Interesting comments by Jennifer regarding the Prius - and a well-written review
to boot. For those interested in following up the car angle, there is an Utne
Reader article in the August 2000 issue - "My mileage can beat your mileage" -
which offers another example of computer-mediated information feedback altering
There is some kind of interesting game logic at work in this; providing this
kind of real-time feedback about the machine, in some fairly obtrusive way,
somehow provides enough pleasure to alter existing habits and practices.
Jennifer's review and the Utne review both comment on the behavioral
consequences of the energy usage interface.
There have been some discussions of this by some of the Viridian design people - www.viridiandesign.org - who, if I recall correctly, suggested designing
electrical appliances with some tangible or visible indicator of consumption.
But the car is so much more satisfying, just one step away from a game already,
that it's hard to say whether the pattern could be abstracted. Regardless, it
seems like the kind of issue that interaction design would be well situated to
The Viridian community, and their blogs, might be a good place to 'publish' this
kind of review, FWIW.