I'm one of those wannabe Luddites who doesn't even own an iPod. I nearly scoff whenever I spy those telltale white strings dangling from ADHD-afflicted ears around town. Nor do I use any other MP3 player in public; the ambient sounds of belching engines and Super Mario Bros ring tones are street music to these ears. But if I did have an iPod Nano 1.0, I'd probably get one of these $15 recycled plastic Jimi cases. The U.S.-made, polypropylene and polycarbonate Jimis come in red, blue, clear, and orange flavors. You can keep … Read more
SAN JOSE, Calif.--The biggest battery hog in your mobile phone is the screen, especially if it's a thin-film transistor liquid crystal display. (That's TFT-LCD, for the acronym loyalists out there.) Many of the companies gathered for iSuppli's Flat Information Displays Conference 2006 here are looking for ways around this. Some say that means using a different technology for the screen; others say there's no need to do so.
I was psyched when a reader said this little box can show in dollars and kilowatt-hours just how much every last lightbulb, TV, and forgotten camera charger in your house costs you. The Energy Detective, or TED, will flash an alarm when your hourly or monthly power consumption reaches painfully expensive levels, and when spells of high or low voltage might damage connected gear.
Suzuki knows that alternative fuels aren't just for cars. So the Japanese company is turning its eco-friendly eye toward a new market: wheelchairs.
Gizmag says a prototype "fuel cell wheelchair" is in the works, using methanol to generate hydrogen and then electricity. It adds that, with a range of up to 25 miles, the wheelchair would help allay fears of getting stranded.
It's good to see that alternative energy research is going toward vehicles other than golf carts.
No, you don't see news from Rheem, the vacuum and household appliance people, too much on our site. But you may in the future, as the company emerges as one of a growing number of advocates for solar water heaters.
In these systems, water is heated by solar rays directly from a tank on the roof--a common practice in Spain or Israel--or panels on the roof can conduct energy to a basement heater, as in Rheem's products. (See photo of jolly salesman.)
The basement versions are less obtrusive because the panels fit into the roofline of a house. … Read more
Maybe we're just superficial (OK, probably), but we've often suspected that appearances are a key reason that solar products haven't taken off with the masses. Too often they look like something you'd find listed under "contractor's special" than, say, at Bang & Olufsen. So leave it up to the marketing-obsessed electronics business to come up with some effective packaging. Case in point: Sanyo's new Eneloop device, whose solar-powered batteries can recharge products through a USB connection while looking decent enough to display in the open. Now the marketing department just needs to … Read more
Being of the 24-hour room-service ilk, we don't exactly find that building a solar iPod charger is our idea of a good time. Especially when you can already buy products like this. But hey, that's just us.
The rugged DIY individuals out there might be interested in taking a shot at this homemade charger posted on Yosemite Outside, which includes a solar panel that can be affixed to a backpack. We have no doubt that it works, but the duct tape probably won't win any design awards.
(Photo: Yosemite Outside)
Retro, as we've noted in this space, is the new new. And though it may be a bit premature to declare the incandescent lightbulb in that category, it seems we're getting closer all the time. That may be why Ecogeek is touting the GlowBrick phosphorescent light cube, which pays homage to the bulb's iconic form without wasting energy. It could also help scare away kids on Halloween when you run out of candy.
Alternative energy companies may be politically correct, but that doesn't mean they don't know how work a capitalistic marketing system. As winter approaches, for example, many are wasting little time to circulate word of products that provide some form of natural light to help fend off seasonal affective disorder.
The latest product making the rounds is the Suntracker One, which runs on a solar-powered motor and uses three heliostatic mirrors that reflect sunlight into the interior of a building. "Every ten minutes, the mirrors move to keep up with the sun as it moves across the sky, … Read more
For all you naysayers (like us) who doubted that solar energy would ever become a mainstream phenomenon, we offer two words: Home Depot.
The home-improvement empire has partnered with BP Solar to provide solar-power systems, according to Treehugger, with services that include free home consultation, installation and follow-up inspection. The Home Depot solar page also links to a national database of state incentives for renewable energy and a special calculator so you can estimate your potential savings. (We also had our doubts about this whole Internet thing.)
(Photo: Homer TLC)