The World’s First Solar Cell Phone

We’ve seen the prototypes and heard the speculation for years now, but here we have it, the world’s first solar cell phone, and you can buy one right now…if you happen to live in China.

HiTech Wealth telecommunications has just begun selling the S116 and the specs are pretty impressive. However, the $510 pricetag will have you wondering why you don’t just get an iPhone. A 1.3 mpx camera, and an MP3 player are fairly standard additions to cell phones these days, but the solar panels do make this guy stand out.

The panels trickle-charge the battery in any amount of light, including indoors (or even by candlelight), and the battery life is 2.5 times longer than it would without the panels. An hour of direct sunlight will give users 40 extra minutes of talk time.

While this first model is pretty exciting, HiTech Wealth will be releasing six more solar phones within the year and has promised 30 solar models before 2009.

Via Inhabitat and Xinhua News

TiTech’s Magic Recycling Sorting Machine

Oh my lord do I hate sorting recycling. But I’m a good citizen, and I understand the benefits, so I do it. Sticky fingers and precious time are a price I must pay. But soon we won’t ever have to do it again.

Air jets and cameras and magnets…oh my! New systems for automatically sorting recycling are completely removing the need for pre-sorting, and thus dramatically improving recycling rates and efficiency across the world. While magnets have been in place to sort tin for ages, TiTech’s Near InfraRed sensor sorts recyclables basically by looking at them.

The technology is able to determine the "type, shape, color and position" of the items. Then, air jets positioned after the camera then launch the item onto a different conveyor system. The system works with 98% accuracy and can process up to 10 tons per hour. Currently 1,000 of these are active in 16 countries around the world.

Eliminating the amount of people needed to run a recycling plant will help to lower the cost and make it competitive to new materials. This is great for people that already buy recyclables, and only encourages those that don’t to make the change.

via Treehugger and the Economist

Visualizing World Polution

When the air is polluted you can see it, smell it, even feel it. But polluted water isn’t so obvious (until rivers start catching fire.) Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin, creators of the River Glow Project, understand that people need these feedbacks. Their solution is a combination of pods containing red and green LEDs and a simple pH sensor. The LEDs light up red if poor water quality is detected and green if it is good.

The project would allow people to see from a distance if the water is good or bad at a cost of less than $1000 per unit.

When things look fine on the surface, it is easy to ignore, but if pollution like this can be visualized, people will certainly pay more attention. I can’t help but think of the statue of Vulcan, the Roman god, who presides over my hometown of Birmingham Alabama. For some forty years, his torch turned shone red on days when there were traffic fatalities. Visualization is a powerful tool, and when it can be mixed with public art, all the better.


Via Engadget