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Brio promises a safer, smarter power outlet

Brio promises a safer, smarter...
Brio can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance
Brio can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance
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Brio's default state is off, so there's no current flowing into it unless the unit detects that an electrical device is plugged in
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Brio's default state is off, so there's no current flowing into it unless the unit detects that an electrical device is plugged in
When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance
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When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance
At about $40 each on Kickstarter, outfitting even just the most potentially hazardous areas of a house could get relatively expensive
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At about $40 each on Kickstarter, outfitting even just the most potentially hazardous areas of a house could get relatively expensive
Once the onboard microprocessor confirms a valid plug is connected, Brio lets 120 V flow to the appliance
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Once the onboard microprocessor confirms a valid plug is connected, Brio lets 120 V flow to the appliance
Brio sports an integrated microprocessor and embedded sensor that only switches the power outlet on once the right level of resistance is measured
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Brio sports an integrated microprocessor and embedded sensor that only switches the power outlet on once the right level of resistance is measured
Brio can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance
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Brio can tell the difference between a kid's fingers and an electrical appliance
When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance
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When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance
View gallery - 7 images

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.

When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance
When its embedded sensor detects a valid plug, Brio enters a 24 V sensing mode to look for the correct level of resistance

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

View gallery - 7 images
8 comments
Wolf0579
Or, you could spend $1.00 for a small tube of locktite, and put a drop on all the screws keeping your wallplates in place, and perhaps 5 cents ea. for plastic plug inserts you could then tape into place so those little fingers couldn't get into the outlet. Then, wait for the price to come down to a sensible level before buying the fancy outlet for your kids' kids.
Rogan
SafePlug has been doing this for years. A normally-off, child-proof safety outlet. It's sold on Amazon. I think someone even gave a TEDTalk on this technology some years ago. Brio might want to do a patent search before wasting too much time and $$.
VadimR
Or you can buy this guardian angel outlet for roughly the same price with much easier installation: http://guardianangelsafety.com/
aquaman
Kids fingers don't fit in the actual plug slots, they mostly put in paper clips, toys or metal objects that shock them. This doesn't seem thought through, or these designers don't have kids...
John Beaman
They now have electrical outlets with shutters that are closed when unused, and they will only open if both prongs of a power cord are inserted at the same time. Not as fancy as the Brio, but significantly cheaper.
Daishi
I am sort of waiting on "smart" outlets and surge protectors instead of carrying a kill-a-watt around trying to measure usage at a bunch of different points. If I am going to wholesale replace outlets with something like this they might as well have a built in method to monitor usage.
ie. My power usage climbed and I have no easy way to determine what is drawing the additional power. With smart outlets I could throw all of my outlets into a pie chart.
I remember when I figured out our first gen X-box was drawing over 300 watts the entire time it was on even when it was idle.
Derek Howe
HAHAHA, 50 buck PER outlet, what a joke.
Like John Beoman said, tamperproof outlets is what is currently installed in homes...it's been code since 2008. So a kid can't get shocked by sticking something metal into one side of the outlet.
Daishi had a good idea, it would be pretty cool to have a pie chart to see how much juice each outlet has flowing through it.
Readout Noise
> "tamperproof outlets is what is currently installed in homes...it's been code since 2008".
Since 1947 (!), the BS 1363 standard socket design used in the UK & Ireland has this protection automatically built in: "To ensure the safety of young children it is of considerable importance that the contacts of the socket-outlet should be protected by shutters"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets_-_British_and_related_types#BS_1363_three-pin_.28rectangular.29_plugs_and_sockets
But well done USA, on only taking 60 years to catch up with best practice elsewhere in the world.