We thought we were pretty much done in 2009 with seeing new ideas for saving energy at the wall socket. Most of the ideas had run their course and found no really willing audience in the consumer stream. Plus, we all collectively figured out that vampire energy is a problem, but that energy savings is really more about what you plug in and when, rather than unplugging it when not in use.
Still, that didn't stop designer Ya-Hui Chi from coming up with yet another concept for a plug that will save you energy without having to try (much).Featured on Yanko Design, the Eco-Socket will detect the power use of a device, and when it notices the device isn't in use, it'll stop the flow of energy from the wall to the device. In other words, it's basically the same as a smart power strip, only at the wall.
The only problem is, if you have something on standby -- like, say, a monitor or a television -- and you go back to use it, you're probably going to have to pop the plug back into the wall. Not exactly a convenient choice. And yet another reason why we haven't seen the roaring success of solutions for vampire energy. Oh, and of course there's the other problem of having to install these on every outlet in your home...also kind of a pain.
Still, we always give props to designers who put the environment at the top of the make-this-better list.