Light Bright

Friday, August 24, 2007


A California company has begun distributing a device called the "orb," a glowing sphere that changes color based on energy consumption. Writer Clive Thompson explains that the orb's ambient information proves how successful subtlety can be.

Comments [5]

Richard F.Hagmeyer from Huntington,NY

Stop the noisey disonent sound breaks.

Nov. 23 2008 11:05 AM
Richard F.Hagmeyer from Huntington,NY

Iregilarly listen to WNYC/NPR and wince at the music blogs that are used,Their are many pleasant ones but am often compelled to tune the station out when the cacaphonius sounds are aired as breaks btwn subjects- c'mon now give us a break!

Nov. 23 2008 11:04 AM
Carolyn Cadigan from Rockford IL

I was driving in my car when I heard this and nearly had to pull over in my excitement! I think this is a fantastic device and would love to propose it to my local Green Communities group. I hope it will be available soon.

Aug. 28 2007 10:36 AM
Jeremy Woodward from Providence, USA

One ambient device doing a similar thing in my world is the fuel consumption gauge on my Toyota Prius. It's a little bar graph that charts your fuel consumption (and energy production) over time, but more importantly, it has an instantaneous readout showing how much fuel you consume moment by moment, registered in miles per gallon. You see the readout plummet when you stomp on the accelerator after waiting at a stop light, you see it peak out and stay high as you use cruise control, and most satisfyingly, top out at 100 miles per gallon as you coast down hills.

It's a simple thing, but it's totally changed the way I drive. Before I had a Prius I had other cars whose ambient device in that spot on the dashboard was the clock. So I would monitor that, and the focus of my driving trended toward trying to get to the destination in the least amount of time (Naturally this leads to more speed and jackrabbit getaways after stops). Now I concentrate on making better mileage. Even independent of the fuel efficiency of the Prius itself, this little device is saving gas every day.

Aug. 28 2007 10:16 AM
Bill Hill from Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Excellent piece by Clive Thompson on the energy savings potential of the "orb." The last bit of the story contained one minor and common error, confusing power and energy. A MW is power. Power times time equals energy, as in MWh. Thus, if 1 million people each turned off a 100 watt lightbulb the savings would be 100 MW of power -- the output of a medium-sized power plant. If all million people kept those 100 watt lights off for 24 hours the savings would be 2400 MWh, equivalent to the energy output of a very large (2400 MW) power plant in one hour.

Aug. 25 2007 03:56 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.