LONDON Microcontroller company Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.) has announced the result of a partnership with software giant Google Inc. to produce a reference implementation of the Google PowerMeter application programming interface.
PowerMeter is free software that displays details of home energy consumption received from either a smartmeter or another electricity monitoring device. Microchip has produced the first reference implementation of the Google PowerMeter API, which is key to producing compatible electricity-monitor circuits for inclusion in energy-consuming devices.
Google PowerMeter allows consumers to view their energy consumption from their iGoogle personalized homepage. However, to be effective it needs to be fed with data collected from energy-consuming devices. The more fine-grained the data that is collected the more detailed the picture that PowerMeter provides. The open-source, standards-based Google PowerMeter API allows device manufacturers to build energy-monitoring products that work with Google PowerMeter.
By developing the reference implementation of the API Microchip now supports designers trying to create Google-compatible products for the measurement and monitoring of energy usage with 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, energy-measurement ICs, Ethernet controller ICs, and radios for ZigBee and embedded Wi-Fi wireless networking.
Microchip's reference implementation of the API demonstrates an energy-monitoring device's activation, wired or wireless data transmission and status messages, providing a template for developers' own designs. Additionally, Microchip offers one-stop-shopping for all of the semiconductors and development tools needed to build a Google PowerMeter device.
"Google is helping to foster an ecosystem of devices and utilities that will provide consumers with access to their energy information, and we're excited to be working with Microchip, a strategic partner in enabling consumer devices," said Ed Lu, Google PowerMeter program manager for advanced projects, in a statement issued by Microchip. "Microchip's Reference Implementation of the Google PowerMeter API will make it much easier to create products that are compatible with Google PowerMeter."
Microchip's free reference implementation code could be downloaded from www.microchip.com/get/PLC4 when this story was first posted.
Google has said that PowerMeter project is part of Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, and the focus is on helping users understand how they use electricity and help them use less.
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