24 of the Hottest Eco-Friendly Gadgets and Green Concepts
With all the talk these days about electrical power wastage, global warming, extreme weather, food shortages and so on… Our team at The Hottest Gadgets has decided to put together a list of green devices that will help us all, gadget Lovers and others alike, to live less wasteful and energy efficient lifestyles!
Here’s our list of eco-friendly gadgets that you can buy now, soon and sometime in the future! Most notable are the 100mpg CityCat Airpowered Car and the Kill-A-Watt power strip/meter. Be sure to add your comments and other green gadget discoveries to our comments at the bottom.
Today’s Green Gadgets
- The Voltaic Solar Backpack
This solar powered backpack produces 4 watts of solar power to charge any of your gadgets pretty quickly. It also has a battery pack which can store the electricity for when the sun don’t shine. The solar panels also protect fragile items inside.
- The Recyclable EarthDrive USB Drive
This USB drive has been built with the maximum amount of bio-recycled materials. It is waterproof, dustrpoof and shockproof. If you ever decide you don’t want it anymore, simply recycle it. A portion of every EarthDrive sale goes to planting new trees around the world.
- Antec Earthwatts, Energy Efficient PSU –
This Power Supply Unit from Antec claims to be 80% efficient, meaning that only 20% of the electricity you feed it gets transformed into waste heat. This is cool, literally, as less heat means less cooling which means less fan noise and less wattage. Sounds like a good deal to me
- USB Rechargeable Cell, AA Battery with USB! -
A really convenient gadget, these rechargeable batteries actually have a 5V DC USB plug attached to the cell, allowing you to recharge them from your laptop or any other USB Source. Perfect for recharging any digital camera that uses AA Batteries without the need for bulky chargers and cables.
- Bamboo Computers, Casings Do Grow on Trees! -
Plastics are really bad for the environment, and with the millions of gadgets disposed of each year, plastic cases are really going to fill up landfills for decades. Bamboo on the otherhand is a sturdy, biodegradable material that is produced rapidly by the fast-growing bamboo plant. Whilst we can recycle the computer’s innards, a bamboo casing would allow us to recycle the casing as well! My only gripe?: Doesn’t that make the notebook heavier?
- Kill-A-Watt, Powerstrip -
If you have way too many gadgets and computers, the kill-a-watt powerstrip might just help you monitor your energy consumption. The digital LCD lists the amount of wattage you’ve used so that you can make wise decisions about managing your utility bill.
- Kill-A-Watt, Appliance Power Meter –
This device from P3 International enables you to check the energy usage of any appliance in your home. It measures in kWh (kilo-watt-hours) and gives you a good idea of which inefficient gadgets to recycle, and which ones to keep.
- Kindle, Wireless E-Paper Reader -
The amazon post claims that its “the future of reading and that it will be everywhere”. No doubt, but at US$359, that is an expensive piece of paper. The device comes with wireless, a long battery life and can store up to 200 titles from Amazon. Beats carrying around 200 paperback novels though, and is better for your friends, the trees.
Upcoming Green Gadgets
- CityCAT Air Powered Car, Zero Pollution Motors -
This air powered wonder is set to hit production sometime between 2009 and 2010 in the United States. The company, Zero Pollution Motors has confirmed this with Popular Mechanics magazine, stating that its price would be sub-$18000. ZPM is the US licensee for the France-Based MDI (Motor Development International) headed by Guy Negre, the inventor of Formula One engines. The promise is that the airpowered car will be able to go 1000miles at 96mph on one tank of air…The European version of the vehicle, the CityCat, is already undergoing safety and crash tests in Europe. This could be the first >100mpg non-electric, non-gas car that you could purchase. ZPM/MDI have entered their car into the Progressive Automotive X-Prize.
- M2E Kinetic Batteries, Michael Faraday would be Proud -
The M2E (Movement to Energy) kinetic battery is an improvement of the idea of generating energy using your daily movements (no…not bowel movements). Basically, the average American spends almost 2 hours of their day moving about. The M2E battery converts your movements into electricity using a magnet and coil to trickle charge a lithium-ion pack. M2E claims that 2 hours of light movement can charge the Li-Ion pack for about 1 hour of talk-time in a cellphone. Available in 18-24 months.
- LG Phillips, 16.7 Million Colors E-Paper –
After almost 20 years in the making, a full color, high resolution e-paper screen of ungodly thinness has been created by LG and Phillips. The advantage? It’s just like paper, only it can be reused countless times saving trees. The e-paper also uses less energy than traditional LCDs to refresh itself, and requires no energy at all to maintain the image. Lets hope they get integrated into ultra portable notebooks soon.
