U-M Press Release
November 20, 2009
by Nicole Casal Moore
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A new application for the Android smartphone shows users
and software developers how much power their applications are consuming.
PowerTutor was developed by doctoral students and professors at the
University of Michigan.
Battery-powered cell phones serve as hand-held computers and more these
days. We run power-hungry applications while we depend on the phones to be
available in emergencies.
"Today, we expect our phones to realize more and more functions, and we
also expect their batteries to last," said Lide Zhang, a doctoral student in
the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and one of the
application's developers. "PowerTutor will help make that possible."
PowerTutor will enable software developers to build more efficient
products, said Birjodh Tiwana, a doctoral student in the Department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and another of the program's
developers. Tiwana said PowerTutor will allow users to compare the power
consumption of different applications and select the leanest version that
performs the desired task. Users can also watch how their actions affect the
phone's battery life.
PowerTutor shows in real time how four different phone components use
power: the screen, the network interface, the processor, and the global
positioning system receiver.
To create the application, the researchers disassembled their phones and
installed electrical current meters. Then they determined the relationship
between the phone's internal state (how bright the screen is, for example)
and the actual power consumption. That allowed them to produce a software
model capable of estimating the power use of any program the phone is
running with less than 5 percent error.
PowerTutor can also provide a power consumption history. It is available
free at the Android Market at http://www.android.com/market/.
PowerTutor was developed under the direction of associate professor
Robert Dick and assistant professor Morley Mao, both in the Department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Lei Yang, a software
engineer at Google. The work is supported by Google and the National Science
Foundation, and was done in collaboration with the joint University of
Michigan and Northwestern University Empathic Systems Project.
Posted: November 24, 2009 by
EECS/ECE Communications Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-936-2965
Related Topics: Dick, Robert Embedded Computing and Systems Integrated Circuits and VLSI Software Systems