Greener Gadgets
SmartSwitch Peter Russo & Brendan Wypich, Stanford University 2009 (United States)  29 Comments
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Comments

1.Feb 2nd, 2009Aaron

pair this with a greenbox? http://getgreenbox.com/

2.Feb 2nd, 2009Joe Mellin

Looks like a cool haptics system!

3.Feb 2nd, 2009Lori B.

Great idea! Flipping on light switches becomes so second nature that sometimes I turn on lights in rooms that are more than adequately lit by the sun. Having a responsive light switch that makes one think about switching on the ligh would really ma

4.Feb 3rd, 2009Leah K.

What is the energy use for having the detection system on all of the time as compared to just a regular passive light switch that really is OFF when it's off? Thanks. Cool project.

5.Feb 3rd, 2009Capra J'neva

Now, if you could only make something that would prevent you from leaving the room without turning the switch off!!! I guess if I entered the next room and it wouldn't let me turn on the light until I'd turned the last one off, I'd learn really quickly. I love this, good luck!

6.Feb 3rd, 2009Ricardo

I like how your system can change/influence people's every-day behavior. That's where energy conservation and efficiency starts. great project!

7.Feb 3rd, 2009Scott Sullivan

It's a good concept for this type of contest, but a bit Rube Goldberg in execution and, unless I'm missing something, not very practical or likely effective in use. It's my understanding that I'm supposed to replace every switch in my house with this expensive version so I'll feel guilty when I need light at home? What if the grid is using a lot, but I only want one light on in my house - will this give me tactile guilt and a headache as I try to read in the dim light that my green conscie

8.Feb 4th, 2009Sally Mentzer

Excellent idea...Do you have a sense what the cost will be?

9.Feb 4th, 2009Diana

Have you thought about adding a LED or something that signals when electricity use is high? I'm just thinking about how to extend this feedback to when the lights are already on - and try to encourage someone to turn them off. Something blinking maybe?

10.Feb 4th, 2009Adrian

Love it! Would be interesting to have a display showing $ spent / day or / week etc on electricity alongside the switch.

11.Feb 5th, 2009Peter Russo

Leah K.: The quiescent power consumption of the switch is around 50mW -- 1200 times less than a 60W incandescent bulb, and 300 times less than a 15W CFL bulb. If the switch encouraged a user to keep a 60W bulb turned off for just one hour per month, there would be a net positive benefit. We are also exploring alternative mechanisms to the servo motor that would consume substantially less power. thanks, -Peter

12.Feb 5th, 2009Peter Russo

Sally M.: To build the prototypes, we added $25-$30 of additional parts to the base cost of each dimmer switch. In quantity, however, and with a different mechanism (such as a solenoid actuator instead of a servo), we believe we could get that number down to a few dollars. thanks, -Peter

13.Feb 5th, 2009Will Chellam

I dont think this will work, If my kitchen is dark, I'm going to need to switch on a light to make a cup of tea, regardless of how difficult it is to flick the switch

14.Feb 5th, 2009Scott Gibson

Could you make it shock people if they used too much energy? Now that would change behavior:)

15.Feb 5th, 2009Sam

Did you read "Nudge" before designing this product? Given that one of the authors is now in the Obama administration, you practically have a presidential endorsement!

16.Feb 6th, 2009Elis

Nice. It subtly asks, "Do you really need this light on right now?" We are far too casual with our energy use. I don't read "guilt," I read mindfulness.

17.Feb 6th, 2009Manel Kappagoda

Great idea.

18.Feb 6th, 2009Lindsey

Such a great idea. I always wonder how much energy I'm using and I think most of us could easily cut back on the amount of time we keep the lights on.

19.Feb 6th, 2009Jina V

this is really great use of existent technology! im looking forward to seeing it implemented...everywhere!

20.Feb 8th, 2009Alex

This idea is not new : http://www.samsungyoungdesignaward.com/n/31-03-2008-pulse-di-alexandre-tonneau-14-n.htm

21.Feb 10th, 2009Bart

With CFLs installed, lighting accounts for about 5% of household energy use. This amounts to 300kWh per year (based on 6,000 kWh per year total). 300kWh * $0.11/kWh = $33/year is spent on lighting a household. How much of that total will your device save? How many devices will a household need to make a difference? If you believe in the concept, you may need to rethink the business plan.

22.Feb 13th, 2009chris

i don't know, do we need more manufactured "nannies" to teach us to be more responsible / sustainable people? the last thing i want after a long day at work is to have my light switch nagging me about how much electricity I'm using.

23.Feb 14th, 2009Carol Dz T

Great idea. I'd definitely want some of these installed around the house to subtly ask everyone "Do you need this on now??" At a projected cost of a few dollars apiece not a bad deal.

24.Feb 18th, 2009?

I am sorry...but I think this is really lame....People should be able to make there own decisions...about flipping a switch...otherwise what is the use of you brain?

25.Feb 18th, 2009Sue Fry

From someone who works for an Electric Utility Company - I love it!

26.Feb 19th, 2009Brendan Wypich

Thank you all for your comments and questions. Below is a link to a video we created which shows our preliminary prototype in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgODydjWPEA

27.Feb 20th, 2009Donnie

What exactly is meant by "tactile feedback"? Does it vibrate or something?

28.Feb 20th, 2009Brendan Wypich

Donnie - our device essentially has a break pad attached to it that adds a small amount of resistance a person would feel when they adjust the dimmer switch.

29.Feb 23rd, 2009Simon

A very neat idea, but might you run into problems with households in which members possess different degrees of manual strength? I wouldn't want my six-year old to need to struggle with the light switch.

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