Posts Tagged ‘smartphone’
After spending a good chunk of hard-earned cash on a smartphone or tablet, it is wise to find a way to protect the device from all of the perils of the modern age. Your electronics may be powerful, but they are still susceptible to drops, cracks, scratches, and the occasional teething baby. Portland, Oregon-based company, PRiNK offers a fashionable and sustainable option for those who wish to remain tech-savvy while also keeping the health of the planet in mind. Once we saw that they produce shells for iPhone and iPad in bamboo, we took notice. Upon finding that they helped to fund the planting of 2,000 trees in the Pacific Northwest last year alone from the profits of their merchandise, we simply had to carry their cases. As an added bonus, they have a partnership with Arbor, one of the most enlightened bamboo clothing companies out there. As members of the Forest Stewardship Council and Fair Labor Association, you can be assured of a quality product that respects both humans and the environment.
Bambu Batu plans to be featuring several sizes of their bamboo mobile device cases for iPhones and iPads with the Arbor logo, our famous “Kale” emblem, stylish Om label, and “B Here Now” mantra. Custom etched designs are also available for anyone with a favorite image or artistic streak! Stay tuned for the newest exciting addition to the Bambu Batu family!
Living in an age of rapidly developing technology and planned obsolescence, most of us can admit to still hanging on to a random assortment of old or broken electronics. Finding a place to recycle e-waste can be a bit of a hassle during a busy workweek, and attempting to regain a little of the money spent for our phones, tablets, and music players can lead to obsessively checking your email after posting twenty different Craigslist ads.
Sitting in the Santa Maria Town Center is a novel new machine that can give you cash for your old gadgets in a matter of minutes. The ecoATM allows you to scan your gear, check its global market value, and safely deposit your mobile device. To ensure that the items are not lost or stolen, a valid ID and thumbprint scan is required for each transaction. All deposits are monitored by staff through two cameras, the serial number is extracted and stored, and all devices are held for 30 days before being sold for extra security.
Since its debut in 2011, the company estimates that only 1 out of every 4,000 units have been reported lost or stolen. Most people walk away with at least $25, but some can earn up to $300 for a smartphone in good condition. No personal information is ever taken from the gadgets, and all are either sold to a third party to be repurposed or recycled in facilities that are certified by R2 Solutions or e-stewards.
The inventor of the ecoATM, Mark Bowles was inspired to create his clean kiosk after observing the success of the Coinstar change machines. Seeing as the US trashes over 384 million units of e-waste each year, he knew that selling defunct electronics to refurbishers could mean big business. ABI research sees the market for electronic waste at $15 billion by the end of 2014. About 350 ecoATMs have been placed in 24 states, and Bowles has plans to expand to international markets as well as working on technology to also accept computers.
Now there is no excuse not to grab your gear and do a little e-cycling for some extra cash and an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your unwanted electronics.
Bamboo sounds like a great idea for the music industry. It’s cheap, sustainable, and a great way to amplify vibration. Just take a look at the cheekily-named “loudbasstard“, a zero energy amp made for iPhones, iTouch, and later version Android smartphones. Created by Koh Onozawa and Franz Ignacio, each pair is cut and dyed by hand in Cebu Philippines. Both a way to promote environmentally friendly design and empower the Philippine community, the loudbasstard takes advantage of native craftsmanship and materials to project your favorite tunes.
A simpler, more rustic version of the node speaker is also available through ibamboo. Open at both ends, the cylinder creates a “pseudo-stereo” effect for Apple phones and devices. Rough-hewn and with a black or natural finish, the grass with its own carrying case and recyclable box. Originally began as a Kickstarter campaign, the product has been so successful that it has been featured in the New York Times and is temporarily out of stock.
On a similar note, the iBam 2 combines high quality bamboo with efficient design. With a waterproof carrying case and carved box, the speaker is a perfect low-tech device to take on beach trips or anywhere it might be difficult to find an outlet. As an added bonus, every purchase helps workers and the reforestation effort in Southeast Asia.
Bamboo has been used for centuries to build homes, fashion tools, and create textiles. Now, in the modern era, bamboo is getting a high-tech makeover, protecting our smartphones and looking good in the process.
ADzero: Bamboo lovers, get ready for ADzero, the world’s first bamboo smartphone, created by UK design student Kieron-Scott Woodhouse. The body of the device is made from four-year-old organic bamboo, and has been treated to make the exterior extra-durable. Mores sustainable and less energy intensive to produce than steel or plastic, bamboo is an excellent choice to protect the Android phone. Bigger than the iPhone 4S but weighing less than half as much, the ADzero recently received a very warm welcome at London Design Week where fans were happy to hear that the prototype will be available for purchase by the end of 2012.
Twig Case Co.: For iPhone users, Twig Case Co. offers some stunning laser-etched bamboo and FSC Certified paper cases. Made in Minnesota, the cases are more durable than wood, and range in style from sleek and modern to intricately carved. As an added bonus, each case is shipped from their home base in reusable and compostable packaging.
Grove: Handmade in Portland, Grove creates iPhone and iPad cases for Apple aficionados. Laser engraved, the cases showcase the natural beauty of bamboo. Individual pieces of the sturdy grass are bound together with water-based resins under pressure to provide strength and support for the phone. Each order is hand oiled and sanded, lending a feel of artisan craftsmanship. Grove also features customized engraving, and pre-orders can be made through their website.
Walking along the beaches of the Central Coast, it is common to marvel at the breathtaking scenery, be delighted by the crash of the waves and smell of the salt air, and also be utterly confused as to what the heck you are looking at washed up on the sand. Even as an avid naturalist and beachcomber, there have been a number of times when I have been puzzled as to what I have seen lying helpless and stranded just above the water line. More often than not these mystery creatures are organisms that are unfamiliar, but there have also been instances where trash and other man made debris littered the shore. How do you know what you are staring at, and whether it is normal or a result of climate change, natural disaster, or human disturbance?
