It's pretty much set in silicon -- in the future, you will monitor your home power consumption, and perhaps even enjoy doing so. Futuristic touchscreen panels and free monitoring software abound, each designed to reward you with a warm, fuzzy Captain Planet feeling and a reduced energy bill when you finally turn off that blasted light. Thing is, unless you've got a home automation system, you won't know which switch to flip. Intel wants to change that with a new wireless sensor that can identify each individual appliance in your house by their unique electrical signal, just by plugging into a single outlet in your house. The reportedly low-cost sensor works by simply recognizing voltage drop patterns when devices are turned on and off, and doesn't require special appliances to function; Intel demonstrated it on a standard toaster, microwave and fridge in Beijing this week. Demonstrate your supreme demand for this "why didn't I think of that" idea by directing traffic to our source link -- you can jump to 20:10 to see the sensor in action.

Update: Come to think of it, that looks just like a wireless version of Marvell's SheevaPlug.