Full Description: http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2009/unplug/
Ever worry about saving the environment? No? Did you know that even when your lights and other appliances are turned off they still sap energy just by being plugged in? Now there is a no brainer solution. UnPlug is a light sensitive device that unplugs your utilities when you leave the house.
My initial idea was to utilize biomimicry and have the surge protector push out of the wall with legs. After running into issues with finding proper springs or a linear actuator, I opted for a basic HiTec HS-311 servo motor. There were also issues with with using one Arduino for both the servo and the wave shield, even when the servo was receiving a separate power source, so I opted for a 2nd Arduino.
As an energy saving device this product is marketable to a large range of users, though the target audience would lean towards a younger, more environmentally conscious user. The addition of music, lending a humorous edge, skews UnPlug towards a trendy green demographic.
The user is ready to leave the house and turns off the main light. But what about the surge protector with 6 things still sucking power? Not to worry. UnPlug recognizes the owner has left from the change in light and proceeds to unplug itself to the triumphal sounds of Sprach Zarathustra (2001, A Space Odyssey). The user will have saved money and the planet.