Electronic devices... talk to the plug. We know you've got a lot on your plate - shuffling iTunes, remembering when to Tivo, making sure that clock never stops flashing -- but now you're going to have to answer to a whole new task master, and its called the mCube.
Not shaped anything like a cube, this little device (about the same dimensions as a business card) manufactured by Innergie is a universal power supply which will charge and/or deliver power to any electrical device. That alone is great news for the environment. According to Gizmodo, consumer electronics manufacturers churn out 2.5 billion incompatible power supplies per year for computers, printers, cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, power tools and one and on. This accounts for untold tons of wasted raw materials and discarded chargers and power supplies (not to mention the frustration of getting the power devices mixed up). But beyond the savings in wasted materials, the mCube solves another problem by powering the devices intelligently.
Using a technology pioneered by partner Green Plug, the mCube enables "real-time collaboration between electronic devices and their power sources." Every device has to convert AC current from the plug into a specific DC current. By plugging your device into the mCube using your USB port, you essentially add power management to your device. It figures out what current the device requires at that moment, and then draws only that current from the wall. For instance, if your device's battery is fully charged, the mCube would stop drawing additional power from the plug, saving electricity and over stressed batteries.
It sounds small, but the US Department of Energy estimates that such "phantom loads" could account for as much as 13% of residential energy use. Eliminating these electrical loads could save literally billions of kilowatts per year.
Just last week, Innergie and Green Plug announced plans to demo their sophisticated new Greentalk technology at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The device costs $130, so it may take a while to pay back your investment but it does make saving energy very chic.