Going green is getting easier, thanks to new innovations in green tech revealed at CES 2018, the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world, taking over a large portion of Las Vegas with more than 4,000 exhibitors, 2.6 million net square feet in show floor and over 180,000 attendees. The four-day event happens in early January every year.
Here's a roundup of a few green tech products that caught my attention and those of photographer John Ivanko. In future posts, I’ll reveal some promising super-rugged tech that might deployed on the homestead or some innovations worth considering if you want to step up your emergency or disaster preparedness.
Water is vital to life, yet according to The Water Project, as many as 1 in 9 people worldwide lack access to clean and safe drinking water. At CES 2018, Zero Mass Water showcased how they’re working to create a smart solution to improve access to safe drinking water and provide an alternative to bottled water to cut plastic waste with their SOURCE “hydropanel”. It transforms water vapor from the air into clean drinking water using photovoltaics and proprietary vapor collection panels. The SOURCE is able to produce 4 to 10 liters of water on a sunny day, or the equivalent of 8 to 20 standard 16.9 oz. containers of bottled water, based on climate conditions and moisture content in the air.
“The SOURCE is using a built-in solar panel to power the process of collecting water vapor from the air and bringing it into our special material, which it then converts into drinkable, safe liquid water,” explains Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, Marketing & Communications at Zero Mass Water. “The water then comes from the [SOURCE located on the] roof or the yard to your kitchen or anywhere you’d like a dispenser, via a very small 3/8” tube.”
From Zero Mass Water’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona to India or Mexico, the SOURCE can operate in a variety of climates and conditions using only water vapor in the air and solar energy. The SOURCE features a battery for production on cloudy days and a 30-liter reservoir to keep you hydrated. The SOURCE utilizes in-panel sensors and machine learning to calculate if it’s safe to operate in the current climate. If the air temperature nears freezing, the SOURCE will automatically enter ‘Hibernation Mode,’ protecting itself until the temperature rises.
At the Zero Mass Water booth at CES 2018, we were able to take a drink of water, freshly collected from an array of SOURCE panels on site. The water was so good, we had a second glass.
Whether you love or hate it, for most of us, computers, tablets and smart phones have become a mandatory part of life and work on the homestead. Yet hours and hours sitting behind screens have been shown to have significant negative impacts on health and wellness. Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative goes as far as stating that “sitting is the new smoking,” with many studies pointing to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
Homesteaders are already super careful on how they grow and what they eat. But health and wellness could be on the minds in our homestead or farm office as well, not just on what we put on our plate or what we raise in our fields.
At CES 2018, I had the chance to take a look at new products from Loctek that aim to create a more ergonomic and healthy workspace. Attempting to get us peddling while we’re typing, Loctek launched their FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro V9 desk exercise bike, providing users the opportunity to get some mild exercise while they post Facebook updates, CSA newsletters or enter receipts into Quickbooks from their laptop. In essence, the Deskcise Pro v9 is an adjustable exercise bike with a small tabletop that can easily accommodate any laptop, tablet or paperwork.
“It isn’t hard exercise, it’s just meant to get you standing and moving,” shares Lane Xiang, CEO of Loctek, while peddling and speaking at a press conference. “Our products show that you can be doing business while still getting the blood flowing.”
Additionally, Loctek’s line of standing desk converters let you take your sedentary time vertical with a unit that sits on your desk that can effortlessly convert from a seated posture to a custom standing desk position. I can’t wait to add their FlexiSpot ClassicRiser M3W sit-stand desk converter to my own home office.
Getting of your chair while working can help combat the health risks like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure associated with prolonged sitting. Working while standing also burns roughly 50 more calories per hour. That might not sound like a lot, but three hours a day for five days a week adds up to roughly 750 extra calories burnt.
The Solar Paper panels snap together with magnets, letting you easily scale the array to your charging needs. Panels also include small holes, allowing you to quickly clip it onto a backpack and charge up while you hike. A two-panel unit is only 9 x 19 x 1.1 cm when folded, and each panel weighs only 2.5 oz. According to YOLK, the Solar Paper is 70 percent smaller and lighter than their closest competitor when comparing it watt-for-watt.
Depending how many panels you link together, the Solar Paper’s output can range from 5 watts to 15 watts. YOLK claims that the basic two panel, 5 watt unit will fully charge a smartphone with roughly 2.5 hours of direct sunshine. The Solar Paper doesn’t have a built-in battery, but you are able to juice up a portable battery bank using its USB port.
It was interesting to see a company at CES touting their solution to the problem of disposable batteries. GP aims to help cut the waste of single-use batteries with their ReCyko+ rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride AA and AAA batteries and smart chargers that provide an ecological option at an affordable price. While GP ReCyko+ are more expensive than disposable batteries, you’ll save in the long run as a single rechargeable ReCyko+ battery is equivalent to 1,000 single-use batteries. The company was also showcasing their GP Charge AnyWay USB AA and AAA battery charger that features Lithium-free batteries, safe for check-in and boarding if you have to catch a flight to a Mother Earth News Fair.
Liam Kivirist is a tech writer, computer hardware geek, drone pilot, fledgling programmer and freelance web developer. Based on a small organic farm in rural southwestern Wisconsin, Liam marries his deeply rooted love of the outdoors, food, and camping with his passion for technology. Connect with Liam at Tech Socket, www.LiamKivirist.com and on Twitter.
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