by , 02/07/08

The absolute highlight of our recent Greener Gadget Conference was our end-of-day presentation and live-audience judging of the Greener Gadgets Design Competition. Our favorite Core77 Editor-in-chief Allan Chochinov MCed the highly entertaining event, and we never realized the man was so funny (okay we had an inkling of Allan’s comedic talents, but they really shine in the above video, so check it out).

Using a very high-tech “clap-o-meter” system, judges and audience members debated the various entries to the green gadgets competition, and then selected winners through volume of cheers and claps. Panelist/judges included Ryan Block from Engadget, Valerie Casey of IDEO & The Designers Accord, and me, Jill Fehrenbacher. We’d like to thank everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners… (read on to see the winning entries!)


If you watched the short video at the top and decide you can’t get enough, we have the full-length version of the 30 minute presentation available directly below to watch as well. In the full-length version you’ll see all the weird and wonderful designs that were cut out of the overview, so check it out here.

You can download a podcast of this video here >
(or here if you don’t have iTunes)

Greener Gadgets Conference: Allan Chochinov


Greener Gadgets Conference: EnerJar

FIRST PRIZE WINNER FOR $2500 – The EnerJar DIY Energy Meter Kit
Designed by Matt Meshulam and Zach Dwiel

This little downloadable DIY kit uses household materials to monitor and measure the energy output of a variety of everyday devices, allowing the user to take personal responsibility over energy use.

Greener Gadgets Conference: The Gravia Kinetic Lamp

SECOND PLACE WINNER FOR $1000 – The Gravity Based Kinetic Energy Lamp – Gravia
Designed by Clay Moulton

Reminiscent of a grandfather clock, this gorgeous floor lamp uses the weight of a hefty component to kinetically power itself.

Greener Gadgets Conference: Green Cell Universal Vending Machine Battery

THIRD PLACE WINNER FOR $1000 – Green Cell Universal Battery Sold in Vending Machines
Designed by Theo Richardson

This little universal rechargable green battery would fit in every device known to man (allowing you to throw away that growing charger collection), and would allow users to charge and swap batteries in vending machines all over- providing an eco alternative to crappy Duracells and proprietary batteries.

Greener Gadgets Conference: Green Cell Unviersal Battery


Greener Gadgets Conference: Bamboo Phone

Kinetic Swivel-Powered Bamboo Phone
(Jill’s personal favorite)
A bamboo phone powered simply by the kinetics of its own pivoting? Does it get better than this?

Greener Gadgets Conference: Computer Off Button

Computer Off Button
Okay, so our computers already have on/off switches, but the prominence and sleek design of this uber-button certainly makes energy usage more obvious.

Greener Gadgets Conference: The Stretchy
THE INFINIT-E Stretchy Kinetic Energy Charger
This one might be more conceptual than manufacturable, but we love the idea that elasticity could provide power.

Greener Gadgets Conference: 11 year old entrant MinaAn entry from an 11 year girl – How rad is this?

+ Greener Gadgets Conference

GGCompetitionRyanValerie2Guest judges Ryan Block (Engadget) and Valerie Casey (IDEO)

Greener Gadgets Conference: ReCycle
ReCycle Bike Power Generator
A great way to turn pedal power into real live usable energy.

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  1. supersoyboy July 9, 2008 at 1:02 am

    a wind up lamp would have been just as practical and not as large

  2. debcoveyou April 28, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Hi I have always saved junk and made it into other things, but I know it has not always been the greenist way , but I,m getting much better. Is there a place that a person can buy these items? Such as the laptop.

    Thank you

    Deb in Alaska

  3. Bambus-Handy: Grüner g... April 4, 2008 at 7:50 am

    […] Hülle ist aus Bambus und die Energie entstammt der Drehung desselben um die eigene Achse quasi. Grüner gehts nicht. Vielleicht noch mit Ausnahme des Tantals für den Prozessor.Auf jeden Fall ist allein schon die […]

  4. Part Phone, Part Plant ... April 3, 2008 at 8:32 am

    […] The Bamboo phone was one of the finalists at the 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition. […]

  5. zach @ pennywise March 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I am not so sure that the lamp is such an “out there” idea. I think that 4 hours of power may be a bit much to ask for, but how often do we use a light for 4 whole hours. I think that with today’s decreased power demands on light bulbs, that we should be able to get something similar to this to work using a system of springs like a clock to conserve energy fed into the system by gravity. The gear reduction would probably be huge!

