Why can't I tell Sense what's on?

It would be much better to allow the user to turn a device on and off and tell sense what it is.
For instance, I could open the fridge and wait for it to turn on, then tell sense that it was the fridge.
Same for stove, AC, and all appliances. Then there would be no guessing on your part.

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@jimpfree, that’s sounds easy and intuitive. Unfortunately, that’s not how humans or machines learn. Babies learn spoken language (very similar to what Sense is learning) by hearing lots and lots of speech, under a variety of conditions, not by hearing a single word one time.

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@kevin1, This is true.
However, we also teach our Babies how to do things :wink:
As for me, I would like the option to tell it what is on and off rather than waiting months and months for it to learn. IMHO, me telling it what is on and off, would help them tune their algorithm to detect things.

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You can’t jump-start low level learning. Human and computer brains have to learn how to process the language just by listening, before they ever begin to associate patterns with words. You can’t just throw a single word at a baby one time and have them learn it without thousands and thousands of hours of listening. Maybe some day we’ll be able to do what is called “transfer learning” in Sense-land. But not yet - it has to listen to your house for a long period.

Brain activation patterns in 7-month-olds and 11-month-olds indicate that babies’ brains are hard at work on speech perception and speech movements long before the little munchkins say their first word.

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Unless you had a CT on literally every circuit in your breaker box, this wouldn’t work.

You need a pattern for sense to detect the source.

Many things might raise your wattage 3 watts (what you might expect if you have led lighting in your fridge). Sense needs to know where that 3 watts came from. As the CT are only on the 2 main phases, it could come from anywhere in your house.

Even with a CT on every circuit, a kitchen breaker usually has other outlets/appliances on it. Who’s to say that 3 watts didn’t come from the toaster?

And even then, there are multiple parts to the Fridge. Sense has detected the every 3 hour defrost on my fridge. It has not detected the actual compressor. Nor has it detected the led lights when I open my fridge door. So while you might have identified the light, you still haven’t identified the defrost or led in the fridge. A Smartplug is literally the only way you will get an accurate reading.

Likewise, I have an older fridge in the garage. Sense did detect it. Right now Sense says it’s off. Well, the Compressor is off, but I still see a lit led on front so it’s really not off. In fact, when I open the door, the incandescent light turns on, yet Sense says the fridge is still off. All the while, my total wattage is up around 40 watts until I close the door. So much for using a light in a fridge to help Sense out. I should actually add a Smartplug to this unit as well.

It doesn’t need to identify blood. Not even blood type. It literally needs to identify DNA from the blood.

Even if I had a CT on every circuit it still would not help a whole lot. There can be many things that pug into a circuit. Lights, humidifiers, toasters and so on.

If sense can figure out some things on its own, how much faster would it be if I helped it.
I.E. Turn on my vacuum, sense would see the current rise for that device and then I could name it. Like wise with the microwave and so on. Sense seems focused on the learning part of it. Whereas I am focused on getting it to show the things I have on in the house, and bypass the long learning timeframe.

As described above, that won’t work for the reasons already stated.

If the vacuum fingerprint is no different than the blender, Sense cannot tell which is which.

I spoke with someone with a Sense this weekend and the unit has only detected 3 items in a year. I guess I’m lucky I’ve gotten 4 in a month.

That’s what they are saying But It’s just an excuse. If sense can learn things by patterns. Then me telling it what it is would be no different.

The odds that something would have the same “fingerprint” is very, very remote.
Besides, I am on interested in the big items. Hot water tank, Electric stove, Electric dryer.
There IS no reason they cannot implement this feature.

You are detecting and teaching Sense Blood Type

Sense needs DNA.

Bottom line. Learn what it Sense can and cannot do. Then make your decision if it’s worth it for you.


First off, Sense traditional detections look at short on and off signatures, not full waveform signatures. Second, the fingerprint is not a time domain waveform of the transitions, but likely 20 or so parameters extracted from on/off transitions (power change, phase change, transition rate, etc for each leg). Since the parameters are extracted from transitions with lots of background noise mixed in, there is going to be a fair amount of variability in these parameters. So any notion of an “exact fingerprint” is incorrect.

Even when “exact” ground truth comes from a smart plug there is a major mismatch - the smart plug data resolution is every two seconds vs nearly a million samples per second from the Sense monitor, so the smart plug data can’t be used to generate a reference signature, only to provide feedback for training.


As other’s have stated, we’ve thought long and hard about this approach. While it might seem intuitive for you to do so in your home, this idea does not work at scale. There are at least 3 companies that tried a “manual detection” approach in the last 10 years that are no longer in business.


Wrong. My toaster oven and dishwasher both have 1,300w resistive heat elements. This isn’t theory, I own both and see both. It’s fact.

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I would even venture to say that this is something we see more often then some might expect :slight_smile: .

There is a difference between your your dishwasher, and toaster oven. The toaster oven will be a constant 1300w, your dishwasher will not. There will be times in your dishwasher cycle where it does different things like drain, filling, washing, and heat to dry.

Forget I even asked the question at this point. All I know is that I have had my Sense unit for over 9 years now. Its been in 3 different homes. Even after all these years of it learning from other Sense units around the globe it is still is unable to learn the difference between my hot water tank, stove or dryer. This is why I said, its time to add another option for people to turn things on/off manually to tell it what they are. For those that dont like that feature then dont use it. For myself, I would like to see it, and not have to wait months and months for it to guess what it thinks it is, and be wrong most of the time.

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And even these are variable, with appliances like Dishwashers and Washing Machines having a variety of different “modes” that utilize each of these different components or functions for different durations at different points in a cycle. I think the point that some folks are trying to convey is that it’s never as cut and dry as it seems, and we’re pursuing more integration-focused solutions here than manual detection from users.

We are looking into different methodologies to present data, as mentioned in this video. Progressive Device Detection is something that we’re all looking forward to, but it’s very different from “turn this ON, tell Sense it’s my X”. We get this question a fair amount, and it’s just not something that we’re definitively not pursuing due to all of the implications this has at scale. It’s unfortunately not as simple as releasing a parallel Sense experience for users that want to “turn things on” and tell Sense what it is.

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@jimpfree, 9 years - you’re a veteran ! Nice to meet a truly historic user…

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What’s the definition of insanity?

Doing the same thing for 9 years and expecting a different result.

You’d think someone would understand the hows and whys of Sense detection after 3,285 days and why what user wants simply will not work.

I got it the first time I asked and I’m far from the brightest mind on forum.