Posts Tagged eco gadgets

MudWatt can teach everyone about clean, dirty energy

You can make someone sit down in a classroom and read a book about how to put together an IKEA chair, but until they’re building it, not all of the dots are going to connect. Humans need real world experiences to understand why and how things are happening around them. Any day you don’t learn something new, you’ve probably died.

If you don’t know what to get someone for the upcoming holidays, a science project is always a fun idea! Well, that’s assuming the recipient has a vested interest in bettering themselves through play, like they would have to do with something like the MudWatt! This fun project is an award-winning STEM kit that will teach you about electricity, microbiology, and energy. Don’t be fooled by its cutesy looks, as this can teach first graders and seniors alike.

The kit harnesses the power of bacteria that creates electricity, and the best part is that you can use dirt from anywhere in the world to make this work. Not only that, but you can add food from your fridge and change the temperature to alter their power output. As the bacteria grows, you can track the progress through an app which will unlock an educational comic to give further insight into what’s happening. The classic version is a $39.99 kit, but there are several different sizes at varying prices for groups or classses ranging small to large.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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Casio set to roll out two new color ways for the PRO TREK PRG300

It looks like it is time for a brand new look as the summer arrives, and so it makes perfect sense for one particular model of something to come with more than just a single shade of color, don’t you think so? Well, Casio also thinks along the same line, which means that they are pleased as punch to roll out the PRO TREK PRG300 in orange and grey shades, being known as the PRG300-4 and PRG300-8, respectively, with the two of them being ideal for a wide range of outdoor adventures from hiking and biking, to camping and kayaking.

David Johnson, vice president of Casio’s Timepiece Division, shared, “With summer on the horizon and Great Outdoors Month beginning in June, there is no better time to get outside to camp, fish, rock climb and more. Having a triple sensor watch on your wrist while out navigating mountain peaks or angling at your local riverbed is useful because it will analyze your surroundings and aid in keeping track of where you are, as well as provide the current and upcoming weather while on your journey. The new models offer outdoor enthusiasts versatility in stylish, vibrant colors, while providing a feature-set built to experience life’s most exciting adventures.”

The PRO TREK PRG300-4 and PRG300-8 will arrive with Casio’s Triple Sensor Version 3 Technology, where it will be able to deliver outdoor enthusiasts with fast, precise data readings in order to assist them to navigate through just about any adventure. The timepieces will comprise of a direction sensor for compass readings, pressure sensor for altimeter/barometer readings and a thermo sensor for temperature readings, allowing the user to effortlessly monitor all the required information on outdoor conditions. Not only that, Casio’s Tough Solar Power technology will let users charge the timepiece in low or fluorescent light, which means there is no longer any need for continuous battery replacement.

Press Release
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Ecoxgear introduces new rugged portable solutions

The modern day road warrior will definitely carry his or her fair share of mobile devices, and with this, we do know that at least one of them would be a smartphone, while it is not too far off the mark to say that the other might be a tablet, or perhaps a smartwatch. Having said that, making sure that your mobile devices are well powered all the time can be a little bit tricky, especially if you are constantly on the move and will need to look far harder for a power outlet than you normally would at the office. Ecoxgear knows this, which is why they have come up with several rugged solutions for the road warrior, and they are the EcoPebble Powerbank, EcoCarbon, and Sol Jam.

All three solutions means you should have no issues with enjoying the great outdoors, since they are resourceful enough in their own way to keep your mobile devices powered up, and you, entertained. For starters, the Ecoxgear Sol Jam is touted to be the industry’s first 100% waterproof (IPX67) portable Bluetooth speaker that boasts integrated HD solar panels, now how about that? I guess you can more or less say that this is perpetually self-sustaining as long as the sun shines.

As for the EcoPebble Powerbank, this particular device will come with a solitary 2” speaker driver along with a 10,000 mAh battery charger for ultimate portability. Still, it ensures that it can pack quite a punch where sound is concerned, as well as enjoying efficient charging capabilities. The Powerbank will be IPX 67 waterproof and is also fully shock resistant, letting you enjoy it as you hike, climb, camp, or surf, among others. You can also play music while simultaneously charging up to two different devices at a time. A full charge of the EcoPebble would let it deliver more than 50 hours of playtime, and there is also a bright LED flashlight and phone control buttons for those who want to make use of it as an overnight companion.

There is also the 2,600 mAh EcoCharge that is deemed to be the perfect 100% waterproof and rugged power bank, although it does not carry too much juice by itself, making this a truly last resort style device.

Where the EcoCarbon is concerned, it is deemed to be the next key component of Ecoxgear’s latest line-up, where it will also play music while charging devices. EcoCarbon will arrive equipped with multiple mounting accessories to affix to your tent, bike, or board, where it has the ability to float on top of water, and has more than 12 hours of playtime, a 4 step LED battery meter and an LED flashlight for navigating.

