Commentary
2/29/2008
05:28 PM
Cora Nucci
Cora Nucci
Commentary

Solar-Powered Gadgets Gone Goofy

I'm as eager as anyone to see more products that can be fired up with solar power. But some gadgets should never have made it off the drawing board -- they're just too goofy. Like these.



I'm as eager as anyone to see more products that can be fired up with solar power. But some gadgets should never have made it off the drawing board -- they're just too goofy. Like these. Ermenegildo Zegna Solar Jacket
This is for anyone with fond memories of those fleece Tech Vests sold at The Gap in 1999. Available this spring in finer haberdasheries, the garment has a solar panel-studded collar the size of a mud flap. It can power iPods, cell phones, and any number of small gadgets with USB ports, New Yorker magazine reporter Henry Alford discovered. During a test run last fall , "he successfully power[ed] a Canon P1-DH pal-printer calculator, but fail[ed] to charge a Black & Decker cordless Detail Shrubber." Pricing unavailable.

Solar Toothbrush
Dental researchers in Saskatoon, Canada, are investigating whether a solar-powered toothbrush manufactured in Japan does a better job of eliminating plaque than a standard human-powered toothbrush. A sequence of chemical reactions in the device, triggered by light, negates the need for toothpaste, says the manufacturer. So where will the minty freshness come from? Right. Back to the lab, boys.

Samsung USB Drive With Solar-Powered LCD Display
My thumb drive spends most of its time zipped up in an inner pocket of my bag. When I need to use it, I'm either in the office, or at some other moderately lit workspace, comfortably far from the burning orb in the sky. So why did Samsung think it was a good idea to put a solar-powered LCD display on this thumb drive? Those who click away poolside or on exposed mountaintops may find this cockamamie feature useful. Me, I'm tapping away in near darkness. I don't need no stinkin' solar-juiced USB.

Solar-Powered Big Wheeled Love Seat
One part Burning Man, one part Mad Tea Cups, and one part rickshaw, the Hippy Gourmet's solar-powered big wheel love seat is a vision to behold, and it's surprisingly powerful. Pretty sure it's not street-legal, though.

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