The Energy Tree
This just in from Yanko Design - the Energy Tree. Apparently in an effort to truly unite technology with the physical environment, designer Ben Arent has created a system that contains a real tree connected to a microprocessor. The device controls the watering and feeding of the tree depending on your energy usage, and also monitors your appliances, heating/cooling, and recycling habits. It uses this information to feed and water the tree, but only if you are efficient with your energy use. If you aren't, the Energy Tree will poison and malnourish the tree, eventually killing it.The system will also be online, using something known as "the collector." The collector is there to encourage people to recycle; Once at the depot the collector will unit will be radioed indicating that you did your job. This system has the added benefit that someone can take your recycling to the facility, while you can still get the credit. You know, to keep your tree alive.
It's a visceral idea, and (natch) still on the drawing board. According to the article, "The EnergyTree will change the perception and view of how power is being used, implementing a complete system looking at device consumption, home consumption and long term sustainability." If you got this far, I think it just did that.