time machine

Save energy now, for more in the future

Victor Johansson, Felix Heibeck, Johanna Tunlid
Davi Magalhães, Zuyi Huang
2 weeks


Our class was tasked to create a working prototype of an electronic product with a positive glocal impact in terms of sustainability. We were at liberty to select a topic of our choice. Our team worked on The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12- Responsible Consumption and Production.

Households consume 29% of global energy and consequently contribute to 21% of resulting carbon dioxide emissions. Vampire devices use energy even when they are switched off, or are not performing their primary function.
Video game consoles consume up to 44% of their total energy while in standby mode.


Time Machine is a video game console adapter. It teaches children about energy consumption in household devices. They learn about standby (vampire) power consumption in a playful and engaging way, that nudges them into responsible behaviours towards a sustainable lifestyle. This sets them up with a mindset of 'save now' for more in the future.

How does it work?
When Time Machine detects the 'vampire' standby mode after play, it cues the child to unplug the video game console. 
While the console is unplugged, the device triggers a ball drop every hour. Every ball dropped gives them an additional 5 minutes of playing time.
The child can then feed all the collected balls in to Time Machine to redeem their ‘extra time’.


Our team's initial research was conducted around understanding energy consumption in households across a varied demographic. Through this, we defined the scope of the problem and conducted interviews with parents to understand energy consumption patterns in households with young children. We defined 4 design principles to guide the outcome of our final, glocally positive product. We clustered data, ideated concepts and came up with a few sacrificial prototypes to test our assumptions.

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Quick body storming exercises and low-fidelity (physical and digital) prototypes helped us access the key interaction and test how the device would exist in its context. We planned the best way to build the interaction and combined the physical input with the digital output.

rapid prototyping concept imagerapid prototyping ball drop

Long-term Impact

Through incentives, children understand the concept of energy consumption in a tangible way. They learn how their actions influence their future, and a positive mindset has a life long effect on sustainability.

With Time Machine, the positive impact curve is two fold-
● direct product impact by unplugging the video game console in the present
● the ripple-effect impact the learnt behaviour generates over time through positive practices

impact curve