Top 50 Greener Gadget Hopefuls Announced

Top 50 Greener Gadget Hopefuls Announced

Fifty designs have been chosen, but only 10 will make it to the second annual Greener Gadgets Conference later this month.

Voting is now taking place for the top 50 entries in the second Greener Gadgets Design Competition, being run in conjunction with the conference. The 10 designs that garner the most votes will be judged live at the conference, Feb. 27 in New York City, hosted by Inhabitat and Core77.

The event will include presentations and panels on emerging energy technology, what factors make a product green, designs that do good, e-waste and closed-loop systems.

A number of this year's entries are aimed towards monitoring and controlling the amount of energy coming from outlets. The Vampire Plug is a device that chargers get plugged into before going into the wall. Users set how long they want the plug to be used, and it will automatically cut power to the charger, cutting down on the power that chargers typically use when they are left plugged in while on standby mode.

Smart Switches are designed to be used in conjunction with one another throughout a house. As more switches are flipped on, they become harder to turn on during hours of peak demand, giving users tactile feedback about their energy use without preventing them from using electricity. The switches can also be customized to provide more or less resistance depending on personal usage goals.

A modified power meter, on the other hand, provides users with regular updates on their power use, sending announcements through Twitter listing how much power was used each day.

Other designs range from home composting to making kids more aware of the energy they can produce.

The CompostAll is a replacement for in-sink garbage disposals, saving ground up food waste in a removable container. A light alerts users when it is full so they can empty it out in a compost pile.

Fastronauts are toys that are powered up when kids play with them. One figure includes a dynamo that attaches to a bicycle tire, and records how far the rider pedals and how much energy they produce.

Not all of the designs are electronics or interact with energy. An indoor drying rack - made of bamboo laminate and recycled aluminum - is designed with confined spaces in mind, flipping down when not in use, and flipping up to provide a surface for air drying clothing.

And some designs are focused more on sending a message. The Save Our Polar Bear toilet paper dispenser has a polar bear statue at one end, and is set up so when a full roll is on it, it looks like a polar bear sitting on ice. As more toilet paper is used, the "ice" melts away. Then there is the Harddrive, a USB flash drive encased in concrete. When the flash drive is thrown away, the metals inside will never be able to get out.