The Pebble Powerbank, EcoCarbon and EcoCharge will be available from next month onward, retailing for $100, $130, and $20 respectively, whereas the Sol Jam is set to hit the market in the fourth quarter of the year for $150 a pop.

Press Release


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Portable Solar Powered Speaker

We live in a world where just about any mobile device that one carries these days – be they smartphones or tablets, are capable of playing back some music. And the amount of storage that these portable devices hold can reach insane levels, in fact, a whole lot more than your regular hard drive back in 2000. This would mean you would be spoilt for choice when it comes to the amount of songs that you can listen to, and chances are you would not have enough time to go through the entire playlist in a single setting. The thing is, sometimes, you want to share your eclectic taste in music with your mates, and your smartphone’s speaker just ain’t cutting it. Good thing there are alternatives out there like the $99.95 Portable Solar Powered Speaker.

The Portable Solar Powered Speaker not only lets you share your favorite tunes with the general public within an acceptable radius, but as its name implies, it is capable of offering an infinite amount of charging for your compatible power hungry devices – as long as the sun shines, that is. The speaker would pair up with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet, or other wireless music player, where audio is played back via a 2.5”, 3-watt full-range speaker which delivers crisp sound. Its rechargeable battery has been rated to deliver up to eight hours of operation from a five-hour charge thanks to its built-in solar panel, and it comes with a rugged, water-resistant IPX4-rated exterior to boot.

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Hot Water: Key to Recycling Electronic Components?

Our love for gadgets means one thing in life: gadget waste will continue to grow. As new generations of laptops, tablets, phones, PCs and the like appear on the scene one has to wonder where the old ones go. Sure, some can be recycled, but there is certainly cost involved. Realistically much of what goes into a circuit board cannot be reused unless completely taken apart – which is challenging. If it can’t be recycled it gets thrown into the general trash, only to go into and pollute the earth. I would imagine that growth of industries finding enviro-conscious solutions to dispose of e-waste will start to keep pace with the electronics industry itself.

Researchers at UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in conjunction with research partners, have come up with a solution that may help with this waste issue down the road. The research was conducted as part of the ReUSE (Reuseable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics) project, a UK government backed initiative to increase the recyclability of electronic assemblies. Currently in the UK only about 2% of assemblies can be reused. The group designed and tested a number of different layers of polymers which were able to be separated into their individual parts at end of life when submerged in hot water. Result? The components on the circuit boards were easily removable after the hot water soak and 90% of them were reusable. Check the video above to see how simple NPL made it look. And who knows, maybe someday we will be able to turn old electronics in with confidence, knowing the insides can be used again – thanks to NPL and hot water.

Thanks: Liliputing
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So Much More than a Longboard

The concept of an electric skateboard evolved years ago. Seems pretty simple, right? Use push power when needed, but get extra juice going up the hill or longer distances. The challenge has been making the controls reasonable enough to use while cruising at a decent speed.

Congratulations to Boosted Boards for blowing away their Kickstarter fundraising goal and creating the latest generation electric vehicle – what they call the “lightest electric vehicle that has ever been made.” One of the major drivers behind the project is the fact that most of our travel happens within close proximity – a matter of a few miles. Or for those that commute via transit their destination is still a walk away. Boosted Boards provides a low cost, eco-friendly method to get people to their destination.

Shipping in September 2013 is Boosted’s 2000W motor-powered longboard. Max out at 20mph while cruising around town. Conquer inclines of up to 15% with ease too. A full charge on the Lithium ion battery takes only 2 hours and can take you up to 6 miles. Or conserve power and push like a standard skateboard. A regenerative braking system with motor is built-in, meaning your energy and momentum will not go to waste but rather help recharge the battery. Wireless hand controls also contribute to the ride…if you need them. Sure the unit weighs more than an average longboard – between 12-15 pounds – but still a very bearable weight when you need to pick it up.

The price tag is hefty, anticipated at $1,299, but for the right audience the Boosted product will be a no brainer. If interested get in line for a pre-order and Boosted will be in touch as production moves on.
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Find Heat and Charge

Concept alert, concept alert. But oh boy, does this make sense. Stoves, radiators, portable heaters – the list of heat generating devices in our lives goes on and on. And our lives have gone portable with phones, tablets, laptops and the like. Devices have existed to charge electronics via heat sources, but never with the portability aspect.