- Air Powered Moped, Vrrrooom! Poof! –
Air power has been around for decades, but only now are we seriously looking into it to power vehicles. Part of the problem was compressing the air safely. For example, to get enough mileage you might have to compress the air to 300 times standard atmospheric pressure. Such high pressures can literally cause the tank to explode. However with newer materials and alloys, the air powered vehicle has become a reality.
- Embedded Solar, Solar Panels beneath Touchscreens –
Apple Computer has recently filed a patent for placing solar panels beneath touchscreens similar to those used in the iPhone. Though personally I doubt that solar technology is efficient enough to fully charge an iPhone in a reasonable amount of time, it might just add an hour or more of use. Also it may not be wise to leave your precious mobile in the sun! But having the panels on the upper-surface yet beneath the screen is a good idea – since you’ll be able to charge as you use it.
- Gravitas, Gravity Light ** –
** Our readers have brought it to our attention that this one does not work.
Remember the game Myst? Or have you ever seen Victorian-Era inventions? The basic idea here is to utilise gravity as a power source (no we’re not talking space-time bending or quantum fluctuations). The person lifts the weight to the top of the lamp, and as it falls, generates electricity to run the lights for 4 hours. You might develop really strong biceps too using this thing…invented by a Grad Student.
- Bamboo Mobile, Mobile Bamboo Phone -
Some people go through mobile phones faster than they do a roll of toilet paper. Enter the Bamboo Phone! Once you’re totally done with it, return the innards to your manufacturer and stick it’s casing into your compost pile and very soon a lovely shady bamboo tree will sprout. Be wary though, bamboo grows fast and the manufacturers are probably not going to be held responsible for the plant taking over your backyard.
- Aperture, Volume-Aware Shower Head –
Alot of flaming has been going around recently for energy usage…but why not water as well? A volume aware shower head might just be the thing to put a cap on unecessarily long showers. Maybe they could make it such that once a preset volume of water has been dispensed, the bather has to enter a password to restart the shower: “Dear bather, the toilet should be submerged by now. If you are still in need of more water, please enter password.” (May not be too useful if your house in on fire though)
- eNutrition, Gadget Facts –
We all know about what we eat. How about what we buy? The eNutrition Facts proposal lists the chemicals and materials used to manufacture a gadget. Thus you only buy gadgets that are manufactured via environmentally responsible means.
- Youlet, Glowing Wall Outlet –
Someone should have thought of this high-visibility gadget a lot sooner. If I could see that my socket was glowing I’d know that I had forgotten to turn something off. Great idea, and simple too!
- EcoTap, Twist-Off Power Socket –
The EcoTap physically cuts power to devices by separating the electrical contacts at a wall socket. This method of turning off ensures that even devices that draw power whilst idle/off are completely disconnected.
- GreenCell, Standardised Li-Ions –
Just walk into any cable/electronics/connector shop and you’ll be absolutely amazed by the sheer variety and volume of proprietary connectors, plugs and battery types. The GreenCell Project aims to make your life easier by standardising Li-Ion batteries and mobile a/c adapters. By standardising, we also eliminate waste and improve the ease of recycling. So the next time you forget your charger, just go down to the battery vending machine!
- Flower Pod, Visual Power Meter –
The flowerpod power meter is a digital plant who’s health responds to your household electrical usage. If your usage is above average, the digital flower withers and dies, if it is below, the flower blooms and becomes more beautiful. The idea here is that if people could visually see the effects of power wastage on the environment, they might become more responsible of their electrical usage. This visual-feedback also enables home members to optimize their power usage by seeing if the flower withers.
Fascinating Green Ideas for the Future
- Push-to-Charge, Green Buttons -
Everyone loves to text on their mobile Surveys have shown that 300,000 text messages are sent per-minute in the US, with each message being up to 150 characters in length. Just imagine if we could harness the energy of every push and press…and each tap you made on your shiny gem just made a few micro…maybe even nanowatts. Heavy texters may not need ever to charge their buttoned gadgets again, whilst others who are not in that elite group can benefit from much improved battery life.
- DORmino, Thermal Powered Mouse –
Laptops put out a lot of heat, especially when they’re number crunching. A specially designed pad with thermionics technology might be able to transform that heat back into usable energy. Thermionics is the science of using heat to knock electrons out of a conductive material to generate current. It’s no easy feat though as current thermionics materials are only able to generate energy from large temperature differences (hundreds of degrees). Scientists today however are looking to the properties of nanomaterials to squeeze heat out of thermal differences of only a few degrees.
- Fold-IT, Custom Cardboard Gadget –
The ultimate in gadget customization and recycling. The idea is to have a gadget that you could assemble, resassemble and finally disassemble all by yourself. And the little electronic innards could be tacked/velcroed onto the inside of a recyclable cardboard chassis. From the pictures we can see that the same components can be reconfigured for use as either a camcorder, mobilephone, etc etc. So the next time you get bored, just morph you cell phone into a PSP! Just don’t press on the keys too hard…okay?