In almost my last post from this year's Grand Designs Live show in London I'm sharing some of the items I found in The Green House. It was a place that showed off the latest innovative gadgets and green technology and it was like all the best things interactive, so you could really see how some of these might become the norm for our houses.
Let's start with the Microgarden, which is as you might have guessed inspired by origami. It's a kit for a mini-greenhouse, made from a transparent waterproof material which allows you to watch the entire growing process. You might be thinking what's so special about this, but after 10-14 days, without watering once, the microgreens are ready to eat. So it's a fun and innovative first step to growing your own food.
The Urbancone by Electrolux creates healthy microclimates outdoors and it can purify the air around an entire city, as well as in our homes. It lifts up and flies in the air because of its ultra light construction and solar panel wings which when they're moving resemble a jellyfish. It purifies using the filters on the undersides of the wings and it's an automatic, radio-controlled smart device which can be used in areas that need greater filtration.
If you think it looks a bit space age, you're not wrong although I quite like the design of the concept that was on show, however with the RRP at £6,300 I think there's probably a bit more work to do yet.
The Vektra Eco Kettle on the other hand is available now and it's the only kettle that can keep your water piping hot for 4 hours from just one boil. It uses vacuum insulation, like a flask and uses a low energy element to heat your water and then keep it hot. That means more cups of tea from one boil, which I can definitely see the advantage of. The outside stays cool to the touch and as it's completely sealed you could move it around the house with you too. With a RRP of £75 it's probably more expensive than a lot of kettles, but it's a similar price to Dualit kettles, so I don't think that's excessively out of reach.
The EGO Smart Socket allows you to monitor the energy consumption of any appliance from your smartphone, as well as setting timers for automatic switching of devices. You can also eliminate standby time by setting it to turn off appliances which have been left on standby for too long.
Along with the Showertime it can help you reduce your energy use, save money and save the environment too. The Showertime device show your current water usage and sounds an alarm when you have used your pre-determined amount of water. So overtime you have a shower you press the button and the device shows you how much water you've used.
The ECOEGG Laundry Egg was born out of the lack of alternatives to chemical laden laundry products that were kind to the skin as well as being natural and effective. It's a complete replacement to regular laundry detergent and contains a scientifically forumulated, patented cleaning pellets. It's these that are the secret to the Laundry Egg's learning power. Each one lasts three years, so that works out on average 3p per wash. It's RRP is £19.99 so could be a real alternative to usual washing powder.
The Mogees Pro is a novel technology that turns physical objects into unique musical instruments by converting the vibrations that we make when we touch them into sound on the fly. It's combined with a mobile app that detects and analyses the acoustic properties of physical objects and augments them to create music.
Now PETE is clever. It's a way to recycle PET bottles and print your own clothes! It really is a special kind of recycling bin and it'll be interesting to see how this develops. Clearly this is just a prototype and not yet available on the market, but watch this space!
And yes, this is a wall of old speakers. While it's visually interesting and unlikely to be something that we'd have in our main living areas, this display was all about The Vamp. There are many bluetooth speakers on the market, but none have matched the sound quality that proper speakers bring. The Vamp is about bring life back to millions of speaks which still exist in our homes and delivering great sound at affordable prices.
It turns any old speaker into a great sounding portable bluetooth speaker, with 10,000 speakers a month being sent to UK recycling centres there's potentially a huge market out there. The RRP is £49.99 which isn't that expensive when you think about it, and you're recycling an old speaker too.
This one, like PETE before is a bit out there. It's called Set to Mimic and it's a set of smart kitchenware that recreates tastes and smells of your food to your preference. By placing a non-invasive transparent gel patch with a microchip on your head, the plate and glass communicates wirelessly with your brain, to make you experience a test or smell from the past by tapping into your memory. That way you can eat a carrot but have the impression that you're eating an ice cream or a steak, which it says makes it easier to lead a healthy life.
I'm not so sure, because if every meal tasted like steak or ice cream then surely you'd be fed up of eating the same thing. I also can't work out how texture comes into play here because carrots, steak and ice cream are all very different. Anyway I don't need to worry about this just yet as it's only a concept. A pretty weird one, but still a concept.
So there you go, a glimpse into eco products that are available on the market today and perhaps some that might be available us to in the future. Either way, there's some very clever thinking going on...