By Evan Ackerman
The Visible Energy UFO, which I ran across at Stanford’s CPX, is a remote control powerstrip that allows you to monitor and track your energy consumption. It’s not designed to be a color changing (and collapseable!) snack bowl at all, but in spite of that, it would make an excellent one. The UFO has four color coded outlets (plus a surge protector) inside, spaced around the central axis so that you can fit even the bulkiest of power adapters into them. If you don’t need the snack bowl part, you can fold the flexible plastic cover down to keep everything nice and tidy. The light on the top of the UFO changes color (green, yellow, or red) depending on how much juice it’s sucking.
The reason that you might want one of these, however, is the slick iPhone app that comes with it. The app connects to each one of your UFO power strips separately, and lets you see at a glance how much energy you’re using. You can also turn each outlet on and off, from anywhere. Setup is supposed to be fast and easy, and as far as home automation goes, I can’t imagine it gets much simpler than this. The only problem is, if you don’t have your iPhone, there aren’t actually any switches on the thing. Oh well.
The Visible Energy UFO should be available this summer for less (hopefully a lot less) than $200.
[ Visible Energy ]