This week at TreeHugger: It was a pretty interesting week, between snow in Buenos Aires and Jay Leno's Tesla test-drive, but we still found the time for some quality eco-gadgetry. Some lucky geeks at MIT are converting a Porsche 914 from gas power to electric, to "demonstrate the viability of advanced electric vehicle technology and to help clarify what research and development has yet to be done."
One minute of winding gives 30 minutes of light with these sleek, crank-powered LED lanterns that are way too efficient to use just for camping. We train a skeptical spotlight on the Phonofone, which exploits the virtues of horn acoustics to boost the audio output of your iPod (or other standard earphones) to up to 55 decibels. Lastly, take a gander at these PowerBook earrings. Trust us: your girlfriend wants some.
Students at MIT are trying to take electric cars to a new level by converting a gas-guzzling Porsche 914 to run on smooth, clean, battery power. The students replaced the original engine with an electric motor, 12 of the batteries, the battery-management system, various relays and a controller that makes all the components work together. They say it will have a top speed of 70 to 100 miles per hour and go 100 miles before charging. Their goal: "To demonstrate the viability of advanced electric vehicle technology and to help clarify what research and development has yet to be done." Godspeed, Beavers!
LED torches and lamps are getting so efficient, we're going to have to stop using them just for camping. This sleek, powerful model provides 30 minutes of world enlightenment with one minute of cranking; a full wind gives four hours of five-LED bright light or 48 hours of a nightlight feature with only two amber LEDs. It also has a handy recessed hanging loop, so you can pop it on a table, or string it up on a tree, the top of your tent, whatever. As well as muscle power, it comes with a 12v in-car charger, so you give it a quick boost in the car if you're feeling too tuckered after all that cranking to wind it up. It might just making the great outdoors a bit more hospitable.
WTF is this? We quote the inventor: "Without the use of external power or batteries, the Phonofone inventively exploits the virtues of horn acoustics to boost the audio output of standard earphones to up to 55 decibels which is roughly the maximum volume of laptop speakers. Upon connecting active earphones to the Phonofone their trebly buzzing is instantly and profoundly transformed into a warm, rich and resonant sound." There is something oddly appealing about listening to your iPod with one of those crazy old things made famous by old school record players, no?
Lastly, these awesome DIY PowerBook earrings fall somewhere in between solving all of our e-waste problems and showing that recycling can be geek chic. If you have a lady-friend, she'll want some; if you want to get one, these might lure one your way.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.