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Sony envisions future with pay-as-you-go power

In the year 2030, Sony thinks we might swipe a card to use energy from one of our personal alternative power sources instead of from the electric company.

Power outlets need an upgrade. Is this it?

Sony is looking to revolutionize the inefficient way in which we consume power.

A new concept video from the electronics giant shows how we could use power more efficiently in the year 2030 by switching to smart outlets with authentication and wireless charging on a broad scale, assuming we survive the zombie Mayan apocalypse.

The prototype power outlet, integrated with a short-range wireless FeliCa transmitter (and a new RFID over power line technology), allows the user to swipe a pay card across the faceplate and pay for energy on the spot. What makes it truly interesting is if humankind keeps progressing towards alternative energies (such as wind, solar, and biomass), then our outlets could give us options as to what source from which we obtain our power. The video description notes that with this outlet, "the user can actively control and manage power consumption on a user basis as well as on a device basis."

According to Sony's concept, a user interface similar to this could pop up when you use power. Sony

Imagine not having to use power from the electric company for a TV-viewing session, instead drawing from a battery in your house that contains stored power from your solar- and wind-power generation sources. These outlets, if available all over a city, can offer people with electric cars the ability to charge up and pay for that energy easily.

The proposed power control center app (for tablet or smartphone) would enable consumers to observe how much power is available from various power sources in the home. With the app, one could check how much juice the electric car in the garage contains, enable or disable outlets in various areas of the house, or remotely control devices connected to a power outlet.

In a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, reps at Sony spoke about the developments, says AV Watch (check out their hands-on pics, too). A timetable for commercializing these smart outlets seems "ten years away," according to Taro Tadano from Sony Japan's business development department. Admittedly, he wants to speed up the process of development and integration, but reliability, safety, and patent battles present several roadblocks.

While the overall idea seems grand, one must also wonder about cost.

Regardless, he and many others at Sony are working hard to strengthen relationships with various Japanese companies related to this field with hope of moving this past the concept stage and into reality. One cannot help but admire the craveworthy Sony concept products (from 2030) also shown in the video, such as: a TV that you turn on by facing a wall and drawing a rectangle with your hand, a flexible tablet, and easy wireless charging.

(Via AV Watch)