2013 Inventions: The Year So Far

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We’re just over halfway through the year 2013, and it’s been a fantastic run so far for sustainable and eco-friendly products. Looking back, we’ve created a short list of our favorite products to come out this year. A Cardboard Bicycle For $30 dollars, this eco-friendly bike can be yours. It was a DIY project created by Izhar Gafni back in 2009. Gafni wanted to work on innovating his favorite past time: bicycling. He began experimenting with folding cardboard into stronger shapes and sizes, constructing and designing the various materials he’d need to create a workable cardboard bike, and testing his… read more

Combined Wind and Solar Energy Charger

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This gadget is a triple-treat for off-grid power, being capable of charging via an AC wall outlet or USB connection before you go, or with wind and solar power while out in the field. The Kinesis Industries K3 Charger has a large rechargeable lithium-ion battery inside it (4000 mAh), that can be used to power just about any mobile devices, from phones to music players to GPS units or cameras. The unit has adapter tips for various devices, and can be stood up, laid down, or hung, making it versatile and easy to use. K3 Specs: Nominal DC Output: 5V… read more

Saving Money By 3-D Printing

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Everyone appreciates the value of saving a few pennies when we can. Whether it’s shopping at the department store for clothing rather than that fancy new boutique on Main street, purchasing higher end lightbulbs that will save you money over time, or installing an eco-friendly shower head to lower monthly water costs, we find ways to stretch a dollar. A new study by the Michigan Technical University shows us just how eco conscious (and budget-savvy) 3-D printing truly is. They estimate that printing your own household items, tools, eating utensils, and toys for the kids can actually save you an… read more

Compact, Lightweight, Rechargable Bike Light: USB Light

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To stay safe on a bike at night, the brighter the lights you have, and the more of them, the better. While it’s great to have a headlight to see where you’re riding, it’s also good practice to have one or more lights on the frame of your bike, or on your body itself, so that you’re more visible from the back or the side. One great new choice for cyclists is the USB Light, which can be easily mounted or removed from just about anywhere on the bike, and come in five different colors for the fashion-minded. “USB Light… read more

Robots Set To Innovate The Agriculture Industry

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Robots have become intertwined with just about every facet of living nowadays, even though they’ve yet to become the advanced A.I. units depicted in films such as iRobot and Terminator. In another step forward for the robotic industry, several new sets of robots were created in Silicon Valley specifically to handle farming tasks. This will undoubtedly provide farmers more time to care for their livestock, distribute their crops, and more. A new ‘Lettuce Bot’ is able to “thin” a field of lettuce in the same timeframe as 20 field workers would take. A strawberry harvesting robot, with 24 arms and… read more

Energy Efficient Phones

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It’s that time again. Your 2-year contract with your cell service provider is about to expire, and you’re ready for an upgrade. There are literally thousands of options before you, but you don’t want just any phone, you want something built to last, and designed to save the world. These smartphones listed below were made to lower the electrical bill and limit dependence on the grid. Apple iPhone 5 – With its Energy Star Certificate, the Apple iPhone comes with a bevy of power-saving features, such as programmed intervals where it limites power usage if you’re taking a nap or… read more

Using Urine to Power Mobile Phones

Using Urine to Power Mobile Phones

In a first for the intersection of mobile phones and bodily fluids, researchers have managed to charge a standard cell phone using a microbial fuel cell (MFC) fed with urine. The scientists, from the University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, built a membrane-less fuel cell demonstrating the viability of a urine-based mobile power source. They were able to generate enough of a charge from their MFC to use the mobile phone for texting, calling, and connecting to the internet. “This is the world’s first demonstration that mobile phone batteries can be directly charged previously considered impossible by a stack… read more

Voltmaker Taps Kinetic Energy for Charging

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When you get stuck with a dead battery in your smartphone or other mobile device during the day, having an emergency power source or backup battery means that you won’t have to do without. And this kinetic charger not only provides a backup source of power, but it can also charge itself up, again and again. The Voltmaker is an ingenious little device, weighing just over half a pound and incorporating a 2000 mAh Lithium battery and a kinetic charging charging system, for easy access to power on-the-go. The internal battery can be charged up via the wall outlet or… read more

Turn a Soda Can into a Camping Stove

Turn a Soda Can into a Camping Stove

The best kind of DIY projects tend to be affordable, quick to construct, and highly functional, such as this one, from Tom Allen. This camping stove, made from repurposed materials, could be a great addition to camping, backpacking, or emergency gear, and the fuel can be found at pharmacies, grocery stores, or hardware stores just about anywhere. The raw materials can come out of your recycling bin or trash can, and the entire thing can be built with just a pocket knife and a little time. “One of the best gifts I’ve ever received on my travels is a stove… read more

Teenage Girl Invents Body-Heat Flashlight

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15-year old Ann Makosinski of Vancouver, British Columbia recently invented a flashlight powered by body heat as battery companies looked on with fear in their eyes. She’s one of 15 finalists for the Google Science Fair competition’s top prize. Her submission to the competition is a heavily-modified flashlight. It gets its power from the heat generated by the palms of your hands. Makosinski’s been interested in alternative energy since the sixth grade, she says, and is particularly drawn towards the creation of long-lasting power sources. And what greater source of long-lasting power lies around her than the human body? Curious,… read more