Timed AC outlets aren't new, but they're generally tricky to program ad-hoc and so only get used for security lighting, heating or other regular tasks. Designers Cheng-Hsiu Du and Chyun-Chau Lin want to change all that; their Ring Socket concept would replace the confusing digital display or dozens of clicky pegs with a simple illuminated loop, rotated clockwise according to how many hours you want the appliance to be active.
Turning it a single notch would leave the socket active for an hour; turning it further would increase the time accordingly. If the hoop lights green then the device is in a standby state, whereas yellow indicates power is actively being drawn. Red, meanwhile, would suggest the socket was overloaded.
Obviously there's no repeat scheduling, so this is more useful for recharging your cellphone without leaving the AC adapter powered all night, or similarly impromptu tasks. It's the sort of idea that wouldn't take much to reach the market, though whether the aesthetically-pleasing loops would make it - along with an affordable price - is less certain.