This week at TreeHugger:The Delft University of Technology has built a solar-powered mouse, testing whether super-functional, well-designed renewable energy products can encourage users to go green; it seems to us that your hand covers the mouse most of the day and at night the lights are out—perhaps it's best for casual computer users.
In our latest "Ask EcoGeek" column, reader Alan from Dallas wants to know, Dude, where's my electric car? Lastly, the hackers at the MAKE blog encourage us to grab a wrecked Prius and drop the drive train into something that would make a smooth-riding hybrid. We think it could make an amazing weekend project. Of course, by weekend, we mean every weekend for the rest of your natural life.
The Delft University of Technology has built a solar-powered mouse, testing whether renewable energy products, with higher functionality and a touch of design, can encourage users to adopt modern and consistently sustainable conduct. They even have the Minister of Housing and the Environment using one. They are testing the "willingness of the user to adapt his behaviour to favourable light conditions by regularly charging the unit with daylight from the window, and the computer usage pattern. With solar energy, under ideal circumstances charging can occur a factor of five times quicker than in the current situation. Over time it is estimated that several hundred million batteries could be saved annually on a global scale." That's nice, but it seems like your hand is over the mouse most of the time, and that the lights go out at night; maybe it's best for the casual computer user.
In the latest installment of our Ask EcoGeek column, reader Alan Carney from Dallas, Texas wants to know, "Who killed the electric car? Seriously, why can't I buy one yet and when will I be able to?" While there isn't a quick or easy answer for this, we'll take a stab: The reason major auto companies aren't making electric vehicles looks like this. First, Americans were looking for SUVs, not ultralights. Second, the technology was primitive, the biggest problem being that batteries could only take cars a hundred miles before they needed to spend hours at a charging station. Third, major car companies were too foolish to see that, in the next decade, electric cars could quickly become technologically viable and extremely appealing, so they abandoned their projects completely. And now, here we are. Electric cars are technologically viable and extremely appealing, but bringing one to mass market is slow in coming, but it'll happen. Hang in there, Alan!
Lastly, if you have a car lying around which you think would make a great hybrid, then we have the project for you: find yourself a wrecked Prius; hack out the drive train; drop it into your "new" hybrid; ride away in style. We think it could make an amazing weekend project. Of course, by weekend, we mean every weekend for the rest of your natural life. It seems fitting, somehow, that such a green car would be recycled in such an interesting way. Now get hacking!