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The Green Life: 3 Futuristic, and Realistic, Green Gadgets

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January 24, 2014

3 Futuristic, and Realistic, Green Gadgets

Nest Thermostat Auto-AwaySometimes it feels like thousands of fantastic new devices are created every single day. From revolutionary solar and electric vehicles to aquafarms where the fish grow your food, we've been trying to keep up with all the the latest inventions. Now we've discovered three cool gizmos that would impress even the Jetsons. You may notice these innovative objects are rather independent, making your life greener and easier at the same time. While they're not all available for purchase currently, we're confident this will change in the not-so-distant future. Check out our list to see what's on the horizon.

Self-cleaning dish

This dish was created by Hanna Billqvist and Anna Glansén of the Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine in collaboration with the Swedish Forest Industries Federation and the research firm Innventia. The dish is made out of nanocellulose, which is primarily made of cellulose, the same organic compound that is the primary component in plant cell walls. Glansén described the super-hydrophobic coating as all-natural and engineered to mimic the lotus leaf's ability to wick away moisture. According to their website, the dish saves resources during the manufacturing process and during use since it doesn't need water or chemicals to be cleaned. Currently, the dishes are not available for purchase because the water-repellent coating hasn't been approved for food consumption, but we like the idea of less water-intensive dishes (and less having to wash them).

Self-programming thermostat

Nest Labs, a company founded on the idea of creating "a more conscious home," built the Nest Thermostat, a thermostat that programs itself based on your habits. After you complete the straightforward installation, the Nest Thermostat asks you a few simple questions and optimizes itself for your system. It learns from your habits of turning the temperature up or down within a week, making it easier to make your home more energy efficient without having to remember to adjust your thermostat each day. If you teach the thermostat good habits, it can return the favor by lowing your heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent. Which is good, considering the price tag attached. The Nest Thermostat is available now on their website and Amazon.

Self-ejecting socket

The PumPing Tap, designed by Seong Soyeon, Kim Seonmi, Lee Jeongjae, Park Jihye, and Lee Yeontaek, already took home a Red Dot Design Concept Award, and it's about to take your home by surprise. The PumPing Tap is a spring-loaded electrical socket, with the goal of stopping "vampire power," or the energy sucked up by an appliance that is plugged in but not in use. The socket senses when you've finished using an appliance, and a lighted ring surrounding the socket will turn from blue to red to signal it should be unplugged. If after 10 minutes the appliance hasn't been used again or unplugged, the spring ejects the plug out of the socket. While this nifty device may not be reasonable for your refrigerator or alarm clocks, it would definitely work for smaller appliances that don't reset every time they're unplugged, like televisions and coffee makers. Unfortunately, it is not yet available to be purchased, but we're counting down the days until it is.

--Image by Nest Labs

Jessica ZischkeJessica Zischke is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is currently studying environmental studies at Dartmouth College, where she also works as a staff writer for The Dartmouth newspaper.



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