There is an element of "why did it take so long?" in reports surfacing of the zero-watt monitor from Fujitsu Siemens. It's a flat panel LCD which contains a relay switch that automatically interrupts the power supply when the video signal from an attached PC subsides. Instead of going into standby when idle and consuming a low voltage, the monitor consumes none at all. When the video signal returns, the relay switches the other way and electricity is returned to power up the monitor.
You might think this is not a terribly big deal, but at the end of the day, there are millions of computer monitors left on at offices after their attached PCs have been shut down. While each monitor in standby consumes only a tiny fraction of what it does while it's on, multiply that by all the monitors in the world on standby and you get a pretty big electric bill. It was a good enough idea to win "Innovation of the Year" at this year's CeBIT show and will be available to consumers this summer.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.