Smart Switch: Another Light Switch Incarnation

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Imagine a light switch that gives you feedback when you flip it on – providing some resistance to your mindless flick as you walk into a room.  I could see another great idea being a smart-alec refrigerator that makes sarcastic comments when you go looking for that ham sandwich in the middle of the night, too.

The Smart Switch doesn’t prevent you from turning on a light, it just gives some resistance to your action during times when peak energy consumption is happening in your home.  An interesting idea – it’s geared to making you more aware of your actions with respect to energy consumption.

From the Greener Gadgets Competition page:

SmartSwitch doesn’t restrict the user from turning on a light, but rather it passively encourages behavior change. SmartSwitches can be programmed to respond to either personal or communal electrical usage. In a home wired with SmartSwitches, lights can become harder to turn on during hours of peak demand. The switches can also be customized to reflect household-specific energy conservation goals.

The two Stanford students who developed this idea, Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich, commented on its usage at PSFK:

It’s important to note that the SmartSwitch doesn’t restrict you from turning on a light. Rather, mindless habits like flipping on a light when it’s not really needed are slightly disrupted — hence why we consider it to be a “nudge”. It helps you to make an informed decision, while not telling you what to do. We also believe that the key to stimulating behavior change is to change the context in which a person looks at energy. The SmartSwitch does this by connecting together multiple users — across a building, a neighborhood, or even a town or a state. By changing the notion of electrical power from private ownership to shared responsibility, you feel part of a larger cause.

We believe that providing in-the-moment feedback will help you make smarter decisions around your energy usage. The smarter the users, the smarter the grid.

If you like this idea, vote for it!  The competition closes on February 27, so don’t waste time!

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Thanks, PSFK, Nudge, and Core77!