are people checking in with a Toaster Oven under each arm these days?

    Now if they were electrifying their parking lots and wanted you to pay for charging all of those millions of electric cars that people travel with (snort), I could see it. But the linked article shows standard* room outlets, not parking lot outlets. (* Standard in some juristictions, I suppose. Not a ground prong to be seen. )

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:09PM (#39038873) Homepage Journal

    I'm trying to see if I can come up with a reason why anyone would possible want tracking like this?!?!?

    So that users can plug in their electric vehicles (from bicycles on up) while they're at work, or shopping, or whatever. Wow, that was hard to imagine.

  • Re:Other uses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:42PM (#39039247) Journal
    You might have a web page where you can pull up your current electricity consumption and break it down by appliance. You might find a new refrigerator would pay for itself, or maybe that your old refrigerator is doing okay; either way you won't have to guess.

    Posting this on a den-o'-geeks, you preach to the choir about the perks of a totally "smart" grid.

    Most of us have no problem with envisioning the upsides. We have a problem with the massive downsides, however - Loss of privacy (search for "DEA electric bill"), loss of control over what I choose to use in my own home, loss of privacy (do you want your "personal massager" to report its usage?), the massively increased number of points of failure, loss of privacy ("So Mr. Smith, your wife would like you to explain to the court why your secretary charged her phone from an outlet in your bedroom 18 times over the past three months"), the possibility of hackers, etc.

    I want an internal (to my house) pure-smart-grid with per-device consumption tracking and control. And I want my electric company to have absolutely zero visibility or control to any of that. My electric company, OTOH, wants the exact opposite - To make me pay to upgrade to their control-fetishists dream, while making me pay pay pay for even the most basic stats about my own goddamned use.

    Fark 'em all. I'll pay 10x as much to go off-grid before I let anyone tell me how much of a resource I pay for I have permission to use at any given time.
  • *Facepalm* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lightknight (213164) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @07:00PM (#39039427) Homepage

    *Facepalms*...*Facepalms more*...I really need to know who thought that this was a good idea. Seriously, you have an incredibly large corporation with a fairly ridiculous amount of resources, and instead of investing time and research looking for a better 3D TV (one without glasses) or trying to move in on the data storage market by inventing a more capable SSD / HD, you come up with an electrical outlet that charges people for their usage of electricity? From a small-brained, shake-the-customer-down-like-he's-having-a-seizure for petty cash, perspective, that's positively brilliant! People will begin installing them everywhere (streets, the wilderness, who cares?), to try and get on the "energy outlet rent" train to easy street! And it's going to be awesome for the United States and select portions of Europe currently undergoing an energy crisis -> I'm sure their populaces will greet this idea with open arms and banners proclaiming the sheer glory of not only paying out the ass for oil & being on the hook (taxpayer-wise) for various failed green-power initiatives, but also for being nickle-and-dimed when they use their hotel room's outlets to charge their laptops. They should go right ahead, and install these kinds of outlets in public places, with set rates and what not, not unlike the private ATM machine craze that swept the nation a few years ago.

    And why not charge people for the toilet paper they use as well? You could install toilet paper dispensers in the restrooms, right next to the toilets, and charge people a quarter / square (why not also put a slot for a credit card on there, right? Minimum charge $2.00). Think of all the money that could be made! And let's be honest, it's not like someone's going to get up and leave without wiping their ass! You've got the marketplace cornered! Bonuses for everyone!

    It's like rubbing salt into someone's wounds. Might as well bring up a family death during a birthday party. It's odd, but I remember a time when Sony would actually create products that didn't leave the populace cowering in terror.
       

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