Author Options:

Greener Gadgets Design Competition entries Answered

Core77, in conjunction with GreenerGadgets, recently held an open design competition. (See also fungus amungus' post, Design a Green Gadget and Win Some Cash).

Well, the results are in, and there are some really clever and/or far-out ideas among the entries. I figured I would cross post some of my personal favorites. Not all of these are great design, good ideas, or even work - some are just purty. Brenn10 already posted the 2nd prize winner, the Gravia gravity lamp, which has since been retracted by the designer due to it's physical impossibility :-).

In order, we get:

1) Grand prize winner: The EnerJar - an Instructables or Make project if I ever saw one! Now also has its own website with instructions on how to make your own: http://www.enerjar.net/.

2) Arc - a very minimalistic wood surface armband/watch. Kinda like J_Hodgie's Solid Wood Digital Clock 'ible.

3) Plug-in Watch - such a simple idea that if it isn't on sale yet in Hong Kong, I'm sure it will be by next week...

4) Aperture - a shower head that tells you how much water you're using (powered by the flow of water, naturally)

5) Powered by Play! - motion powered and operated Wee/iPhone for 5 year olds. Excellent idea, provided they can make it sturdy enough...

6) Digital Tattoo Interface - definitely one of the more "out there" submissions...


I'm sad to say it, but I'm not very impressed by most of these.

None of these are very original. Why not add a 4g flash drive to the watch. Why not have it powered by motion (I have a watch thats over 50 years old and it is automatic)? Enerjar uses power. The kid thing is just adding more junk (It should have the ability to power itself). The tattoo- It it really that bad too just wear an armband that does all that (or watch). The showerhead- auto off showerheads are nothing new. Sorry to criticize so much, its just that I think people truly don't get it.

Actually, the "kid thing" does have the ability to power itself. Quote from the entry:

Shake the OUiP! left, right, up and down to play games and slide it left and right to view photos using the force sensing interface. These same shakes and slides are what keep the OUiP! charged, by converting them to energy, so there's no need to purchase additional batteries or plug it into a wall. It captures the energy kids expend when they play and uses this power to keep itself going.

I totally agree on the USB watch - just using it to charge the watch is missing a huge opportunity. I included it here precisely because of all the other possibilities it opens up. I've seen other USB watches, but I don't think I've seen one that incorporated the USB connector quite so nicely into the design

Right, I got that it powers itself, I just don't see how it's useful (it makes energy but it consumes it). It's just another piece of tech that has no real use.

What part of "it's a toy" don't you understand? ;-)

Its another toy that will be obsolete in 3 years and end up in the trash.

linuxh4x0r I agree with you it is just another toy that will be in the trash in 3 maybe 2 1/2 years what was wrong with the holohop or bbgun or for that sake the ball

Finally, someone that gets it! Toys don't need to be electronic. Kids need to develop imaginations, not have some toy do it for them. Why does the toy need to be powered anyways. We did fine without electronics, why can't they? Its just creating consumerism and waste.

In a way, that is kind of an odd outlook for here. I would have expected to hear that at Care2, where technology is the enemy and where it would be best if all children went back to playing with a ball and cup (not that that wasn't fun in the day) or a button on a string; and no trees nor animals were ever used again for anything, etc. Those things are ok to start with, but we really shouldn't be "limiting" ourselves and our offspring either. Sure, we could be very much greener, rather quickly....turn of all the lights, and go to bed when it gets dark....take out the furnace and huddle together when it gets cold....walk to work (you live an hour's drive away? Find something closer, even if it is a downgrade in pay)....sure we could do a lot of things...but no one is going to. So we must do what we can do. It is better then not doing anything at all.

Keep each other warm at night, and take showers together to conserve water! lol!

Well, showering together, you could hardly call it saving water LOL

True, I suppose you would be spending more time in there....

Yeah. My landlord could save a whole HEAP of money if he would just invest a little now and then. A bit of redoing the plumbing in the bathroom, and a newer then 1908 shower configuration would go a long way towards such a goal. If he installed a shower head that could be turned off....all the better. This way, one can get the proper water temp. and then get wet, turn off the shower head so that no water flows, soap up, wash, and turn the head back on to rinse off. BIG savings not having the water run for the full 15-20 minutes of the shower.

but that is true of even more power hungry toys, yes ? So doesn't this one then make a little contribution ?

It's better, but definitely not the solution

It takes more then one "step" to get to a goal. Somethings must be done, in one leap (like crossing the Grand Canyon from the top), but most things require a lot of little steps along the way to get from here to there. It will be the team effort that wins in the end.

Great compilation Patrik! These are really great projects. Hopefully some time soon we don't need contests to bring out the green projects that people make.