9 exciting green technologies from CES 2015

9 exciting green technologies from CES 2015

Toyota's fuel cell vehicle at CES 2015.
Toyota's fuel cell vehicle on display at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. Following Tesla's model of open-sourcing clean tech, Toyota made patents used in its fuel cell vehicles available royalty-free.

This article originally appeared at 2degrees.

1. Smart scooter

It's described as the world's first "smart scooter" and has been developed to meet the challenges of rapidly expanding cities. The Gogoro Smartscooter is a zero emissions, electric powered two-wheeler designed to be both user-friendly and accessible to the mass market.

One of the big selling points is that riders won't need to wait to refuel or recharge it. The company has announced plans for the Gogoro Energy Network, a battery swapping infrastructure. That means when the lithium ion cells become depleted, users can make a six-second swap at any GoStation for a fully charged battery pack. Batteries can be reserved in advance, and a subscription-based payment model offers unlimited access to as many charged batteries as needed.

The Smartscooter is packed with 30 onboard sensors, cloud connectivity and an integrated Gogoro mobile application that enables the scooter to find the closest GoStation, deliver detailed scooter diagnostics, customized regenerative braking and track ride details.

2. Electronic 'undershoes'

Could strapping a pair of these to your feet be an answer to curbing urban congestion? Given that most traffic moves at an amble, this product from French company Rollkers is claimed to increase a person's average walking speed to up to 7 mph. Company founder Paul Chavand, conceived the idea based largely on the magic feeling he experienced when using the "travelator" or the moving walkway traditionally found in airports.

As he deemed it unfeasible to equip an entire city with travelators, he inverted the problem and focused on integrating the technology into footwear. "People drive and take public transportation that pollutes the air and environment with nasty emissions; and Rollkers helps to reduce that to some extent," he said.

The product is expected to be available for licensees in late 2015.

3. Mobility for the masses

The automotive sector is always out in force at CES and this year was no different. Ford has used the event to announce a series of 25 mobility "experiments" to take place around the world.

In Bangalore, India, Ford is working with Zoomcar to test a sharing concept that would allow small groups  co-workers, apartment dwellers and families  to share a vehicle among multiple drivers. In London and New York, the auto maker is investigating a shareable service of mini-buses offering point-to-point pick-up and drop-off on-demand with the aim of better understanding the social dynamics and routing requirements of shared transportation. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Ford is working with Georgia Tech on technology that makes it easier for a driver to locate a parking space, reserve it and navigate to the space with the goal of reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

4. Accelerating the hydrogen future

Toyota has followed in the footsteps of Tesla by revealing at CES 2015 that it is making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty-free. The auto giant hopes the initiative will spur development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world.

The list includes about 1,970 patents related to fuel cell stacks, 290 associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 related to fuel cell system software control and 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply.

Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc., said: "The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers. By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically."

5. Self-driving cars

For Audi, CES was a chance to demonstrate its driverless technology.

An Audi A7 arrived at CES in Las Vegas, Nev., after a 560-mile journey from Silicon Valley, much of it piloted by itself, proving its capability of driving in traffic.

The drive was made possible by a change in California's laws allowing testing of driverless cars on public roads as long as an experienced test driver was in the passenger seat. The concept vehicle used various production-ready sensors as well as sensors integrated into production vehicles today that detect the vehicles surroundings.

6. Wearable environmental monitors

Wearables were center stage at CES, including this, the "wearable enviro tracker" from TZOA.

It incorporates a sensor for measuring air quality, UV as well as other things such as temperature and humidity. Unlike traditional environmental sensors that tend to be large and expensive, this one is designed to be affordable and simply clip to your clothing or bag.

According to TZOA, particles in the air  such as those from vehicle exhausts  have the greatest global environmental effect on human health and is the top metric for air quality levels in highly polluted cities such as Beijing and Delhi. The device alerts you about the state of the air quality with a notification via your smart phone and also uses the data captured to create a street-level pollution map in your community — enabling you to avoid them in the future.

7. Portable solar charger

On the clean energy front, Solpro launched what it says is the industry's fastest portable solar charger, which enables a standard smartphone to be charged in 90 minutes — compared to the typical nine to 20 hours. Small enough to fit in a pocket, Helios Smart allows up to two devices to be charged at one time and works with most smartphones, tablets and other USB-enabled devices.

"We want to make solar charging the new way for consumers to power all of their devices on-the-go and off-the-grid," said Bill Pike, CEO of Solpro. "The idea of solar charging is compelling, but the reality for busy mobile consumers is that it is just not viable for everyday use. Helios Smart has changed all that, and is now the only charging device a person will need for all their on-the-go power. We have moved solar charging beyond the realm of specialty or limited use and brought it to the masses."

8. Smart air-conditioning

A solution to help you get more energy efficient in your home came from start-up Sensibo. It's developed a device that makes a standard remote-controlled air conditioner connected and intelligent, and saves 40 percent on its energy use. It lets users control their air-conditioning with an app that automatically adapts to your lifestyle and changes units settings when appropriate.

9. Connected homes

At CES, Nest announced a raft of more partners to its "Works with Nest" concept. This makes Nest devices compatible and able to interact with other things both inside and outside of your house with the aim of making a smarter, more connected home.

Partnerships have been developed with third party companies including electric vehicle charging company Chargepoint, which means your thermostat can let your charging station know when energy is in high demand so you can avoid charging your car when electricity is most expensive.

Also, the Kevo Smart Lock from Kwikset Kevo can tell your Nest thermostat who is at home and what temperatures they like or when no one is at home so your thermostat doesn't waste energy.

Which of these technologies do you think has the most promise? Add your thoughts below.