In the wake of Hurricane Sandy's push along the East Coast, we're thinking emergency preparedness in any form. Stay on top of your family's safety by keeping a backpack-sized emergency disaster kit stuffed with the essentials like a first aid kit, a flashlight, water, and other geeky items like these.
Take your tech outdoors and use the Summer sun to recharge your gadgets. Instead of lurking near a power outlet wherever you go, solar-paneled tools are the convenient way to make sure your gadgets never lose power. Here, we found five practical solar options that will keep your gear charged throughout the year, using both indoor and outdoor light.
The Internet is all aflutter over Ralph Lauren's new RLX Solar Panel Backpack ($795). I've seen this baby grace a number of websites over the weekend, and all seem to have the same sentiment: it's an overpriced yet stylish way to charge your gadgets on the go.
While I wouldn't necessarily describe this backpack as "stylish" (it looks like a laser-tag vest!), I suppose if you were a dude with a lot of gear (obviously, it's a men's bag), it would be a nice accessory. What do you think about this bag ladies and gents — love it or leave it?
Back in February, the Plastiki, a boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles, set sail for Sydney, Australia. The crew of the eco-boat were attempting to sail over 8,000 nautical miles, and hoped to bring attention to the amount of waste that makes its way into our oceans. They described their mission in San Francisco during the launch event, but that wasn't the last time we heard from the crew — they've been blogging, tweeting, posting Facebook messages, videos, and allowed the public to track their exact location via GPS. Not only that, thanks to satellite connectivity, they've been able to use Skype to chat with followers, friends, and family, and stay in touch with us land-dwellers.
The entire journey has been pretty amazing, especially since they've been at sea for 128 days and have powered their vessel, computers, and gadgets entirely on wind and solar energy (along with a sweet power-generating bicycle). We got a good look at the outside of the boat before it launched in February, but take a look at all the tech they've been rocking on the inside in the video after the break.
I'm all about using the power of the sun to juice up my gadgets, not only to save me some cash, but also to help keep the planet lean and green. Although there are no solar-powered cars hitting the streets yet, there happens to be a plane that just completed its first overnight voyage powered entirely by the sun.
The Solar Impulse, packed with 12,000 solar cells, embarked on a 24-hour trip yesterday and landed in Switzerland after flying for a full 26 hours on solar energy. Banking up power from the sun for its overnight leg, the plane reached a top speed of 76 mph and experienced temperatures so cold they killed the pilot's iPod battery! And in case you're wondering — no, it's not a hybrid plane. The Solar Impulse emits no pollution and doesn't use any gasoline. It's an amazing step toward harnessing natural energy for modern-day uses. I can't wait to see more vehicles — planes, trains, and automobiles — going green and using natural energy sources in the future. Want to get involved? Consider adopting a solar cell to further solar energy research!
This weekend marks the fifth annual Maker Faire, where crafty geeks from all around venture to Silicon Valley to show off their handmade goods. One such person is Tom Padula, who crafted these enchanting electronic fireflies — that attach to your plant leaves — from tiny LED lights and solar-powered batteries. Each light is the size of a quarter, and turn on and off for about two hours before needing a new charge the next day. If you're in the area, Padula will be selling his creation at the Maker Faire for $10 each. Considering how much cash you'll save on batteries and electricity, it seems like a good deal for some unique ambiance, despite their tiny size.
With Summer coming up, it's likely that solar will play a big part in evening deck-side activities, and these lights are just one way to add some character to your outdoor space. Between great Ikea finds for your porch, and funky lawn ornaments, there are more and more ways to spruce up your yard with solar. Find out what other fun additions you can bring to your outdoor living areas after the break.
Although Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn't as memorable as its older and younger siblings (did anyone ever actually finish that game?), it had its moments. And with these Ripe Radish Solar Energy Lamps, you can relive your days of pulling radishes out of the ground, only this time in real life. Minus Mario, of course.
The Ripe Radish harnesses solar energy by day, then lights your garden with a crimson hue during your nighttime festivities. A nice alternative to those cookie-cutter garden lights, these lend a geeky Mario touch to a gamers' garden. But that's not all! Find out what else these lights can do when you read more.
Even though the official date is a few days away, it's already Spring at Sugar HQ! I'm loving how sunny it is, especially since it means that all my solar-powered gadgets are gonna get their fill of all-natural juice.
Adding to the list of solar-powered gizmos is Muzatch's MZH-1200 iPhone Power Station ($50). At about half the size of an iPhone and weighing in at a mere 9.8 ounces, it's perfectly sized for travel. A drawback for some and a plus for others is that the MZH-1200 is powered entirely by solar energy. Not bad if you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, but not good if you get stuck in the dark with it. Probably best to keep this baby in the sunlight whenever possible.
Find out how the MZH-1200 works when you read more
- Viacom pulling The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from Hulu — Switched
- The Fail Whale speaks! — Urlesque
- How to DIY your own LED desk lamp — Unplggd
- Augmented reality app Layar is back in the iTunes store — Gizmodo
- World's largest solar-powered boat uses 5,000 panels — Dvice
- Nokia Neuron coming to T-Mobile for $70 — Crave
- Topeka, Kansas renamed themselves Google, Kansas in order to woo Google's high-speed fiberoptics — The Social
- Will Apple add solar panels to its next-gen gadgets? — CNET Crave
- Scott Baio receives death threats for bad Twitter joke — Switched
- Bing adds food recipe search to make you drool — Gizmodo
- Boxee rolls out payment plans — OhGizmo!
- Only wear this SNES controller dress if you want to be fondled — Dvice