Jellywatch- With shifts in climate and human influences changing to composition of our oceans, there have been substantial changes in jellyfish populations. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Jellywatch Android App can help you identify, track, and report what your ocean-side observations. The application congregates data on squid, jellyfish, red tide, and animal sightings along with photographs. All information is added to Google maps and displays graphic information on the heath of the sea.
Marine Debris Tracker- When you see trash on the beach, it may be difficult to know from whence it came. Ocean currents sweep debris far away from their points of origin and deposit them sometimes thousands of miles from their homes on land. University of Georgia researchers and UGA computer systems have joined forces to keep tabs on our massive amounts of floating refuse. Using the built-in GPS technology of smartphones, the Marine Debris Tracker app for Android and iPhones allows users to log information and add it to an ever growing database run by the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative and the NOAA Marine Debris Division.
Project Noah- Launched out of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, Project Noah aims to educate and reconnect people with nature through technology using mobile applications. Android and iPhone users can become citizen scientists by snapping photos of wildlife, identifying what they encounter, and providing critical information to scientists across the globe. Gorgeous, detailed maps display the participant community’s sightings, provide field stats and background info on the animal, join local missions and conservation efforts, and talk with other nature enthusiasts.
Let your smartphone be a power for good! Download these free, educational apps today!
Residents and visitors to San Francisco know that space is a highly valuable commodity. Finding a parking space anywhere in the City by the Bay can be nothing short of a miracle, and owning a car feels more like a liability than an advantage. Car shares such as Zipcar have become popular in recent years, allowing customers to pay a monthly fee to use vehicles on a trip-by-trip basis, letting someone else take care of maintenance, insurance, and garage space.
Now, for those looking for a more hip, compact form of transportation can rent a scooter from Scoot Networks for a fee that costs only slightly more than a MUNI pass. Riders use their smartphones to locate the electric scooters in their area. Once claimed, the phones sit in a special dock on the dashboard, unlocking the scooter and displaying information on speed, range, and direction. Reaching top speeds of 20-30 mph, the scooters are perfect for short hops around the city, and have enough battery life to last for a work day before recharging back in their home parking spots. (At the moment, scooters must be returned to their original pick-up points, but once the fleet expands, Scoot Networks hopes to facilitate more one-way jaunts.) To rent a moped, California drivers do not need to obtain a special endorsement on their licenses, and the company plans on offering training for customers who are unfamiliar with operating the vehicles.
By taking advantage of China’s huge investment in electric vehicles, CEO Michael Keating has been able to benefit from the volume of moped production and pay only $1,000 per vehicle. This relatively small price-tag will let Scoot Networks turn over its fleet every year so users can avoid worrying about mechanical problems due to wear. Scoot Networks will begin by providing rides to private corporate clients before taking their service public by the end of the year. Next time you visit the Land of Fog and Clam Chowder, look for the newest trend in city travel!
This year, I finally entered the modern era with the purchase of a smartphone. When searching for applications that could take advantage of the amazing computing power of this little machine, I was overwhelmed with choices. There are programs that run the gamut from fun to functional, and I was doing my level best not to buy anything that would not keep me too glued to my phone and out of the real world. Being environmentally and socially conscious, I was pleasantly surprised to see a growing number of applications that not only could keep me informed of my surroundings, but may even help to improve how I care for the earth, make smart purchases, and support my community.
Seafood Watch- Concerned about the health of the oceans, but still long for a fish dinner? The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app, a digital version of their popular laminated card, lets you know which fish are safe to eat, most sustainable, and which to avoid. The latest version also allows diners to share their favorite restaurants and markets that provide conscious ocean fare. Sushi guides even give the correct Japanese term for what you order to clear up any cross-cultural confusion. Best yet, it is free to download for both iPhone and Android.
GoodGuide- Making purchases with the well-being and safety of both your body and the planet in mind can be challenging when staring at the thousands of choices lining the shelves of your local supermarket or drugstore. Enter GoodGuide, an application that allows you to search over 50,000 toys, personal care, and household products and rates them according to health, environment, and social responsibility. GoodGuide will let you personalize your app, scan barcodes, and is free to download.
greenMeter- Turn your phone into a vehicle efficiency device with greenMeter, which can help calculate your car’s fuel and power usage, and evaluates your driving habits in order to make the most of your gas money. Results are displayed in real time, and the software asserts that it will pay for itself in savings within 1-2 trips to the gas station. Available for about $6, it might be worth a try if you are looking to change your driving habits and stay informed as to when you car needs a tuneup.
Skeptical Science- Arguing with a climate change skeptic, but too flustered to answer in a succinct manner? Need some help with remembering numbers? Want a good chart or peer-reviewed paper to back up your claim? John Cook’s Skeptical Science iPhone App could help you convert a non-believer using cold, hard data. It also provides responses to the top 10 most used denial phrases. Climate nerds may also enjoy the Global Warming Prediction app that uses land, sea and air temperatures to create aggregate models and forecast the weather.
Sky Map- Looking at the night sky, it could be a bit of a challenge for those of us modern hominids who have lost much of the knowledge of our forebears. Luckily, Sky Map uses GPS, compass, and accelerometer data to take a picture of the stars, and tell you the name of the constellation in question. Moving your phone against the sky, the screen registers a representation of the cosmos where you can search for astronomical curiosities, save searches, turn layers on and off, and track the movement of heavenly bodies. Free for Android users.