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Insert Coin: MeterPlug estimates electricity costs per device, aims to save you some cash

Decking out homes with smartphone-controlled appliances and using gadgets to keep tabs on electricity usage isn't exactly new, but the MeterPlug thinks it can do a better job of tracking exactly how much dough your devices are burning in electricity. The plastic dongle plugs in-between an outlet and a device, and leverages a database of electricity prices based on location and time of day to calculate how much an appliance drains from your wallet per hour, day, week, month and year. With the help of Bluetooth, MeterPlug slings data to an Android or iOS app, and shoots updated meter information -- stored inside built-in memory -- as you come into range. Sure, Bluetooth connectivity only allows for connected devices within 100 feet to be manually switched on and off through the app, but it also gives users the option of proximity control. MeterPlug can cut power to whatever is jacked in as users wander away, and restore juice when they walk back into range.

The team behind the potential money-saver has had less than $1,000 pledged to its cause, but its asking for $70,000 to shepherd its product to a launch in April of 2013. You can chip in as little as $45 to pre-order a MeterPlug -- netting you $15 off from its proposed retail price -- though other packages containing as many as eight of the doodads are available. Folks outside of the US will have to add between $10 and $15 for shipping, but they can rest assured European and United Kingdom / Hong Kong-compatible plugs are also up for grabs. Feeling frugal? Hit the bordering source link to toss in your hard-earned coin.

Previous project update: It wasn't long ago that we covered PIPA, the smartphone case with an embedded fingerprint scanner for adding authentication from lock screens to websites -- and it shows: the team behind it has only raised around $10,000. Those hankering for that extra layer of security, however, have well over half a month to contribute to the contraption's cause.