No wall outlet required – just some cool new gadgets on the market that produce their own energy to help electronics defeat their batteries and keep your light bulbs powered. If you want to feel liberated from your plug-in outlet, check out some of these innovative products!
Solar Camera Strap
Any avid photographer is familiar with dead battery anxiety. The dread of your camera shutting down just as a potentially perfect shot unfolds before your lens. With this solar-powered camera strap, developed by designer Weng Jie, you can appreciate that essential peace of mind when taking photos as it simultaneously powers up your camera. It adopts thinner and more flexible solar cells, which are also more durable and efficient, across the width of the strap with storage batteries on the ends. There is a DC outlet which plugs directly into the camera to keep it alive and ready. Professional photographers documenting events can especially take advantage of this inventive camera strap knowing that they won’t miss out on opportune moments or waste precious time changing or charging batteries.
You don’t have to invest in a costly PV system to be a renewable energy user. Solar panels come in all sizes! Portable solar chargers have long been introduced as convenient and mobile ways to use the suns’ rays, but the JOOS Orange raises the bar for sun-bathing gadgets. The JOOS Orange is made from the highest-efficiency photovoltaic materials available (monocrystalline solar cell with silicon nitride) which are encapsulated in urethane for ultimate resilience, even against water, and can charge 3.5x faster than any other portable solar charger. Solar power is generated so efficiently that devices can be charged immediately, even if the replaceable lithium-ion internal battery (which can store energy for later use after charging) is empty and your JOOS Orange is sitting in the rain. The battery can also be hooked up to a laptop with a standard mini-USB cable to charge. The JOOS Orange weights about 1.5 lbs, and has a thin, rectangular shape with adjustable legs for the best sun exposure.
Energizer’s Solar Lantern
This lantern actually can “keep going and going” like the Energizer Bunny thanks to its silicon solar panel. Leaving this lantern in sunshine for 5 hours will give you 2.5 hours of light with 8 LEDs once the sun goes down, ideal for outdoor overnight adventures. There is a dial to adjust the levels of brightness as well as the power source, as the lantern can also be powered by three D batteries as a back-up. If you need 360 degrees of light, the back of the lantern can swivel upwards to expose the other side of the LEDs, great for hanging its handle to illuminate a pitch black tent. Energizer priced this handy tool at only $40 – affordable and renewable!
The sOccket Ball
This phenomenal idea is actually quite simple: move the ball and produce energy! A creative group of Harvard students have found a way to incorporate clean energy into a simple game of soccer. Kicking a sOccket ball around during play time produces kinetic energy using a gyroscopic mechanism, which is collected and stored in a battery within the ball. This energy can then be used to power lights, cell phones, fans, speakers, and other small appliances with its six watt power output!
The sOccket has especially big potential in countries where most people live off-grid and use dangerous kerosene lamps or wood fires for light sources. Playing a 30-minute game of soccer with the sOccket will store enough energy to power a light for three hours, one that does not risk the health and safety of the user. Because soccer is the most popular sport in the world, especially among children, the sOccket can be donated to these resource-poor regions of the world to supply an alternative to these harmful energy sources and give access to light and electricity.
These gadgets are obviously cool and innovative, and attract consumers with an added convenience factor, but do they contribute to a Cooler Planet? It might be hard to think that just charging your small electronics with these types of renewable energy inventions makes any large impact, until considering the potential cumulative influence they have. For example, just spreading word of new green technology keeps clean energy at the forefront of our minds and encourages others to envision future steps in these products. Daniel Goleman explains this distributed intelligence as a distinct human ability that has enabled our survival from the beginning, and one that aligns with social intelligence, the capacity to coordinate and harmonize efforts. These concepts easily apply to the progression of the renewable energy movement as Goleman states three simple rules for increasing our “ecological intelligence” to better our planet: 1) Know your impacts; 2) Favor improvements; 3) Share what you learn.