Today in New York City, leading innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries and eco-designers gathered to discuss the future of sustainability for the consumer electronics industry, culminating in an interactive awards show that used an iPhone to meter the applause level for the top contenders of the coveted Greener Gadget Prize. The winner ... Tweet-a-watt, a DIY hacked version of the Kill-a-watt meter which reports your electricity use by room in real time via Twitter.
The inventor of the device is Ada Limor, an MIT wunderkind who looks to be about 16 but is in fact a mad open-source designer. She did not patent the device and wants as many people to make the electrical meter themselves. You can get the plans on her LadyAda website.
Soon a wireless version of the device will be available, which will use your modem to collect sub-metered data in each room of your house, and give you (and your Twitter followers) information about how much power you are using (computer version pictured above). Ada said the results might be surprising. An installation of the Tweet-a-watt in her own apartment led her to the discovery that her printer was devouring huge amounts of energy.
The Greener Gadgets day was packed with amazing presenters including corporate sustainability leaders from Intel, Panasonic and Dell; media pundits from Business Week, Engadget, Planet Green and Treehugger; energy and Life Cycle Accessment (LCA) experts like Planet Metrics, as well as innovative product designers like inventor Saul Griffith who blew everyone away in the morning with a genius powerpoint (packed with charts and graphs by Synthesis Studios) that showed in no uncertain terms our very real impacts on the environment.
I'll be posting videos and notes from the panels in the next few days.