Stanford's just demonstrated a stylish way of managing the various wall chargers dotted around your home--and simultaneously created a convenient way to both kill the vampire power they draw from your electrical supply and remote-control some of your appliances.
There are already plenty of ways to alert yourself to the environmental (and electrical bill) damage caused by vampire power, and a bunch of ways to remote-control your gear--but I've never seen as neat a combination of both as Stanford's Visible Energy UFO device. It was demonstrated at Stanford's Cool Products Expo, and consists of three main pieces of tech.
First, there's the core unit: a circular stand with four power sockets distributed around the center, which leaves plenty of space for chunky wall-wart boxes. It's also got a rubbery flip-over lid that neatly conceals everything when closed. Second, there's a visual alert light at the top of the unit that changes color depending on the current the whole system is drawing--it's basically intended to prompt you to think of the consequences of having a bunch of devices turned on, and whether you need to leave them on or throw the off switch.
And finally the device makes that switch-throwing particularly easy, because it comes with a dedicated iPhone app that lets you control an individual unit's master power switch, or each mains socket by itself--you can even schedule the power on/offs. The app also lets you remotely monitor how much power each unit is drawing.
Visible Energy UFO combines the ultimate remote control for basic home automation with an eco-friendly "guilting" reminder about power consumption. The device is due for sale in the summer, for somewhere under $200 per unit.