WattBlocks: Like a Wooden Stake for Your Gadget Vampires

WattBlocks: Like a Wooden Stake for Your Gadget Vampires

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Taryn Williford
Feb 20, 2009

One of the easiest ways to save energy—for your planet and your wallet—is to cut power completely to those gizmos that use "standby power" even when they're turned off. Look at your DVD player. Do you see a little red light or the time shining back at you even though it's "off"? Probably yes. While the amount of energy is tiny, you are paying fractions of a penny to keep that little red light on.
Power strips are good for cutting power to a media center or desk setup all at once, but sometimes it's inconvenient to reach behind to where you've hidden all those wires just to flip that switch. Plus, what if you don't want to cut power to everything? How you you let your laptop charge while still cutting your iPod dock? Here's an idea...

You'd be surprised at the number of standby gadgets you're powering even when you're away at work or out of town.

Some examples of features that require standby power are things with internal clocks and sensors, external clock and lit displays, remote control sensors, battery re-chargers and communications with a base unit (like a portable phone).

The WattBlocks are there to help you easily and instantly cut power supply to only the gadgets you want to cut—and they don't even have to be in the same room, let alone plugged into the same strip.

The system consists of several minimally-intrusive WattBlocks, which get sandwiched between the male plugs of your power-suckers and the outlet they occupy, and a master foot-pedal-like switch that plugs into an outlet ideally located near your home's landing strip. When you come in or out, before you drop your mail and keys or check your look in the mirror, one tap to the step switch sends a signal, through your power lines, to all WattBlocks and tells them to turn your gadgets on or off.

They're an entry in the 2009 Greener Gadgets competition, so it's just a concept for now. But head on over to the entry page and put in your vote if you want to see this green idea become reality.

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