Eco-Nanny: Mother Natures Nagging Mother-in-Law or a Personal Angel?


Photo via: Karen 2873

Over the past several years, there has been a rather interesting development of eco-sensitive technology designed to help us humans along with our daily lives by giving us a gentle nudge in the right direction of eco-friendliness. I am talking about such innovation as the Eco-Pedal, the Eco-Switch, and the Aware-Car. If you've ever spent a weekend with your Mother/Father-in-law and left with only two hairs left on your head, you might want to take in consideration the one possible future eco-mother-in-law we may all have to inevitably deal with someday... the Eco-Nanny.What is an Eco-Nanny?
Eco-nannies are technological devices designed to watch over our actions and let us know if we are being naughty or nice, in an eco-sense. For instance, the Eco-Pedal by Nissan is a brilliant little innovation which determines the proper acceleration to achieve optimum fuel economy and prompts you to follow it suggested speed by gently pushing up on your foot to urge you into the proper acceleration sequence.

The Eco-Switch is a similar device that is wired as your home light switches and monitors your homes electricity usage via a microprocessor. At times when electricity use is higher than normal, it will make itself slightly more difficult to turn on, thus discouraging you from using anymore electricity. But the ultimate of these eco-nanny inovations I would have to say is the Aware-Car Concept, which actually monitors your health as you drive to determine if you are actually qualified to be driving.

The Aware-Car may be a good twenty years away, but researchers are certainly hot on its trail to bring it to the table as quickly as possible. What it does is monitor the life signs of the driver and makes suggestions to improve upon their safety. If you get irked at the guy in front who cut you off, the car will recommend you pull over and let your blood pressure return to normal. If your blood sugar level drops it will insist you pull off and get something to eat. If you start to fall asleep, the car will alert you, and tell you to pull over and take a nap at the next convenient stop.

Do We Really Need Eco-Nannies?
All of the information collected by the Aware-Car will then be recorded and stored in a module. This information may then be used in the future to determine whether or not a driver should be taken off the road. If you have too many infractions and your overall life readings show you are in poor health, your license might get yanked. Now I can definitely see where some of this innovation is a good idea, but I can also see that these little suggestive notes might get pretty darn annoying over the course of a lifetime.

This is not to mention that the technology to achieve this, dare I say convenience, will charge us a premium, offer more waste in the form of gadgetry, and quite frankly be suggesting the obvious in many cases. But I am curious to hear your opinions on these products. Are these something we really need to be investing our time and resources to develop, or should we instead be investing in the programs to teach future generations on how to follow such eco-conscious actions without the necessity of some robot nagging at them all day long?

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Tags: Appropriate Technology | Electricity | Energy Efficiency | Transportation

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