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Somniloquy: the Future Will be Filled With Environment-Friendly Pirates

by Lambert Varias

People leave their computers on for a long time for various valid reasons: when backing up, scanning malware, reformatting and restoring because the malware couldn’t be removed, installing SP3 for the third time, downloading a large file via torrent, and being infected again. And that’s the digital circle of life.

Seriously though, computers waste a lot of energy while performing such tedious tasks. But fear not, Mother Earth, a bunch of geeks are working on an energy saving device that will maintain a computer’s essential functions while consuming as low as 10% of the power normally used by a regular PC.


Computer scientists at the University of California in San Diego and  *gasp* Microsoft Research have come up with the Somniloquy, a USB dongle that is basically a barebones PC, complete with an OS, flash memory, and network connectivity. The idea behind Somniloquy is simple: if your computer has to perform nothing but a single time-consuming task – downloading all episodes of Top Gear for example – Somniloquy will take over while your computer goes to sleep: “Somniloquy essentially takes over as the computer’s presence on the network while the actual PC is asleep by operating at the computers’ network interface. In effect, it impersonates the sleeping PC to other hosts on the network.”

What’s more, Somniloquy can wake up the “main” computer if needed. For example, if its flash memory gets filled up, it can wake up the main computer and transfer its files, and then tell the big guy to go to sleep again. The people behind the device hope to shrink it further so that it can be installed into a network card, and hopefully into all computers.

[via apc via GetUSB]

Comments (13):

  1. Manuel says:

    cant wait to get it. would be a nice&useful gagdet

  2. Anonymous says:

    This has lots of potential, i’ll be waiting for the USB dongle version!

  3. Bernard says:

    What a brilliant idea! I’m buying this when it’s on the market, that’s for sure!

  4. Another Anon says:

    as previously mentioned; has HUGE potential.

  5. kc says:

    why don’t they just build this into computers?

    • Grant says:

      It will never make it to production, some big energy compony will buy the rights like they do with every other power saving device. there’s a program on tv here in britain called dragons den – some of the wealthiest entreapauners in the country provide financial backing to people with good ideas. all 5 wanted to back a device that cut the standby power needed for your tv down to virtually nothing, Lo and behold – 2 weeks later they all pulled out and the guy sold his idea to a power compony. Freedom eh!

  6. Me, Myself, nor I says:

    I just hope it will be available with wireless options, and maybe as a PCI card or something like that..

  7. Steven says:

    Brilliant, I’d love to have this built into ALL of my PCs. In fact, I’d like it to be a default piece of hardware in all my future PCs; having an energy-saving system like this for my torrents would be fantastic!

  8. Mike Hunt says:

    Just imagine what this will do for torrent speeds. People would be able to seed 24/7 now. Maybe just a single torrent or two, but still.

  9. Chris says:

    UCSD is awesome.

  10. tehlemming says:

    well hell… I’d take it in a hurry under 2 conditions… it can maintain charging my damn iPod, and if not that… run itunes so I have something to listen too (on a small playlist so as to use the flash memory of course)

  11. Beavis says:

    The greatest PC interface device …in the world!

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