Last week, Wired carried a very smart article (Clive Thompson Thinks: Desktop Orb Could Reform Energy Hogs) about how the invisibility of our energy consumption makes reforming our profligate habits much harder and how gadgets that make it visible could help. I couldn't agree more. This is one of the reasons that I love the screen in a Toyota Prius--drivers get real time feedback on their driving and they generally become more efficient drivers.
Clive spends most of the article talking about the Ambient Orb which SoCalEdison configured to show demand on the grid, but to my mind, the really exciting gadget is the one that he mentions at the end of the article: the Wattson. Produced by DIY Kyoto, a hip trio in London, the Wattson is a beautiful piece of industrial design that show people how much energy they're using in the home through numbers and pretty lights. Finally, a gadget that my interior-designer wife would welcome into the home.
I've emailed the folks at DIY Kyoto to find out when a version of the Wattson will be available in the US. I want one!