Power-Aware Cord

17 Feb

The “Power-Aware Cord” is a redesign of a plug adapter that visualizes how much energy (with regard to the device that is plugged into it) is passing through it at any given moment. Using electroluminescent wires modeled into the cord glowing patterns are produced to represent the energy being used by the appliance. It increases energy awareness by providing a more intuitive mean for better understanding energy consumption.

The Power Aware Cord

Gustafsson and Gyllensward argue that “using light is a more natural and intuitive way of symbolizing energy than Watts on a numerical display (user observations indicate this to be fact amongst the majority). Watts are a symbolic construction that can be hard for users to relate to.” Also the demand for attention from many directions (such as a numerical display) reduces the usefulness of these computational objects (The Information Percolator).

To support consumer awareness ambient devices can be used as new ways of visualizing and representing energy consumption. “Electricity is both invisible and intangible. As the effects of electricity are often taken for granted in our domestic homes, electricity becomes even more invisible. In order to support energy awareness it is crucial that people learn about the different amounts of energy used by electrical products in their home. Ultimately this will lead them to question their energy behaviours”. A more playful, intuitive and metaphorical display may persuade and inspire users to explore and reflect upon the energy they are using. Ambient Displays may motivate desirable lifestyle changes by making boring tasks fun rather than just presenting information (Reflecting Human Behavior to Motivate Desirable Lifestyle). Because ambient displays can be accessed from any place in a room (or house) it provides more constant feedback therefore it can be useful to change behaviours and awareness over time (refer to persuasive chapter on Ambient Displays).

Matsukawa (The Effects of Information on Residential Demand for electricity) argues that consumers need information to act rationally. He establishes that the display used in his example does effect the energy consumption. He also states that awareness is increased by monitoring energy consumption in the whole home.

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