Mashita Electronics announced the sales roll-out of the Watt-Minder, a watt-meter that displays the cost of energy being consumed by any 110-V appliance. The cost data is displayed by hour, month, and year, and for accurate estimates, the consumer can set the Watt-Minder to the actual costs being charged by the local utility provider.
"The Watt-Minder uses an intuitive logic," says Chihiro Akiyama, director of Research for the company. "The built-in electronics gives the direct cost of running an appliance like a computer monitor or stereo, and automatically calculates averages over time for variable thermostatically-controlled appliances such as a refrigerator or freezer."
The meter can reportedly measure appliance usage wherever the appliance is plugged in. In addition, the device has a built-in battery-saving feature that prolongs the battery life by turning off the liquid crystal display (LCD) after 3 min of usage.
According to Mashita, if consumers gain knowledge about the actual cost of usage, that it may create feed-back into the engineering process of future appliances and spur manufacturers to increase the efficiencies of their products.
The Watt-Minder will soon be available nationwide through mass merchandise and home improvement retailers. Sales are also planned through the company's Web site.