Brio promises a safer, smarter power outlet

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Brio can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance

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Most of us have a number of power outlets dotted around the house, and each one is a potential hazard to inquisitive little fingers. Brio promises a safer and smarter power outlet that can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance, only turning on the juice for the latter.

Each Brio features two outlet points and fits into a wall like a standard power outlet. Brio's default state is off though, so no electricity will flow out of it unless the unit detects that an electrical device is plugged-in, and not a tiny human's fingers, a paperclip, or a fork, for example.

According to the creators, when its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance. Once the onboard microprocessor gives the OK, Brio then lets 120 V flow to the appliance.

As of writing, there's just a week remaining on the project's Kickstarter campaign. The cheapest pledge point that will, hopefully, eventually snag you one Brio is US$39, so outfitting even just the most potentially hazardous areas of a house could get relatively expensive. Though Brio is perhaps a surer bet than power outlet covers, which can often be pulled off by particularly inquisitive kids.

If all goes to plan, the Brio team estimates shipping to the US only to start in May 2015. In the future, the firm also hopes to release a second product, dubbed Brio Smart, that communicates wirelessly with sensors placed around the house and detects hazards like flood, fire, and carbon monoxide. Brio Smart would allow the user to monitor these sensors and receive any warning alerts with a mobile app.

The pitch video below shows a little more information about the device.

Sources: Brio, Kickstarter

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