EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

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This week at TreeHugger:Gaze upon Sharp's AQUOS HDTVs; they're the first sets (we've ever seen) with the "Mother Nature Compatible" tagline. The Smart Helmet can't keep you from falling off your bike, but it will mark the spot with GPS, activate turn signals with a nod of the head and use siren detectors to mute your iPod. The Green Electronics Guide from Greenpeace puts electronics manufacturers to a TreeHugging test; you might be surprised at who came out on top. And finally, why float down the Mississippi River when you can bike it?

Sharp has hopped aboard the TreeHugger bandwagon, using the "Mother Nature Compatible" tagline to characterize their HDTVs. The company recently trotted out the details of their use of recycled materials, their low power consumption, long operating life, and green characteristics of the Sharp Kameyama Factory where they are made. They factory features "the world's largest solar energy system created with Sharp Solar modules, a co-generation system to reduce C02 emissions and a 100% water re-use system". Sit back, relax and bask in the green glow.


Sure, the Smart Helmet won't actually make you smarter, but it sure has some neat gadgets built into it: GPS so that you can record potholes and other warnings for future rides; turn signals that activate with a tilt of your head; hands-free cell phone and fire siren detectors that mute your iPod. Nice enough, but no Smart Helmet would be complete without this gem: if you get cut off and have to yell at an unruly motorist, the helmet will activate a horn and "honk" at a higher decibel than your voice, so you're sure to get your point across.

Greenpeace may be better known for saving whales than rating gadgets, but that doesn't mean that companies like Apple, Motorola or Toshiba are safe from their mighty green grasp. Based on their recent rankings, we're guessing that Greenpeace doesn't hand out a new iPod with each new full-time job, or give their people RAZRs to use in the field; Apple and Motorola scored in the bottom four (along with Lenovo and Acer) on Greenpeace's new Green Electronics Guide, with Dell and Nokia coming out on top, ahead of HP, Samsung and Sony Ericcson. No word on whether or not the guide considered the spontaneous combustion of computer batteries in their rankings.


EcoModo wouldn't be complete without a story about gadgetry gone wild, and this installment offers no such exception. This week's story of gadgets outside the box comes courtesy of Jim Muellner, the guy who invented the ubiquitous Smart Carte luggage carriers seen across the world in airports. He decided that he'd take a break from riding his bicycle across the country (no kidding) to take a bike-powered paddle down the Mississippi River, so he built recumbent water bikes to pedal down the Mighty Mississipp, with his nephew, Christopher. Sadly, their wacky floating gadgets weren't enough, and the pair pulled out in St Louis, after 660 miles and 23 days. At least their luggage was easy to roll.


TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.