YankoDesign features some of the latest industrial designs. Highlighted in their Technology section is the EcoCharge, a portable and green option for charging electronics. How so? EcoCharge draws heat from any heating device. Then thermoelectric generator modules convert heat to electricity. Power is delivered out of the unit via USB connection. Then just take your pick of what device to plug in. The concept had previously existed, but not in a portable unit – critical for our charging needs. Designer Ardavan Mirhosseini took it a step further by adding magnets to the side of the EcoCharge. Stick it to any metal surface while you draw out heat and charge. The unit also monitors and displays the conduction process so you could know how efficiently you charge. Imagine attaching EcoCharge to your hot pot of chili? Or how about affixing to the heating unit? It certainly makes sense and perhaps, someday, will become a reality.
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Do you Think these Clothes are Going to Clean Themselves?

Few things strike as much dread into the middle of my day as much as the laundry. I think its right up there on my list of things I have learned to hate the drudgery  of quite a long time ago. Vacuuming, kitty litter emptying and laundry. Hate em. We’ve put a man on the moon, how come I’m still doing this stuff the way my mom used to? Sure the washing machine is bigger and higher tech… but its the same boring job.

Well, scientists might actually have my best interests at heart. Mingce Long and  Deyong Wu say they have developed a fabric coated with titanium dioxide (think suntan lotion ingredient) That breaks down dirt and kills different microbes when exposed to certain kinds of light, more specifically, their product can clean itself when exposed to sunlight… very nice.

The report on this fabric describes a regular cotton fabric that’s coated with nanoparticles (I told you about them yesterday, they’re a size between molecular and microscopic) made from a compound of titanium dioxide and nitrogen. Their tests show that a cotton fabric coated with theses particles removed an orange dye stain when it was exposed to sunlight, and the coating even stayed intact after washing and drying. What a minute, washing and drying? Am I missing the point here?

A similar study is being done at the University of California, where scientists have created another compound that also allows cotton to break down toxins and bacteria when exposed to light. Heck, I’ll just make my family eat dinner outside in the sun, and kill two birds with one stone. Now we just have to figure out a way for the food to cook itself, then, life will be good.

Source: zmescience.com

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iZen – The Eco Friendly Bluetooth Keyboard

My daughters school sent home a booklet trying to get us to be more “green,” unplugging TV’s, turning off the computers at the surge protector in order to prevent the dreaded vampire power drains… I gotta tell ya, I recycle, I don’t let the water run, and I have ugly canvas shopping bags, but somehow, technology and “environmentally friendly” well, they dont usually go together.

Until now, the  iZen keyboards are here, and they’re ready to change your mind. The iZen Bamboo keyboard is the first eco-friendly bluetooth keyboard ever available on the market. They are very handsome,  low profile, and portable. Its perfect for anyone, and its great looking and unusual 92% bamboo construction is certainly a nice change from your basic white or black plastic!

The iZen keyboard is renewable, recyclable, and won’t pile up in landfills. Bamboo can grow up to 2 inches an hour, all with very little water (that makes for a lot of keyboards) It works wirelessly with your iPads, iPhones, Macs, Androids, tablet PCs, smart phones, and a whole host of other Bluetooth-enabled devices you may have laying around including some TV’s.  

The iZen Keyboard comes with a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is simple to charge with a USB 2.0 cable (included) and utilizes one-touch access to iPad/iOS features. The keyboard weighs in at under a pound with dimensions of 11.5″ W x 5″ L x .75″H.  So, lets recap, its good for the environment, its made from an easily renewable resource, and it looks totally different from any keyboard you’ve seen before. Its a win-win. Does this mean I get to keep my computer ON now? Get yours for under 100 bucks at izenbamboo.com, or check out the website for other eco-friendly keyboards and cases.

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Postcarden – the Desktop Garden you can Mail

I am always looking for cute little items that are unique and different, not just because its my job, but because I always like to have some neat little trinkets laying around if the need should arise. Teacher gifts, thank-you’s, birthday greetings… heck, wouldn’t an original holiday card be fun? I am sick of candles, chocolates and beautifully boxed handsoaps – Isn’t there anything else?

There is now, this morning I came across Postcardens, lovely little cards that pop-up and grow a little desktop scene, with a tiny amount of  love and care. These postcards are printed with vegetable ink and simply require you to open them, spread the seeds, water the base, and place in a sunny area. In no time you will have your very own tabletop mini garden.

The London based company likes to think of their products as gifts for thoughtful givers. Personally, I just like to look cool. There is a nice variety in the card offerings, from a magnificent botanical garden, a winter wonderland, or to an overgrown backyard shed. Each one is the product of some pretty creative and talented folks. Aside from gift giving, your Postcardens could be used for marketing campaigns, wedding invitations or new product launches, especially since the company will entertain all kinds of custom work.

So next Christmas give up those old news musical cards and get with one that actually grows and will give its recipients some pleasure for weeks to come. For more information on pricing and custom orders, or to watch a video of a Postcarden “unfolding” please visit postcarden.com  To order cards in the US starting at around $12.50, visit our frinds at Uncommongoods.com

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