Samuel DeBruin Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Sam DeBruin Enlarge
Sam DeBruin

Computer Engineering student Samuel DeBruin has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program to pursue his graduate studies in computer science and engineering. NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are the most prestigious awards available to students beginning their graduate studies in the sciences.

As an undergraduate at Michigan, Mr. DeBruin has worked with Professor Prabal Dutta to develop the PowerCube, a cubic inch power meter, which attempts to provide a simple, straightforward way for power consumers to be informed about the power use in their home or office. The hope is that an informed user will use this information to reduce their own power usage.

The PowerCube fits into an unobtrusive cubic inch form factor and monitors power use in individual wall sockets. This information is fed into a central database where it is aggregated and displayed to the user over the Internet. The energy usage data can also be used to nudge user behavior at the point of use, for example, by adjusting the color of the PowerCube’s glow.


The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad.