The students with their invention
A group of seniors from the Department of Electronic Engineering at The American University in Cairo (AUC) recently unveiled their newest invention, a conceptual prototype of an automatic meter reading (AMR), a system which reads household power consumption and relays the information gathered to personal electronic devices. Under the supervision of Ayman Hassan, an adjunct in the department, the group collaborated to create the device that automatically sends accurate readings to personal electronics, including a PC or cell phone. The inventors say that this device can also be used to send the information to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy to keep track of the readings.
The members of the six-man team are enthusiastic about the potential benefits of their invention. Amr Henna believes innovations such as this one are overdue and could benefit the Egyptian economy. “After the January 25th revolution we need to catch up with the latest international electronic trends that use automated systems and have them produced in Egypt. This will reduce the market price tremendously,” he says. Ahmed Megawer, another team-member, agrees that “it is high time that we pick up with the smart systems invented worldwide. Power failures like the ones we experienced last summer could have been avoided if consumption had been monitored.” Sherif Mourad considers the potential benefit of accurate readings for cash-strapped families. “Consumers should stop guessing the numbers of their power consumption and they should be positive that they are paying money only for the consumed amounts as determined by accurate readings.”
According to Ahmed Abou-Auf, chair of the Department of Electronic Engineering, the system has further applications in that it can record power consumption in remote areas and large towers that are difficult to reach. In addition, it allows for households to monitor their energy usage independently, giving them knowledge, that, he says, can empower the families to change their consumption behavior. Abou-Auf says the students will continue to produce production prototypes, conduct additional market research, and develop a business plan. The university will provide all the labs and research material needed and facilitate funding from investors.