Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best of CES: Green Gadgets

Searching for green gadgets at a consumer electronics convention quickly narrows the field. With thousands of items on display at CES and over 140,000 attendees, sprawled over 2 separate full convention centers, and the meeting rooms of two separate hotels... narrowing the field is not necessarily a bad thing.

The simple challenge I faced in my search for truly sustainable gadgetry was the "electronics" aspect. By nature, electronics are man-made constructs composed of largely not naturally occurring products. They require industry and energy to produce and a power source to run.

Still I'm proud to report that "going green" was a big thing at this years' CES with major companies like Sony, Samsung, LG, Lenova, etc... touting their greener TVs, computers, washing machines, and so forth. I found what this translates to in today's market is "energy efficient" products. They use less energy and often less toxic or more nature friendly materials and packaging. These are great steps forward towards the hopeful future of fully sustainable, eco-friendly consumer electronics.

Still, there were a pioneer few with their eyes on that prize, looking to bring that future of sustainable innovation about today. And finding these planet consious products was like finding diamonds in the rough. So here are my green gadget highlights for which we can all get overly excited about! The issue they all address is eco-energy consumption.

1) The nPower Peg: On the last day, in the last 5 minutes of the convention I found what I think takes the prize for greenest gadget. The PEG, that little green pogo stick is really a Personal Energy Generator that harnesses the kinetic energy of human motion. Strap it to your hip, throw it in your backpack, go out for a walk or run, and the PEG converts your human power into electric energy that will charge your ipod, your cell phone, etc! What this means is never needing to plug your gear into an outlet again! It means endlessly sustainable power! Even motivation for a healthier lifestyle! We want it, we need it now.

For the sustainable minded start-up company nPower, the PEG just a beginning. Next they plan to use the same technology to harness wave power. For their commitment to sustainable energy SuperForest gives nPower our Greenest Gadget award.

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