The SmartSwitch

Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich of Stanford University developed the SmartSwitch , a light control with tactile feedback that helps you "see" how much energy is already being used, whenever you try to flick the switch. If the total energy consumption in the house is low, the SmartSwitch is easy to flip. But if the consumption is higher, the SmartSwitch is physically harder to flip, thanks to a brake pad within the mechanism. The idea is that people will use this tactile feedback to decide if they really really need that light on or not.

Cable To Offer TV Programs Online Soon

A number of big name US cable companies are looking to offer online companion packages to their pay-TV subscribers. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that top cable providers (namely Comcast and TWC) and TV networks are looking to assemble a large collection of online programming and deliver it only to subscribers. According to Reuters these projects could become available as early as this summer. The cable companies are hoping these services take a chunk out of the growing number of people watching online services like Hulu.

The Iriver P7

The iRiver P7 portable media player features a 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 resolution LCD touchscreen and 35 hours audio or 7 hours video battery life. The P7 supports playback of MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG and FLAC formats and MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Simple Profile, MPEG-4 Advanced, Simple Profile (B-VOP only), Xvid, WMV 7/8/9, RM/RMVB, H.264 video formats. There is also an optional cradle available that has a built in speaker that allows the portable device to double as a bed side media device. The unit will be available soon in Korea with a North American release still to be announced.

Angered From DTV Switch - Man Shoots TV

The digital transition has left some confused, but a Missouri man was down right frustrated with the switch. So frustrated, in fact, that he peppered his television set with gunfire. Police responded to the man's house Wednesday after reports of shots being fired inside. Turns out the 70-year-old gunman was livid over losing cable and could not get his digital converter box to work. Police took Walter Hoover into custody after a brief standoff and charged him with unlawful use of a firearm. Hoover's wife told police that he had been drinking before the incident. Source news report .

Nightmare Wiring Gallery

We all know clean and logical wiring is an art form and the web site Dark Roasted Blend has compiled a gallery of some of the most frightening examples of bad art.

iRiver's Wave-Home

iRiver's Wave-Home multimedia communications device is a VoIP phone and a home networking controller, as it provides an expansive 7-inch 800 x 480 resolution touchscreen for web browsing, photo viewing and interacting with all manners of connected widgets. Furthermore, the unit packs a 1.3-megapixel camera, built in speakers, an Ethernet jack, SD slot, USB connectivity, a FM radio module and support for digipen input. iRiver says it will run under $400 and they are looking to partner with current VOIP providers.

NuForce Icon USB-input Integrated Amplifier

The NuForce Icon ($249) is an audiophile-grade Integrated Desktop Audio Amplifier featuring two 12-watt outputs, a 3.5-mm stereo input for connection to an iPod or other portable device, a USB cable for operation with a PC or Mac, and standard RCA inputs for employing the Icon as the heart of a conventional audio system; all enclosed in a tiny 6" x 4 1/2" x 1" package. The USB DAC for converts a PC or Mac's audio signal to high-quality analog sound. The NuForce Icon also offers a seperate high-performance headphone output amp. Stereophile has a in depth review of its performance and sound quality .

VCR Toaster

Someone brilliant has modified a useless VCR into a working single-slot toaster. A single piece of bread is loaded into the tape slot of an old Daewoo VHS deck and a couple minutes later a delicious piece of toast flies out. The toast even has the VHS logo burned onto its surface. Here is a video of the toaster in action.

Free Standing Cord Lamp

The clever design of these floor and table lamps incorporates what is usually the most unsightly element of a lamp, the cord. The designers decided to "extend" the function of the cord, turning it into both the base and stand. Made of textile cord and steel tubing allows the lamp to spring up from the ground. Available now from the Museum Of Modern Art's Online Store.

Sharp's Aquos LCD TVs With Built-in Blu-ray

Sharp's line of Aquos LCD TVs with a built-in, slot loading Blu-ray player are finally hitting US shores.  6ave has the 32-inch (LC-32BD60U) and 37-inch (LC-37BD60U) versions for $999 and $1,199 respectively.  Both sets sport 1920×1080 resolution, 3X HDMI inputs, 6ms response time and an unspecified contrast ratio and brightness.

The Google PowerMeter

Google wants to build the platform for collecting, managing, and analyzing home energy information for… well, if they have their way, for everybody on earth. PowerMeter is currently in internal beta testing. About four dozen Google employees have home energy monitors to record their power usage (as proxies for the smart meters of the future). A Home Energy gadget on their iGoogle home pages shows them shows how much energy they are using. The gadget tracks historical data and forecasts future trends (similar to the displays available for some of Google's finance applications).

Intel Demos 32nm Processors

Intel's Westmere 32nm Processor is built on the Core i7 micro-architecture but uses a more advanced manufacturing process. For consumers, the highlight for a smaller die is that it will consume less power and will be faster. Also for the first time Intel will also integrate a 2-channel DDR3 memory controller and IGP graphics processor on a single CPU package (although on a separate 45nm chip). The CPUs with the integrated graphics are code named ClarkDale (desktop) and Arrandale (laptop). They will have 2 cores with HyperThreading and will hopefully be in volume production in Q4 of 2009.

Pioneer Exits TV Business

Pioneer Corp., feeling the pinch of weakened global demand, is considering a number of strategic moves to right its financial ship. Among the new directions reportedly being discussed are getting out of the flat-panel TV business altogether and spinning off its DVD production into a new company that would be a joint venture with Sharp Corp.

1 Million Xbox Users Download Netflix App

One million Xbox Live Gold members have downloaded the Netflix application since its November launch, Microsoft announced Thursday. In total, the Xbox Live community has watched 1.5 billion minutes of movies and TV episodes over the past three months.

ATT Working On All-in-one Media Box

Gizmodo obtained info from an AT&T employee that the company is working on a U-Verse IPTV box with Femtocell capability. The set top box would not only handle your television, telephone and internet it would also improve your cellular reception within your home. The box is supposed to come in the next year and will be offered under AT&T's U-Verse service .

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!