Go, Go, Gadget Wind Power


High-tech gadgets can be a real boon to the environmentalist. Consider the value of a camera phone for taking happy-snaps of Al Gore accepting his most recent award, or for alerting the world press to the latest rain forest being illegally torched for hamburger fodder. However, our little plastic friends also have eco-issues, notably around disposal and power usage.

Luckily, every day there are new devices coming out to alleviate the guilt created by your gadget habit. One of the more interesting is the HYmini portable charger, which harnesses the wind to power up just about anything you’re likely to be carrying around. This Universal charger and adaptor captures wind energy and stores it to a battery, which in turn is used to recharge digital gadgets such as cell phones, cameras, and music players.

So how much wind do you need? According to the manufacturers, an hour in a light breeze will give you two hours of MP3 time, and an hour on your bike with the HYmini strapped on will provide 15 minutes talk time on your cell phone. Attach it to the window of your hybrid and spend a hour driving at 40mph, and you’ll get 40 minutes of conversation or 8 hours worth of music. (It’s not recommended that users try to charge the HYmini in winds of over 60 mph, so remember to detach before street racing.)  

What’s more, just in case you find yourself becalmed at sea somewhere, a portable solar battery attachment can be purchased separately, giving you two green power options in one (the HYmini can also charge up from a standard AC outlet, although that seems to kind of defeat the purpose). Other accessories will include hardware for mounting the device to a bike or car, and an armband holder for sports enthusiasts not too self-conscious to go jogging with a tiny windmill taped to their arm.

Without accessories, the HYmini weighs in about 3.2 ounces, and will come in a variety of colors. It’s expected to hit the market at the end of October, and will sell for about $50 for a base unit, including cords and plugs suitable for attachment to a variety of digital gear.  If you’re interested in being the first on your block to own one, you can place your order here.

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