Energy-Saving App Uses Webcam to Turn off Computer When You're Not There

Sure, you turn off your computer at the end of the day and put it in sleep mode when you take your lunch break. But what about all the short breaks you take during the day: to go to the bathroom, grab some coffee, or chat with a coworker? More likely, you just leave everything on, going full steam. Brazilian company Ecobenefícios has a new app to make sure your computer enters energy-saving mode every time you step away, by using your webcam.

I downloaded GreenCam (it's free) and found that it didn't work all that well: When I stepped away from my desk, my computer stayed on. It did trigger sleep mode when I held my thumb over the webcam to block light, but that's not very useful. To give them the benefit of the doubt, the program is in Portuguese, so it's quite possible I'm missing something.

Ecobenefícios uses an hour a day away from the computer as the basis for its calculations, estimating that GreenCam could save a company of 200 employees US$130 per month- not a negligible amount. I wonder how much energy using the camera uses, and if that offsets some of the energy savings, and I will say I don't like having the blue light that indicates my webcam is working on all day.

While the GreenCam isn't 100% yet, it's a great idea for making energy-saving practices more regular and getting people used to the idea of always powering down their devices when they're not using them.

Energy-Saving App Uses Webcam to Turn off Computer When You're Not There
A program uses a computer webcam to detect when the user is not present and trigger energy-saving mode.

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