It's not quite up to the trope of a company finding a way to charge people for oxygen, but it's leaning eerily in that direction - Sony has formulated a new idea that would require users to be authenticated before they can get electricity from a wall outlet? Crazy, you say? Sony says it is a vital strategy in cutting down on electronic waste.
So here's how it would work. The sockets themselves would be manufactured in a special way that uses near field communication (NFC) technology to authenticate any devices that are plugged in. If it's an approved device, it gets power. If it's not, it doesn't. This works not only on a device-by-device level, but rather on the user as well. Users will need to gain access to the outlet.
As an example, many travelers today take advantage of the fact that airports around the world have wall outlets that allow them to charge their laptops, smartphones, and what have you. But with Sony's creation, the airport could turn those outlets into "smart outlets" and then only let paying customers tap into the valuable electricity. So who do you think wins in a situation like this?
[via Reg Hardware]