School bells are starting to ring across the country and tech-savvy students are bringing gadgets to class in droves - we've seen US schools hand out iPads while entire education systems are transitioning textbooks to digital format. To help students get a leg up in this increasingly wired academic world, we've rounded up 14 great green gadgets that will keep you charged, get you to class on time, and could actually improve your studies - read on for our full list!
We’re big fans of Thinksound’s stylish line of wooden headphones, so we were thrilled to see that their new TS02+mic model has a built-in microphone that allows you to seamlessly switch from listening to tunes to taking calls. Like all of Thinksound’s earbuds, these TS02+ headphones feature sustainably sourced wood housings that resonate to reproduce warm tones, and they come with cables that are completely free of PVC.
Riding a bicycle is hands-down the best way to get to class, but showing up a sweaty mess is an uncomfortable way to start the day. Enter the Fast4ward Edge, a versatile folding e-bike that will take you up hills and across campus with ease thanks to its powerful 250 W electric motor. The bike’s lithium-ion battery has a maximum range of 25 miles, and once you get home it easily folds down into a compact form that can easily fit inside the most cramped dorm room.
Picasso, Hemingway, and Chatwin all used Moleskine notebooks – however we have a feeling that at least a couple of them would have picked up an iPad if they had the chance. Fortunately for today’s aspiring writers and artists, these chic DODOcases will protect your precious tablet will all the panache of the legendary hard bound journals. Best of all, DODOcases are handmade using book binding techniques and feature a durable structure made from sustainable solid core bamboo.
Morning classes can be a drag and some professors sometimes punish tardy students, so make sure that you make it out the door on time with this brilliant water powered alarm clock. Simply fill it up with H2O from the tap and it will tell the time, date, and temperature for two whole weeks. If you forgot to refill it, fear not – the clock will retain all of its settings for two minutes after it has drunk its last drop.
Every student knows the financial (and physical!) burden imposed by a semester’s stack of school books, so this year why not lighten your footprint and take a load off your back by picking up a Kindle e-Reader. This pencil-thin portable tablet has access to over 950,000 titles, can store up to 3,500 books, and its energy-sipping display and hardware allow it to last for up to two months on a single charge.
E-readers and tablet computers are great for reading books, but taking notes on them has always been a tedious process – until now. Meet the HTC Flyer, a 4.3 inch tablet that comes complete with a stylus pen and specialized software that makes jotting down a lecture’s pertinent points a snap. You’ll be sparing paper pages from the recycling bin and your notes can be easily backed up in digital format, which takes the bite out of the “dog ate my schoolwork” bit (computer viruses are another matter).
We encourage students to go paperless whenever possible, however there will always be professors who demand a hard copy of every essay. If you have to pass in paper stock then consider an ink-less printer like the Printstik p900, which uses thermal printing technology to reproduce monochrome text and images. The compact device weighs about 1.5 pounds and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Coffee is an important source of energy for late night study sessions, however most espresso machines are energy-hungry behemoths. By contrast, the Presso is a pared-down recyclable aluminum espresso press that produces a perfect shot without all the extra power-sucking bells and whistles. Simply pour in a serving of (Fair Trade) espresso grounds, add hot water, and pull down the devices handles – you’ll be caffeinated in no time and you can kick the disposable Starbucks cups to the curb.
Note taking just jumped into the future with the arrival of the LiveScribe Pulse Smartpen – a brilliant writing utensil that records audio from lectures and synchs it to a digital copy of your notes as you take them. A built-in camera keeps track of what you write, so you can point to notes from a tricky point in the lecture and it will play back the accompanying audio. You can even download a digital copy of your notes for save keeping, and smart software allows you to search for key phrases. Try that with your no. 2 HB.
Busy students will often spend the entire day on campus without heading home, which makes it a challenge keep gadgets like phones, mp3 players, and ipods charged. The K3 Wind and Solar Power Charger is a great green solution that can tap the sun’s rays and the prevailing winds to produce electricity practically anywhere, making it just the thing to juice up your gadgets between classes.
Eke even more green goodness out of your bike by using it as a renewable energy generator with Nokia’s USB bike charger. This energy-generating gizmo consists of a bottle dynamo, a charger, and a phone holder. Simply attach the dynamo to the front of your bike as your wheel spins it will send electricity to the charger, which can power your phone, camera, or mp3 player.
The greenest gadget is the one you already own, so if you’re a smartphone or laptop user consider synching your notes with the cloud via Evernote. This versatile app works with virtually every computer and mobile device on the market, allowing you to capture photos, notes, and lists wherever you may be and instantly synchronize them with all of the rest of your devices.
Solar panels are a great way to keep gadgets charged throughout the day, however the technology’s high price point can be a deal-breaker for students on a tight budget. Nokero’s P101 solar power panel offers an inexpensive solution that comes complete with a USB cable so that you can harness the sun to provide power to a wide range of electronics.
Starke’s new line of high-tech bikes come complete with hub-mounted dynamo charging systems that can be used to power built-in lights, an integrated USB charging port, or a pedal assistance system that can give you a boost for 45 minutes on a full charge. The bikes’ streamlined design keeps all that fancy technology hidden – until you need it most.