Thursday was big day for the little guy. The Greener Gadgets Design Competition, hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), highlighted the most innovative sustainable designs that may be an indication of how technology will advance as early as next year.
Earth911 spent the day interviewing top electronics executives, chatting with up-and-coming designers and staying warm as a snowstorm pounded the streets of Midtown Manhattan.
But the highlight, by far, was the results of the highly anticipated design competition at the end of the day. While hundreds of designers applied, CEA filtered the ideas down to the top 18 and opened the contest to the general public online. From there, the top 10 were presented at Greener Gadgets, where a panel of three judges and a live audience voted for the best designs.
Drum roll please...
First place: AUG/Living Goods Program – A concept that encourages the localization of Living goods (produce, meats and dairy) through the use of a barcoded "Producers" directory. The mobile application scans products’ barcodes and generates information for the consumer. The judges loved this design because it is practical and mobile, two things that other designs lacked this year. This project is still in development and is not yet available to the public. It also doesn't specify if the app will be made for just the iPhone or if it will also include multiple formats for other cell phones with Internet access. While judge Sarah Rich pointed out that this design is very similar to the GoodGuide app, the audience loved it, as evidenced by the massive applause it received.
Second place: Illumi-Charger - A grid-less USB wall outlet that provides free electricity for device charging. As solar classroom calculators harness excess light energy from ceiling lights, so does the Illumi-Charger. The materials that comprise the design are corn starch-based and made from recycled materials. The Illumi-Charger is not available to the public as of yet, and judges say that it still needs a little tailoring before it hits the commercial market.
Third place: Empower - Through ethnographic research, Empower takes advantage of the overlooked and ever-reciprocating motion of a glider style chair for the storage and use of usable power for consumer electronics. The judges weren't keen on this idea at first, as it seemed unnecessary and inefficient to charge a device while sitting down. However, they did agree on one thing: Empower's possible application in public spaces, such as subways and airports. Judge Andrew Wagner pointed out that this just makes sense and is something we should already be doing. Not yet available to the public, this product is still in its early design stages.