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Tag Archives: Eco-friendly

Bracketron’s GreenZero Chargers Puts A Silver Bullet Through The Vampires

By David Ponce

Lord, that’s a terrible headline, but that’s the way I roll, baby! It looks like now that the term “vampire electronics” is gaining some traction in the minds of conscious gadget shoppers, more and more manufacturers are trying to make a buck off our fears of spending a few too many dollars on wasted electricity. Granted, it’s with little dollars that you make big ones, but I’m getting a little annoyed at the green veneer for profiteering. Anyway, back to the point, Bracketron’s GreenZero charger is pretty simple: it detects when your device is done charging and cuts off standby power. There. Money saved and now mother nature will hug you in your dreams.

It’s $23 and comes in iPhone and microUSB flavors. It’ll be unveiled at CES next week.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

DIY Eco Boombox Made Of Laser Cut Plywood

By David Ponce

Matt Keeter appears to be a student at MIT and pictured above is the final project for one of his classes. It’s a sweet looking boombox whose case is made from a set of retro-inspired nested octahedral prisms. They’re all laser cut from 0.208″ plywood. Music plays off a standard SD card, while the rig is powered by a 9V battery. The controls on the front are capacitive and the entire thing holds together with barely any glue.

It’s not for sale but the link below leads to his project page where you can read about his step-by-step and even download the required files to make your own, assuming you have access to the same equipment he did.

Incidentally if one of our readers ends up making one of these, we promise to feature it.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ TrendHunter ]

Vapur Folding Water Bottle Is Ingenious

By David Ponce

So here’s the dilemma. Plastic water bottles are convenient because when you’re done, you just throw or hopefully recycle them. They won’t take any room in your bag that way. But if you care about the environment at all, you know that plastic isn’t great. You could of course simply keep reusing a single plastic bottle, but if you’re going to do that, you may as well get yourself a reusable metal bottle, right? Problem with a metal bottle is it too takes a lot of room, even when empty. But what if you could fold your reusable bottle when it’s empty? Enter Vapur.

Made from an internal layer of polyethythene covered with two layers of nylon, the Vapur “anti-bottle” also ships with a carabiner for hanging from bags, just like those aluminum SIG bottles. The bags can be frozen, can carry boiling water and will even stay open when dishwasher-ed.

Like a regular reusable bottle, the Vapur costs $10 for half a liter and they come in several colors and designs.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Get Paid To Charge With The Sun

By David Ponce

There’s a green wave taking over the world, that’s undeniable. For good reason we suppose, though it’s also hard to deny that it’s taking quite some time to catch on. Solar charging for instance is but a tiny fraction of the ways in which we get our electronics replenished. There are many reasons for this, and we won’t get into them here. What’s important is that there are companies coming up with incentives constantly. Take the Changers charging kit as an example. It consists of a solar panel and a base station which contains a battery. Once that internal battery is full, you can use it to charge up your gadgets. It has enough juice for 2 iPhones, or another multiple of several USB rechargeable devices. But what’s more important than that is the social and monetary aspect.

With your permission, the Changers kit will Tweet and otherwise share your eco-behavior with your circles. It will also give you points for doing so. You can then exchange these points for… stuff. What exactly isn’t clear at this point.

The kit is $150 and is up for pre-order now with shipping starting on November 15.

[ Changers charging kit ] VIA [ Digital Trends ]

T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter

T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter (Images courtesy designboom & Antoine Fritsch)
By Andrew Liszewski

And here you thought scooters were only for little tykes, or hipsters who don’t realize how ridiculous they look! French designer Antoine Fritsch has managed to create a scooter that not only looks socially acceptable for riders of all ages, but also one that serves as a viable alternative to a car. That’s because the T20 manages to stash an electric motor and battery inside the frame where the rider stands.

For ease of use acceleration is handled the same way you propel a manual scooter, by kicking off with your feet. At which point the electric propulsion system takes over, providing a respectable top speed of about 22mph, with a range of about 25 miles. The frame is made from bamboo, making it lightweight and of course stylish. And I’m a big fan of the cork covered pseudo-seat that lets the rider lean back in lieu of sitting. Sadly you’re looking at a concept prototype here, since their website doesn’t seem to mention any plans of putting it into production. Not even in France. Le sigh…

[ T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter ] VIA [ designboom ]

LOCAL Bike Was Designed To Handle All Of Your Neighborhood Chores

LOCAL Bike (Image courtesy fuseproject)
By Andrew Liszewski

In the same way a pickup truck probably isn’t going to put you on the podium at Le Mans, don’t expect to be winning any races, or securing the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, with this LOCAL Bike. Like a pickup it stresses function over form, but that’s not to imply it’s an eyesore or anything. In fact, Yves Béhar’s San Francisco-based ‘fuseproject’ has spent months designing and improving the LOCAL to the point where they’re happy to declare it the “perfect Neighborhood bike.”

