Powerstrips have become so cheap and widespread that people fail to notice that they usually have more devices plugged in than they are actually using. People's use of powerstrips correlates to some degree with their consumption of “vampire power.” So now the questions remain: why don't people unplug their devices? And can we design a green gadget that would make people unplug their devices when they are not in use? The answer to the first question is: people don't unplug their devices because:
1. They are lazy
2. They are too old or disabled to bend down
3. Powerstrips are often located in areas they can't access without accident (i.e. under tables, under drawers)
4. When dealing with cheap powerstrips, unplugging a device usually means that you are giving children an easy access to exposed electrical sockets; so some people find it safer to have the socket obstructed by plugged-in prongs.
Considering all these reasons, it is easy to see why we need to answer the second question: can we design a green gadget that would make people unplug their devices without having to worry about the above shortcomings of common powerstrips? The answer is yes. Eject Powerstrip is a forward-looking redesign of a powerstrip that would allow people to easily and enjoyably unplug their devices. Eject Powerstrip solves the above real life problems by adding small foot pedals to the traditional power strip. The pedals are used to unplug devices that are not being used. Using a see-saw action, stepping on the foot pedal forces the plug's prongs up and outward, releasing the plug from the strip and immediately shutting off the sockets from children. This eliminates the need to bend down in order to unplug the device or resort to yanking the cord out. The user merely presses on the pedal with his foot, a gross movement aided by body weight to eject the plug from the designated socket. While form has not been neglected in this design, the virtue of this product rests in its unique functional improvement on a very common gadget.
When designing Eject Power Strip, we had to keep in mind that the strip (just like any other power strip) could be thrown away or replaced once it is damaged. This is why polypropelene became our material of choice. The concept is based on ease of use, but mainly energy efficiency. With this design, the user is compelled to unplug his appliances. The foot pedal is a very interactive addition to a previously boring and unsatisfactory action. Not only does the pedal eject the prongs, it also secures the sockets away from children. The user does not need to worry about accidents when he unplugs an electrical cord.
As far as repair is concerned, the easy assemblage required to put together Eject Power Strip means that it could easily be repaired. In the long run, additional foot pedals could be purchased to replace damaged or worn foot pedals, hence extending the product's lifecycle.