Carbon Coop set the challenge for Hack Manchester 2017

by Blog

This year Carbon Carbon has been invited to set two challenges to Manchester Science Festival’s annual HackManchester competition, starting on Monday 23rd October.

The event will see groups of adults take on a series of beat the clock coding challenges as set by partner organisations. You can read more about the competition on Hack100 website.

For our challenge we’re asking players to come up with a home energy monitor that for those that can’t access the usual home displays. Take a look at our full challenge description below for more details.

The judging of our challenge will be done by Carbon Coop co-founder and technical developer Matt Fawcett.

Matt leads on technical projects for Carbon Coop including our Community Green Deal and Green Shift projects. Take a look at the projects section of our website to get a better idea of the things that we work on.

We wish all the players in this competition luck and look forward to meeting them at HackManchester 2017.

Our challenge

As part of our service offering we provide energy monitors for homes, typically with web and mobile user interfaces. Alternatively, an in home display (IHD) can be provided which presents pertinent information on a small display.

Whilst web, mobile, and display interfaces are cheap, adaptable, and convenient for many users, they are not always suitable for those without access to or experience of such devices or those who are visually impaired.

Research into energy monitor user interface design also suggests that users prefer information to be simply presented in terms or formats they understand, such as the cost of energy used or as a speedometer (as found in a car) showing the amount used as a proportion of average daily usage.

Additionally, in the future users will be provided with information about when local micro-generation (such as PV panels and wind turbines) is available so that they can make use of this potentially lower cost electricity.

The task is to create an energy monitor which would be suitable for a visually impaired user. This hardware device or application would need to communicate key information to the user about their current and historical energy use and the availability of electricity from local micro-generation.

You will be provided with an example real household data set for a year including demand and PV generation which you can use to simulate the operation of your energy monitor.

Challenge data is available for download.