CLICK TO BEGIN PRINTING



Solar Gadgets Galore


The sun is awesome. Sure, in a few billion years it’ll go supernova and reduce us and our future machine overlords into basic elements, but for now it’s a great source of clean energy. Why, it seems like every day a new gadget comes out that just needs a cloud-free day to keep itself humming.

If you’re always on the phone, or just like wearing electronics on your head, the new Iqua SUN Bluetooth headset is for you. It’s being advertised as the first solar-powered Bluetooth headset, so you can use it and charge it at the same time without having to plug your head into a computer. The SUN weighs only 14 grams, fits in your ear, and when fully charged lets you yammer away uninterrupted for nine hours. It’s currently offered only by Orange in the UK, where it’ll run you about £50 ($110).

Lost in the wilderness and can’t remember which side of the tree the moss grows on? No problem if you have this nifty little Solar Bluetooth GPS receiver, which claims to operate for 30 hours on a fully charged battery, more than long enough to get your city slicker butt back to the campsite. However, the surprisingly detailed review here points out that when in use, the unit actually draws more power from its battery than it gets from the sun, so you may still have to plug it in once in a while.

My personal favorite solar-thing is this instructional video (via Green Lounge) that teaches you how to MacGyver up a handy-dandy little solar-powered USB charger out of spare parts.  It’s easier than you’d think. Basically, you pry the solar cells out of a set of solar garden lights and hook them up to a female USB cable, and you’ve got yourself cheap, non-polluting power for all kinds of gadgets. Keep in mind that it’s not very green to buy new lamps and trash everything except the solar cells, so recycle some broken ones, which in my experience is most of them anyway.