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Reporting from the Greener Gadgets Conference

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Greetings from a VERY snowy New York City. Television news just
called it a "snowicane." Kind of exciting for a lady from South Texas!  

The snow made for a lighter-than-expected turnout at CEA's 3rd annual Greener Gadgets
conference yesterday, but those of us who made it saw a clear theme: smarter
energy use in the home.

We saw gadgets and applications such as the
"modlet,"
which let you manage your home's energy use (either plug by plug
or by setting up a "smart grid" in your home) using your smart phone or
Internet connection. Entries in the Greener
Gadgets Design Competition
, which Dell's own Mark
Newton
helped judge, focused more on capturing otherwise wasted energy. The
Empower,
for instance, is a glider chair that charges electronics using kinetic energy.
The competition winner, though, was AUG, an app that uses bar codes to tell
consumers where things on a store shelf came from and how sustainable a good it
is.  

Dell shares this focus on energy efficiency, even in
unexpected places like our new Alienware
M11x
notebook. Gaming systems aren't known for being energy misers, but
M11x lets customers switch between two graphics options, energy-optimized mode
or full-power, high-performance gaming mode, by pressing Fn+F6. They can also
extend battery life by dimming the system's LEDs (keyboard, speakers, etc.) or
choosing "Go Dark" mode, which switches off all the LEDs in the system except
for the main display.

But I'm a fan of sustainable packaging; the engineers who
designed our bamboo
packaging
last year taught me so much about the opportunity (and
challenges) that sustainable materials present. So my "pick" of the conference
came from Ecovative Design. It's
created a Styrofoam alternative (which we need – there's a ton of that stuff in
our landfills and it NEVER breaks down) using agricultural waste like rice
hulls and cotton gin trash.  They combine that with mycelium from
mushrooms, and when placed in a mold for seven days, it "grows" into an
incredibly strong biopolymer. This literally turns trash to treasure, it's
totally compostable and doesn't lose its shape or strength when it gets wet. I
think we'll hear a lot more from these Ecovative guys.  

If you're a Twitter fanatic, you can find tweets from the show by searching hashtag #gg10 (or click on the link). You
can also join me at other green events this year by following me on Twitter at
@mmos3197. Otherwise, you can keep up with the Greener Gadgets Conference here in Facebook or follow discussions here in LinkedIn.

…It's still snowing…

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