Color-Changing Polar Bear Doubles as Power Monitor


Image via GE Ecomagination
GE's Ecomagination challenge is drumming up some interesting entries, not the least of which is a stuffed polar bear toy that glows various colors as a warning for home energy use. The plush toy would communicate with the home's electricity meter, and glow various colors based on the energy use. The pinker it gets, the worse the house is doing on conservation efforts. EarthTechling points out that it's perfect for parents who are tired of their kids leaving the lights and gaming console on, since a glowing toy might actually get their attention. And since polar bears are the iconic figure of global warming, it's no wonder it would be an adorable polar bear that notifies the family. When energy use rises over a certain threshold, the bear glows pink, and glows green when things are all good.

Creator pk47 writes, "By developing renewable resources and using efficient technologies in our homes, we can protect the environment, stimulate the economy, and increase energy security. The idea presented here is an attempt at creating an energy awareness culture, identifying desired behaviors, and understanding what motivates people... The Power Monitor described here, is simply an attempt at interactive learning, where a simple and easily understood message becomes the catalyst for change in energy use. For most people, raising or lowering the thermostat setting, or turning the lights ON, are simply actions to control their environment, however, when they see the effects of their actions, for example by seeing their polar bear changing his color in response to that action, they are more likely to pause and reflect on the necessity for more cooling or brighter lights. I hope to be in a position to change the world for the better, and this is my small contribution."

There is a lot of interesting conversation going on in the comments of the idea, including improving on this concept, and questioning its usefulness. As for my two cents, it would make more sense if it didn't glow at all when energy use is under control, saving energy itself.

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Tags: Concepts & Prototypes | Electronics | Energy Efficiency

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