Watching my mate's football-mad son doing mental artithmetic on the Nintendo DS' Brain Training Game during a World Cup match the other day reminded me of something: no matter how boring a task is, it becomes interesting if it's presented like a computer game. Which is why I reckon More Associates and its working prototype of an energy monitor (left) are on to something.
It works using a display to tell you how much electricity individual bulbs and appliances have been using on any given day. So, instead of leaving on a lamp for a month to see how much money it adds to your electricity bill, you can just tap the screen and pull up reports - like a computer game - to find out which gadgets or devices are the energy hogs in your home. More has even developed an internet version which you could, say, publish on your blog. Where do I sign?
It's not on sale yet, but if you want to get a taster of the concept, swot up at the Design Council's new Home Monitoring section: it includes monitors like More's, simpler utility bills and a budget-style 'Energy Tracker'. According to the Council, people with such monitors typically use 15 per cent less energy. It also has a useful repository of links to wind turbine outfits, the Energy Saving Trust and more.