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Sony Power

Sony Outlets Control Electricity Through Authentication 284

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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  • Power piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ] ['myt' in gap]> on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:14PM (#39038281) Homepage Journal

        Perfect. Steal some outlets (carefully) from a hotel, and put them at the house. It'll be a whole new world of piracy. Wait til they start getting cloned. I'd bet the power company may have a huge bill for their own offices.

  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:18PM (#39038339) Homepage Journal

    In the current environment, the next thing you know, this would be MANDATED, so the state could disable your computer by requiring its registration. PASS.

  • by jedwidz ( 1399015 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:29PM (#39038493)

    Apart from better metering, I like the potential for improved safety that could come with redesigning outlets, if it means that:

    • A toddler can't stick metal objects in the socket and get electrocuted.
    • Power doesn't come on if it's at risk of overloading the circuit (i.e. maximum required current is negotiated against what's available).
    • Power doesn't come on if it's at the wrong voltage or frequency.
    • Power doesn't come on if the device requires grounding or surge/spike protection that isn't present.

    Also a good opportunity to get an international standard outlet (please, not the parallel pins), and a chance to look at DC from the socket. And maybe put an end to ground loops while we're at it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:30PM (#39038511)

    Speaking as an electrician, I cannot imagine this ever becoming widespread. The ability to control power to and from each socket has existed for years. The reason we don't use it is mostly cost (each outlet needs a dedicated line back to a relay bank or a PLC).

    This new system is a little different in how it works, but cost is still going to be a huge factor involved, as well as practicallity. Most outlet boxes i've seen don't have the space to put in a GFCI let alone something as complicated as this.

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @06:38PM (#39038579) Journal

    The medieval lord performed a service to the serf - protecting him against bandits and other lords. The church performed a service for the serf: they tended to his soul and also kept records and such. The bottom line, though, was that getting enough to eat was a struggle. The lord and church were fully conscious that there were more serfs than they. While their guards were better armed, it was a matter of degree rather than a huge difference. A sword might be a better arm than a farm implement, but both can kill you. 100 men armed with farm implements are going to fare rather well against 10 who have good arms. Therefore, things were kept reasonable by fear of insurrection.

    The technocrats and corporate overlords of today need to rediscover this fear.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @07:02PM (#39038767) Homepage Journal
    I'm trying to see if I can come up with a reason why anyone would possible want tracking like this?!?!?

    I mean, I already pay for my electricity usage...per kilowatt hour...why would I need to let the power company drill down to see what specific fucking amounts my appliances or computers is using?

    Is this going to be one of those things that you might get a few cents off your rate if you let them nose into what your running, similar to that spy device that Progressing insurance is having their customers put in their car to 'monitor their driving habits'?

    Seriously, what even remotely intelligent consumer out there wants this shit?

  • by JeanCroix ( 99825 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @07:42PM (#39039253) Journal
    Maybe not hotel rooms, but I could certainly see them deploying these in airport terminals and coffee shops to eke a few extra bucks out of people desperate to recharge their gadgets.
  • Re:Power piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @08:33PM (#39039725) Homepage Journal

    Correct. For hotels, this is more likely going to make them able to charge for "extra power usage". If you use the lamps, TV, coffee maker and clock radio, they'll have plugs that identify them, so no extra charge. But if you plug in your laptop, they'll bill you for the extra usage at astronomical rates, like they do for phone calls.

    Of course, I always have crocodile clips in my computer bag. If nothing else to get POTS dialup from third rate hotels. However, they can just as easily be used on electric cords. There even are outlets that can be screwed into lamp sockets, so I think this will be about as successful as the last time it was tried by hotels, with a meter in the wall socket itself. Didn't work then, won't work now. At best, some customers will say fuck it and choose a different hotel, and a manager will get a bonus before he gets fired, and the hotels will declare the experiment a success before abandoning it. I.e. your typical flop.

    The only practical application I can think of is to prevent children from watching TV or playing games by deauthorizing the plug at certain hours. But even then, children as resourceful and will find ways around it. Doing actual parenting has a greater chance of success.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter