The quest for low-impact, efficient living is often at odds with the human flaws of sheer laziness and absentmindedness. This couldn’t be more poignantly-illustrated than in an average American home. Much electricity is wasted each and every day by very simple, avoidable behavior. One of the most common examples is the vast amounts of electricity that are essentially thrown away due to unnecessary lights and appliances being left on. There’s nothing purposeful or malicious in this basic behavior, it’s just simple human forgetfulness. The SmartSwitch is a unique, new light switch design that aims at eliminating the forgetfulness from the equation.
Designed by Brandon Wypich and Peter Russo of Stanford University the SmartSwitch was a semi-finalist in the recent Greener Gadget Design Competition. It is a slider switch that uses an internal brake mechanism to make it more difficult to switch on when energy consumption is high. The switch uses a network connection and electrical lines to transmit data on the energy consumption level. It can be set to reflect either communal consumption or the consumption of your home. When energy consumption is low, the light switch flips like you’d expect any light switch to.
While the SmartSwitch will never impede you from actually turning the circuit on, it will be a very tangible reminder to cut down on your home energy, prompting the quick question of whether you actually need the light on. The switch will also remind you to shut off any unnecessary lights or appliances that happen to be on at the time. It’s a very simple nudge to do your part and cut down on wasted electricity. ]
Though quite simple, the concept behind the SmartSwitch is solid and intuitive: people don’t leave energy-consuming products idly running on purpose, but merely don’t give it a second thought. The SmartSwitch makes sure there’s a tangible change.