Technology Trending: EV charger visualisation, nano inks for energy management, top IoT appliances

Technology Trending: EV charger visualisation, nano inks for energy management, top IoT appliances
Image: Andersen EV

An augmented reality tool for home EV charger visualisation, nano inks that could be used to coat buildings and GE Appliances top ranked for the IoT market are on this week’s technology radar.

AR visualisation tool for home chargers

Thinking of installing an electric vehicle (EV) charging unit and wondering where it might fit and what it would look like? If you are in the UK and thinking of a unit from EV charging company Andersen EV, it is now possible to visualise their charging unit with an augmented reality tool on a mobile phone.

Andersen EV, claiming to become the only premium EV home charging company to provide such a tool, says it’s the first in a series of user-centric enhancements for its A2 unit in 2023.

With the A2 unit’s exterior panel available in a choice of 96 colours and multiple finishes – including four durable natural wood options – the tool should enable prospective owners to select the colour and finish to best suit their taste and to help the unit blend seamlessly with their home, whether modern or period.

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Using the camera on a mobile device, the tool first ‘scans’ the area to ascertain the correct scale and then mounts the unit in the centre of the screen for the user to manipulate as they wish.

“Our products are built for longevity and incorporate future-proof technology, and our AR feature aids an important decision about this permanent fixture to one’s home,” says David Martell, CEO of Andersen EV.

Nano inks could make buildings more energy efficient

With buildings being significant energy users, either for heating in winter or air conditioning in summer, more and more effort is being put into materials that can make building surfaces, particularly large office buildings, more energy efficient.

New research at the University of Melbourne has focused on the use of inks that use nanoparticles – nano inks – that can adjust the amount of radiation that can pass through them, based on the surrounding environment, and could be used to develop coatings for buildings that enable passive heating and cooling.

The concept requires the use of a so-called phase change material, such as vanadium oxide (VO2), that changes its phase in response to heat or electricity or another external trigger.

The printable material that has been developed as a proof-of-concept is said to be versatile and adaptable, able to be laminated, sprayed or added to paints and building materials.

As such it should be possible to apply the inks on a large scale cheaply, meaning that it could be easily retrofitted to existing structures and building materials

It could also be incorporated into clothing to regulate body temperature in extreme environments, prevent heat build-up in laptop electronics or protect car windscreens.

The next step involves taking the research, which has been patented by the University of Melbourne, to production, which should be affordable and simple.

With manufacturing interest, it’s likely to take five to 10 years to reach market, the researchers say.

GE appliances top ranked for IoT market

GE Appliances has been recognised for the fifth year in succession as ‘Smart Appliance Company of the Year’ by market intelligence organisation IoT Breakthrough.

In 2022, GE Appliances was a founding member of the Home Connectivity Alliance, whose mission is to provide consumers with a safe, secure and interoperable connected home ecosystem.

The company also has continued to introduce new products and solutions in the smart kitchen and laundry space. Among these is the first washer with built-in Alexa (the GE Profile Top Load 900 series with Alexa) with which wash cycles can be optimised for different materials, while AI cooking has been advanced with a CookCam test group cooking frozen pizzas with AI machine learning in their wall ovens in 2022.

GE Appliances also reports adding new cycles and features, as well as over two dozen software enhancements across its portfolio including integrations with Unsplash, NASA and Twitter in 2022.

Expressing appreciation for the recognition, Shawn Stover, executive director of SmartHome Solutions for GE Appliances, promised the company would continue to make significant investments and further expansion of its smart home ecosystem while also aggressively growing the smart appliance initiative “to make every appliance smart – big and small”.