Smart Apartment Communities

I am getting a new apartment and am going to move-in in October!  This time it is a fancy one, not a basement of a house, but well it is still technically in a basement (subterranean as the apartment office calls it).  It is fancy in that it is part of an apartment complex.  The best part though is that I will be moving in there with my then to be wife, Leslie :).

So, last night Leslie was on her amazon because she was checking the shipping order for one of her friends wedding gift.  I was watching and she accidentally scrolled down too far and I saw what she got me for my Birthday!  She got me a Raspberry Pi 3!  So, it is a bit early for my birthday, but I don’t care.  I’m getting a raspberry pi!!!

This got me thinking of multiple ideas of what to do with it…  From making the whole kitchen into a smart kitchen.  Where we have smart outlets, automatic faucets, lights that turn on when you walk in or off when you leave, and automatic alarms that go off if the oven has been on for longer than you set it for, sound system controller, humidity regulator (since a basement probably will need a dehumidifier), temperature controller. dishwasher monitor, voice controlled kitchen timers…. I mean the list just goes on and on and on!

This got me thinking that apartment complexes would be the ideal candidate to start renovating for smart living spaces!  Essentially a smart community.  They could operate on there own smart/micro grid, have there own micro water plant (because why don’t we operate water and sewer like the micro-grid?  I mean that way the entire water system is not so easily polluted by a single source.  Also, that means a more exact amount of water is able to be cleaned etc.  idk but seems like a cool idea right?), also there would be solar panels installed on all the roofs (or at least those that make sense).  Then they could also renovate the apartments themselves.  Of course the more you pay the more the automation and the higher end the appliances etc are.  Of course you would want the smart house to be easily able to integrate the apartment resident’s devices and personal augmentation.  That way they could add more automation themselves if they desire.

So, that is a lot up front.  But, if the complexes start offering for a significant rent increase the basic smart house, they could start to increase there revenue and start to renovate the communities and start to make there company stand out.  Eventually they would have the dream of my last paragraph.  Of course if they are building a new community they might consider doing this from the start.

So, that was a fun idea I had.  I think that this would be a fun business to get into.  Contracting with apartment companies to renovate their apartment communities.


Bounty Electricity

What if each appliance posted a bounty for providing in real time the amount of electricity it needed to function.  The bounty would first be attempted by the house itself and if the house did not have any spare electricity in its batteries then it would post a bounty out for that electricity.  The first to supply the needed electricity would win the bounty.  Would not limit it to only the power stations supplying the electricity.  Could be houses nearby that could provide the electricity.  By using a bounty hunting system and using a first to supply mechanism or something similar it would be essentially like the cloud robotics except instead of putting a bounty out for the servo positions we are putting a bounty out to receive electricity!

Power grid for shipping containers

Shocks in shipping containers that would charge batteries that would allow for gps tracking of all of the containers.  Also, when stacked they could essentially distribute the electricity.  Harvesting the energy from the force of tons of pressure would be interesting.  Also, they could be very safe batteries!! You could use Lightsail storage.  Then it would be also be eco-friendly as well.  This would be pretty cool.

The gps would then allow for more effiecient logistics which would make the cost of new containers non-existent.  At first not every container would even need to have the system installed.

Main concern is the weight of the lightsail system may be prohibitive…  Also, if you want GPS units that always are on and not intermitant when ever you have the juice, we might need a better storage system…

Scratch that, right on their website the system claims to be able to be placed in a shipping container form.  This makes me think that if you buy a few of these to generate the electricity for the rest of the system and then use relays to distribute the electricity when stacked then it would be perfect.  Then each container would only require a simple battery that has properties that would make it work in such a system for a very long time with being able to charge and discharge at will.  The great part is that the compression of the air will be done by moving the containers.

Microgrid thoughts

There are numereous hurdles to get through before we start seeing microgrid electricity economies.

The first which has already been dealt with by is a microgrid simulator that simulates and suggests solutions to the first problem of determining number and type of alternative energy resources are needed for an area.

Then we need to be able to optimize the use of the resources.  This could be framed as an integer optimization problem, however the system is highly dynamic.  Accordingly, a more suitable although not optimal solution would be to use multiagent learning.

If multiagent systems or integer programming can produce a stable result, then the main problem is actually getting the macrogrid companies to start to create them. above adapted from the link.

Automatic feature selection for Horde

I think that fractal clustering could be used to cluster data streams of electricity data.

What about distributed clustering algorithms?  So, we have massive data streams from different parts of the grid coming in to their respective hubs.  How do you make sense of the whole?  I think fractal clustering would work here.  I believe that the data would be self-similar enough to warrant such an algorithm.

Using the Fractal Dimension to Cluster Datasets 

Fast Feature Selection using Fractal Dimension (another interesting paper).  This one made think that maybe it would be possible for Horde to automatically select the correct features to be using to make its decisions on.  This would be extremely useful, however highly unlikely that it would work with the few examples it is currently classifying on.  I think that in order for automatic feature selection it would need a live stream of the features and “spike” the features on transitions between behaviors.  I would then be able to continue doing horde as normal but would base my decision tree off of the new feature set.

Would this also be useful in creating the hierarchies?  I think so.  I will have to think a bit more about this aspect.

Smart grid

I am starting to think that my application area for MAL will be in smart grid tech.  I was talking to Stephen (PhD student that works at the NRL) and he suggested Navy ships and subs as a possible place to look into.  So, I looked it up and they do seem to already use smart grid tech.  Which makes sense since they are already using nuclear power to run the ships.  I then thought of mobile smartgrids/microgrids for the army.  I found that back in 2012 they were starting testing this sort of tech.

My main interests are on the large scale like a city.  If we consider each house an agent and we have a hierarchy of agents (proposed by Kevin so that we don’t have to deal with privacy concerns) then each agent has objectives, actuators, sensors and can communicate.  Kevin’s project involves creating the sensor network that will feed the sensor data to a central location.  This location will be the agent that makes decisions based off of that data and communication with other agents.  I am interested in the problem of the agents learning to work together cooperatively to achieve their objectives.

My plan would be to find/develop a simulator that simulates the rest of the smart grid and will have one of the houses linked to real sensors that Kevin has out.

Also, my company Procyon R&D may get a subcontract with developing the software for the control of the battery storage devices that will be installed in Hawaii’s smart grid project.  (  I will need to become familiar with the simulation tool for smart grids and maybe use this as the interface into Kevin’s sensor network.  Unfortunately, that tool is written in Delphi XE2 and pascal.  I found which is in Java that is 2 years old but I might still use instead since that is probably the last time epri released anything new.  Otherwise it seems the recommended way is to use Matlab. possibly helpful website.