Designed by Monash University industrial design degree graduate, David Woon, the Vestige system is designed for personal or home use, with RFID tags only responding to a single frequency or as a shared communication where messages can be sent to a group – for example, all members of a family. 

Vestige utilises Radio Frequency Identification technology to alert and remind users of the status of appliances in a home or a specified area. The Vestige can be programmed by a user to inform them, for instance, if an iron is left on or if the heater has not been turned off.

The RFID tags detect electrical current running through an appliance and relay the information back to the device.

The Vestige system is made up of three parts – a Tag Printer, a Scanner and a Central Hub docking station.

The RFID Tag Printer, prints RFID tags onto household electrical appliances, by utilising ink embedded with carbon nanotubes used for the printing of thin film transistors.

The tags contain an antenna, electrodes and transistors. The RFID tags pick up the electrical current in an appliance and send the user a signal to tell them that an appliance has been left on – and may be a safety risk.

The tags are smart enough to gather information about the resting states of devices and can learn to know the differences between a resting state and when an appliance has been left on and might cause a problem.

The tags contain a capacitor that is charged when Alternating Current (AC) power runs through a device; the tag’s capacitor stores this power, avoiding the need for a battery in the tag.

The RFID Scanner is a wearable device in the form of a watch. This component detects the radio frequencies that the RFID Tags send out, alerting the user of the status of an appliance.

The Central Hub or docking port recharges the RFID reader and the tag printer.

Woon says there are broader applications for the product, where a Vestige system could be installed in homes and linked to a centralised system to notify emergency services of fire, or other dangers, that require emergency service assistance.

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