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solar-powered rainbow maker – what’s up with that?


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This crazy looking thing attaches via suction cup to your window and dangles and rotates a Swarovski crystal to refract sunlight creating “swirling rainbows.”  The whole deal is powered by a small solar panel.   The ROYGBIV, which was designed by David Dear, will probably keep you occupied until your next unicorn sighting.  Who knows what ROYGBIV stands for?

$24.95 @ scientificsonline.com

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

attitude adjustment – renew with bamboo


Tired of these cold, gray, windy days and nights?  Maybe it’s time to lighten up that outlook with some kicky frocks.

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Spring into that summer wardrobe and go easy on the wallet with some of last year’s apparel that’s still on trend…or god forbid, classic.  Beau Soleil’s eco shift is made of renewable bamboo and recycled leather accents (list price, $275; sale, $142) @ coco’s shoppe.com

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tried & true review: Voltaic solar backpack


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The good folks at Voltaic Systems were nice enough to lend us their Solar Backpack for us to test and review.  We’re happy to report that not only does the product function as a well designed, stylish backpack but it charged our cellphones and small electronics in a nicely efficient fashion.  We solar charged it through our glass patio door for a day and then started charging devices – no problems.

Another thing we really like is how the well-constructed backpack looks.  Many solar chargers and gadgets are crappily-made in China or Taiwan and have, let us say, the thrown-together look of something soon destined for the scrap heap – but not this backpack – it’s built to last and won’t embarrass you on the street or campus where we anticipate it will attract the ‘right’ kind of attention.

voltaic1.jpgIt comes with a nice assortment of adapters, including a USB-out-plug for charging iPods, phones etc.  One hour of direct sun will provide 1.5 hours of phone talk time or 3 hours of iPod use.  The battery features indicator lights that let you monitor your stored power level, and the backpack has a little red light on the back that lets you know it’s charging.  The solar panels are nicely integrated, waterproof and lightweight.  The backpack, which has 2 main compartments and a bunch of mesh pockets, is constructed of recycled PET soda bottles and is both UV and water-resistant.  All very green and eco-friendly – too bad I have to send it back…

this 3.5 pound backpack can be purchased for $249 @ voltaicsystems.com

Oh, that’s the talented actor, Zachary McGrath, doing the honors in our photo shoot.

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green outlet concept – energy saving


Designers and engineers have been actively trying to solve the vampire power problem for the last few years.  Smart power-strips and all manner of greenoutlet.jpggizmos have been created to stop devices like home electronics, cellphone chargers and unused computers and their peripherals from sucking up electricity when they’re not in use.  Well, here’s another cool concept submitted by designer Toygar Targutay to last fall’s Design Boom Green Life competition.

The Green Outlet acts like a push button switch with a timer.  Plug in a device or appliance and press in the protruding receptacle, the outlet will automatically set the minimum time duration for that item’s use.  A touch screen on the outlet will allow you to set a longer duration.

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a choice assortment of green news


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