    definite problems to overcome, but perhaps one of the coolest entries with the most potential for change.

    zach @

  6. Inhabitat » ENERJ... March 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    […] turning energy monitoring into an engaging DIY project the Enerjar took first prize in our recent Greener Gadgets Competition. Designed by Matt Meshulam and Zach Dwiel, this little downloadable DIY kit uses common household […]

  7. ' + title + ' - ' + bas... March 9, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    […] and I’ll explain it to you here in simple terms. This mobile phone, a finalist at the 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition, is made out of bamboo. Yes, you heard me right….Keep […]

  8. Zero Energy and Green B... March 6, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    […] phone, by Dutch designer Gert-Jan van Breugel was one of the finalists shortlisted at this year’s 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition (and Jill’s personal favorite). Although this design didn’t end up winning one of the […]

  9. Inhabitat » WIND-... March 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    […] phone, by Dutch designer Gert-Jan van Breugel was one of the finalists shortlisted at this year’s 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition (and Jill’s personal favorite). Although this design didn’t end up winning one of the […]

  10. Natasha Gorodnitski February 27, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    the bicycle one wasn’t more popular? seriously? i think that that would have won.

  11. Jeff Haynes February 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I too was excited about the lamp until I bothered to do the calculations. Now I’m pretty upset that this guy won. I think if we don’t take this seriously it detracts from the overall effort to produce green technology. By my calculations you would need something around an eight metric ton weight to make this work. With ideas like this you’re not going to be taken seriously.

  12. Dethe Elza February 13, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I can explain the 11-year-old’s entry, being her dad and all. It tried to be many things, but I think the core idea was to monitor the environment for toxins and then map the results out on a built-in GPS. It also was designed to incorporate algae as part of the display, and circulate air through them to purify a small amount of air as it is used. And it was supposed to generate its own electricity by shaking it or pulling a cord. But the environmental mapping was the key.

  13. Moschops February 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I hate to be a naysaer but… someone should point out that the Gravia floor lamp would not work. The amount of energy stored by raising a mass is very little and even if there was a 100% efficient generator it would probably only power an LED lamp for a couple of minutes. If you want the math: potential energy of a mass in Joules = m*g*h where m= mass in kg, g = acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s^2) and h = height raised in meters. So even if you hauled a massive 100 kg weight (over 200 pounds!) to 2 meters you’d get only 2000 Joules of energy as it descends (and it would take that much to raise it). At super efficient white LED gives around 100 Lumens per Watt of electrical input (depending on color), so to get 600-800 lumens would require at least 5 Watts and 5Watts is 5 Joules per second so 2000 Joules gives you 2000/5 or 400 seconds worth of light – less than 7 minutes. And that assumes a 100 efficient generator whereas you’d probably be looking at more like 50% efficiency so you’d be down to about a couple of minues and all this is with a super heavy weight that would probably require a big winch to raise.

    I would propose they investigate a system that instead uses a compressed gas or a spring – but then the mechanics of the thing would require a very strong shell. Alternatively they could try winding up a huge rubber band and spinning the weight – I haven’t done the math on whether that would work though.

    And PS – I know these are just ideas and I love the ideas in principle.

  14. George Kontos February 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Please make all these wonderful and all the entries sites and info available! I would love to offer these ideas to our clients of!

  15. Daryl Smith February 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

    You don’t have a link to the downloadable DIY kit for the energy monitor.
    And maybe we can recycle those chargers instead of throwing them away.

  16. CS February 10, 2008 at 8:03 am

    “allowing you to throw away that growing charger collection”

    …throw away, eh? Hmm…

  17. nick stavrides February 8, 2008 at 10:42 am

    great stuff I would love to add a link to your site from my website I would place it in the “information & inspiration section. Keep it up, great stuff

  18. Margie February 8, 2008 at 10:18 am

    My fav is the green cell universal rechargeable battery. I am assuming, though, that there would be a universal charger for the universal batteries so that you would have the option to charge at home vs. use a vending machine every time.

    Why isn’t this possible? I can see that a single size/type might not work for everything, but couldn’t the zillion we have now be reduced to just a few sizes and types? Manufacturers would not want to make the change, that’s for sure, but with enough political push, talk of “green washing”, media coverage, they would be shamed into phasing them in.

    I say we go for it!

  19. Kate Andrews February 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Great results! Looks like the event was a great success. Can you explain more about the 11yr old girls entry?

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