Energy saving downloads with the Somniloquy

Energy saving downloads with the Somniloquy

The Somniloquy presents to the host as a USB network card, but has the smarts to keep your downloads ticking while the PC is asleep.

If you like the idea of keeping your PC in sleep mode in order to save money, but don't want to lose precious downloading time, researchers at the University of California at San Diego might just have an answer.

As reported over on Engadget, the research team, in collaboration with Microsoft Research, have developed a gadget they call the Somniloquy – literally “talking in your sleep.”

The device presents as a external USB network card to the host system, but is equipped with a range of smarts itself via an in-built processor and flash memory storage. Rather than simply sitting there dumb until the PC is switched back on, the Somniloquy is capable of using its in-built operating system to keep instant messaging connections live, continue to download via both straight protocols and BitTorrent, and maintain the host's DHCP lease on the local network.

When the device detects something exciting happening that it can't take care of itself, it sends a signal that wakes the computer up in order to deal with it. Rather cleverly, the Somniloquy has a trick up its sleeve to avoid having to use the hard drive all the time: the dongle is equipped with a SD card which buffers the download, only waking the hard drive when the storage gets full and needs to be dumped.

Although wake-on-LAN has been around for a while, the Somniloquy brings a certain amount of innovation to the table and, with claims that it can offer between 60 and 80 percent energy saving depending on your personal usage habits, it should please anyone who cares about the environment – or their electricity bills.

While the team's research was presented at USENIX last week, there has been no news yet on when – or if – we might see a commercialised version of the Somniloquy.

Could this be the saving grace for your ever-rising electricity bill, or is the Somniloquy a solution looking for a problem? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Bauul 27th April 2009, 12:54 Quote
Up next: Play Crysis with your PC turned off!
p3n 27th April 2009, 12:57 Quote
bit torrent is so last year!
MajorTom 27th April 2009, 13:01 Quote
Yes there is no talk about bit torrent these days whatsoever.
TTmodder 27th April 2009, 13:12 Quote
Originally Posted by Bauul
Up next: Play Crysis with your PC turned off!

that would require another pc
Psytek 27th April 2009, 13:16 Quote
Microsoft approves of bittorrent - woohoo
Blademrk 27th April 2009, 13:22 Quote
Computer sleep? what's that? ;)

Whenever I've used sleep mode (no mattter what build) It's always blue screened on wake up or shortly after. So sleep mode is always the first thing I disable on an install.
Xir 27th April 2009, 13:33 Quote
...I thought that's what Netbooks were for :D
perplekks45 27th April 2009, 14:02 Quote
Interesting but if I'm that desperate to download, I'll just leave my computer on to be honest.
steveo_mcg 27th April 2009, 14:12 Quote
Biggest issue is cost, if its going to be >£80 (i just picked a number) your going to need to have some size gaming rig drawing many hundreds of watts to save any money for a good couple of years.
Jojii 27th April 2009, 16:25 Quote
Money calculations aside, the savings on your ears when your trying to sleep and not having that wirr 24/7 of all your fans might be worth it for some people.
chrisb2e9 27th April 2009, 17:20 Quote
I agree with jojii, I leave my pc running and I am used to the fans but I have to turn it off if someone else is here. would be nice to have something like this.
Cupboard 27th April 2009, 19:45 Quote
Nice idea, but as far as cost savings go I think I have to agree with steveo_mcg and as far as noise goes, I would find it a lot less distracting to leave my computer on (which is a gentle whirring noise) than have it turn on periodically which makes a noise like it is about to take off as all the fans start up.
bigkingfun 27th April 2009, 21:27 Quote
It will only be a matter of time before this will all be an IC, using the massive RAM space more and more people are getting.
It will be on the spec. pages of mobos along with teaming, WOL etc...
HourBeforeDawn 28th April 2009, 02:10 Quote
doesnt the Killer Nic M1 or whatever its called already do this by allowing your system to be in sleep mode and have a USB hard drive hooked up to it running a BT client on a linux type kernel? Also there are plenty of NAS unites that can do this as well.
Zeus-Nolan 28th April 2009, 21:21 Quote
If i really want to download something i often use my phone (N95 8gb) and if its a torrent then i use symtorrent, i downloaded a trailer for star trek yesterday and pluged it into my ps3 and watched it with out having to dl from my pc :)
UberTiger 3rd May 2009, 23:47 Quote
Originally Posted by Zeus-Nolan
If i really want to download something i often use my phone (N95 8gb) and if its a torrent then i use symtorrent, i downloaded a trailer for star trek yesterday and pluged it into my ps3 and watched it with out having to dl from my pc :)

Is there a symtorrent equivalent for the iPhone? Sounds like a top idea.
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