Local Bike (Image courtesy fuseproject)

Is it ideal for riding off into the sunset on a multiple day bike trip? Certainly not. But as cargo bikes go, it’s designed to hold everything from groceries, to pets, to kids, to even lumber and surfboards while still being light, nimble and maneuverable. The LOCAL’s also got integrated lighting and locking systems so it’s ready for use in a busy urban setting. And even its own sound system, courtesy of a wireless Jambox strapped to the canvas panel located just below the rider. Pricing, availability and all that important stuff that lets you know this will someday be a real product haven’t been announced. So here’s to hoping the LOCAL just isn’t some design exercise.

[ LOCAL Bike ] VIA [ designboom ]

Stem Vac Touted As The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Vacuum Cleaner

Stem Eco-Vacuum Concept (Image courtesy Cambridge Consultants)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just when we thought Dyson had created the definitive vacuum cleaner, a design and development firm called Cambridge Consultants have conjured up a new concept that promises to be the world’s most eco-friendly. And how does it justify claiming that crown? Well most obvious is the fact that it would be made from sustainable components, like the wooden frame which holds all of the components together.

However, the real innovation is how the Stem regulates its power use. It’s able to detect whether it’s being used on carpet or hardwood floors, or with the hose attachment, and automatically regulates the suction power. Though at all times ensuring it never compromises on its cleaning capabilities. It will even drastically reduce its power usage when the person vacuuming pauses to move furniture without shutting the vacuum off. Overall they feel the Stem could use as much as 43% less energy than the average vac, but since they haven’t actually built a concept to test out this theory — nor do they have plans to get it in consumer’s hands — your best bet is to still probably stick with a Dyson.

[ Cambridge Consultants – The world’s most eco-friendly vacuum cleaner? ] VIA [ Fast Company ]

Print A Forest Adds Ads To Every Page You Print With Proceeds Being Used To Plant Trees

Print a Forest (Images courtesy Print a Forest)
By Andrew Liszewski

That paperless office we’ve been promised is still no where in sight. And if you feel a little guilty about the sheer quantity of printed material you or your office produces, a charitable organization called Plant a Tree promises to plant 1 tree in an endangered forest for every 100 pages you print. With the funding for this project coming from selling ad space, which appear in the footer of every single page you print.

To make the system work the user downloads and installs a special Print a Forest program on their PC, which creates a virtual ‘Print a Forest’ printer that they send every document too. The program keeps track of how many pages are printed from a given printer, and inserts ads on the bottom of every page. So a constant internet connection is required. After printing to the ‘Print a Forest’ app you’ll then need to choose the actual printer you want to print to, so the system does add an extra step. But when you crunch the numbers, on average for every single tree that’s cut down to make paper, 75 new trees will get planted. (Assuming everyone using the paper also uses Print a Forest.)

[ Print a Forest ] VIA [ PSFK ]

Flywheel Equipped Bicycle Gives Something Back

Flywheel Equipped Bicycle (Image courtesy Maxwell von Stein)
By Andrew Liszewski

Adding an electric or even gas powered motor to your bicycle can help extend its range and make it a truly viable alternative to a car for commuting. But it’s not always an easy, or cheap, conversion. Mechanical Engineering student (and coolest name of the day winner) Maxwell von Stein might have come up with a reasonably simple alternative. His Flywheel Bicycle features a – you guessed it – built-in flywheel that harnesses the bike’s energy that’s usually lost when braking. When coming to a stop the kinetic energy is instead transferred to the 15 pound flywheel as it spins up. Then, at some point while riding, the energy in the flywheel can be transferred back to the bike’s rear wheel giving the rider an extra kick or boost.

Maxwell’s goal is to see flywheel technology adopted into cars, but hopefully something will come of his bicycle design as it’s a relatively uncomplicated way to add the benefits of regenerative braking to a pedal-powered bike.

[ NPR – Video Pick: Flywheel Bicycle ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]