Conserving energy is one of those things that you may want to do, but you've never gotten around to it, and you're not exactly sure how to start -- because, well, thinking about stuff is hard. The SmartSwitch prototype -- designed by Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich at Stanford University -- works on just that idea: turning lights on and off is a reflexive action that you barely think about... unless you get some resistance. The modded light switch is equipped with a network connection and a brake pad, and each time you try to turn on a light in your home, it makes a judgment about the overall current electricity levels being used, and gives resistance, making the switch harder to turn on, if the network determines the levels of usage to be high. Check out a video of how the whole thing works after the break.
[Via Hacked Gadgets