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Conserve PC power, save a tree

Experiment ties energy levels to living plants

Ben Arent

The convergence of plant and machine is upon us. The "EnergyTree" is an experimental contraption that links a computer's power levels to the health of a living thing.

It was the brainchild of U.K. product designer Ben Arent, who created the concept for Microsoft's "StartSomething" PC design competition this year. The goal, according to Yanko Design, is fairly simple: "If the user is extremely efficient with their energy use the EnergyTree will give the tree the nutrients and water it needs to survive and flourish. If the user is inefficient with their energy consumption the EnergyTree will poison and malnourish the tree, eventually killing it."

It sounds kind of like a cross between a global-warming initiative and a sadistic sci-fi lab experiment to us. But if the greater good is saving the planet, we suppose the ends justify the means.