This week at TreeHugger: We find the JimX, brother to the Jimi, the recycled plastic wallet; the new model holds more cash. The Human Power Generator is a fun way to pedal your way to energy independence, 200 watts at a time. Sure, consumers around the globe are demanding greener computers, and a number of companies are rushing to supply them, so how green is your computer? We're willing to bet it could be greener. Finally, a quirky invention that goes over like a LED balloon.
Yeah, the Jimi Wallet is an acquired taste, with its limited credit or identification card capacity and near origami-like folding required to coax cash into it, but we're happy to say that we've acquired the taste for the 100% recycled plastic wallet. From being able to push cards out of it like a dealer in Las Vegas, to the comfortable fit in any pocket, there's a lot to like, and just when we thought it couldn't be improved, there's a new kid on the Jimi block: the JimX, for people who just need to carry more cash. We suspect the JimX is an acquired taste as well, but once you get it, you wonder how you lived without it.
Good for emergencies, off-grid applications or for when you just want a little exercise, the Human Power Generator from Windstream Power can be pedaled or cranked by hand to charge 12 volt batteries and run small appliances. According to the product page, the average continuous power that can be generated by pedaling is about 80 watts; 50 watts if you're cranking by hand, though we have unconfirmed reports that Lance Armstrong could do 300 watts and mere mortals can crank it up to 200 watts. Aside from providing endless Lance-chasing fun, the generators work well enough to power a Medeski, Martin & Wood soundcheck — pedal-powered guitars and amps: now that's rock 'n roll.
Consumers around the globe are demanding greener computers, and a number of companies are rushing to supply them. While the the EU has established regulations for less toxic, more efficient, and ultimately recyclable machines, and the US has ponied up just a voluntary standard, which, quite frankly, isn't good enough for Thomas Schramm, a faithful TreeHugger reader. Schramm, the proprietor of GreenMachineShop.com of Ann Arbor, Michigan, issued a press release claiming that "green computers" are largely a myth, and that "The components are usually not manufactured with the environment in mind." Green Machine Shop offers its own product, of course, as an alternative, and claims they "exceed EPEAT and ROHS requirements, come with a take-back program, including the replacement computer, and with a power consumption up to 10% below the industry average." Watch out, Dell!
Lastly, more strange uses of LED's seem to pop up every week. This time, Japan's Asahi Corporation offers the "LED dancing balloon" that responds to sounds by changing color, to produce a zen-like atmosphere. We like the zen-like Google translation: "With the soft lamp where the daily space in the space of healing drastically changes probably will be the ball gives out." Cosmic.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.