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FakeTV, a New Green Way to Stop Burglars

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. --- Blaine Readler used to turn on his television every time he left home. He did this because an operating television makes a great burglar repellent. When a burglar sees the flickering glow of a TV through the curtains, he generally "knows" somebody is home, and he moves on to an easier target. One evening it occurred to Blaine that all the burglar saw was the light cast through the curtains, not the actual images shown on the power-hungry television. It seemed a shame to waste all that energy producing a picture enjoyed by no one. Blaine, being an engineer by trade, proceeded to invent FakeTV -- a tiny little device that replicates the light produced by a TV, but none of the images.

It also consumes one-hundredth of the energy required by a real TV.

Blaine partnered with an electronics manufacturer, Opto-Electronic Design, Inc., to carefully study the light produced by a real television.

Viewed from outside the home, FakeTV is essentially indistinguishable from a real television. Even when viewed side by side, test subjects were unable to tell the effects of the real television from those of the impostor.

Considering some people leave their televisions on for days at a time when they leave home -- they waste of energy. LCD televisions gradually get dimmer with time, so it is also a waste of resources to use up the life with nobody watching. One customer says she needed the television on to fall asleep, and now she uses her FakeTV, which costs under $40. That is an application Blaine did not anticipate.

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