The availability of energy supplies is incontestably a factor for economic development. How could we access technology, medical care, transport, etc without a power supply? When electricity outages occur, the most vulnerable sites, such as medical facilities, usually have backup generators ready to bridge the gap, or at least this is the case in developed countries. Elsewhere this is less certain. As illustrated by an example from Ghana, hospitals do not always have the financial resources to keep running a generator for a long time. In France, it can also happen that the safety system does not work as planned, as was the case recently at Saint-Mandé in the eastern suburbs of Paris.
Now a newly-founded US-based company could well be on the way to creating the ideal tool for dealing with such situations: a smart plug designed to re-route power. The basic idea is to use the remaining charge in the batteries of non-priority devices to power more vital equipment. The Intelligent Plug for Devices (IPlugD, pronounced ‘i-plugged’ ) developed by Aelios Technology, a startup founded by three PhD students at the University of Minnesota, is compatible with all medical equipment and backup power sources that might be added, switched on or switched off according to need. Furthermore, to help users, especially hospital managers, to take the right decisions in good time, Aelios also offers energy analytics and predictive fault analysis services based on real-time data that enables the young company to anticipate equipment failure and warn those in charge. And when it comes to decision-making in hospitals, this could well help to save lives.
By Sophia Qadiri