The Consumer Electronics Show is a yearly excuse for just about everyone to geek out. It’s no surprise that the focus on energy efficiency and home management caught my eye.
First up, Home Energy Manager promises to put your bloated house on an energy diet. By linking to a series of smart monitors in each appliance, HEM lets the homeowner set a budget. This approach is appealing for people who already budget their money, because now you can break down the “utility” line-item to identify some real-world strategies for saving.
Your house may spend more on running the dryer than the dishwasher, so a clothesline is a smart option. Or maybe that beer fridge in the garage is past its prime and needs to be recycled.
The software will pilot in Houston this spring, and offers the additional benefit of weather forecasts and social networking. Because you can never have too much social networking, I guess….
Next up, a related offering from Silver PAC, maker of all things remote. Have you ever seen one of those remote controls that are bigger than my first TV? It may have come from this group.
Called the SilverSTAT 7, the device also talks to your smart appliances via WiFi connections and displays your energy use on the thermostat. The bait here is that the thermostat can talk with the local utility, giving you information to help shift your usage off peak when prices are lower. It still lacks some automation, though, so you can’t take an entirely hands-off approach.
I do have to ding them for their use of “gauge-style” dashboard icons. Gauges are generally considered to be a waste of space, but I guess they’re trying to give the people what they expect whether its good design or not.
And last, but certainly not least in our roundup, is the Mirasol display technology from Qualcomm. Based on the way a butterfly’s wing creates vibrant, iridescent color without the use of pigments, Mirasol is a low-power display option that becomes even more visible in bright sunlight. Other technologies rely on backlighting that reduces the image quality and draw power.
Check out the video below for a brief overview, and keep in might that the bright blue Morpho butterflies you see in the video are actually brown – it’s the prismatic scales on their wings that bend the light producing such a vibrant color.