Component Connection

EcoFocus April 2012 Not A$ Green A$ La$t Year

Open only to members of the “press”, EcoFocus is an annual exhibition of the latest environmentally-friendly green electronics plus other consumer goods and services, held in April at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

There’s never a shortage of interesting power products that promise to brighten users’ homes while saving them money and not negatively impacting the environment. Over the past two years there’ve been on display intelligent energy-efficient power outlets, items that recycle energy back into the system via exercise equipment, tracking systems that save automotive fuel bills, devices to greenly automate the home, solar-powered rain-water collectors, and, of course, solid-state lighting products to replace those older incandescent and fluorescent components.

This year’s offerings however were less plentiful on the electronics end and more focused on personal services and recycling initiatives. But disappointment is a non-existent entity in my domain and I was able, no pun intended, to weed out a couple of decent entries. 

Tremont Electric, a Triple Bottom Line Green Plus Certified clean-energy startup headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, presented its nPower PEG, which it calls the world's first passive kinetic energy charger for personal hand-held electronics.  The component looks like a foot-long black tube or half a nightstick and weighs around 14 ounces. 

What it does is charge up users’ portable hand-held electronics such as phones, MP3 players, and cameras that use the USB interface for charging. The device provides charging power via its internal 2,000-mAh lithium polymer battery. Where does the battery get its charge from? Kinetic energy generated by the user’s activity, i.e., walking, running, etc. You can chuck one in your backpack, put it in your pocket, or just carry it and your physical motions will charge it up.

Starting with a fully charged PEG, place it vertically in a bag and as you walk, run, or bike, the PEG continually tops off its internal battery. For kinetic energy generation, output varies widely by activity and the device being charged. For example one minute of walking provides approximately 1 minute of listening time on an iPod Nano; 11 minutes of walking provides approximately 1 minute of talk time on a 2G phone call (iPhone 3G); and 26 minutes of walking provides approximately 1 minute of talk time on a 3G phone call (iPhone 3G). Users can also charge up the nPower PEG from the USB port of their laptop or desktop computers.

The nPower Peg operates with devices as small as biomedical generators implanted in a patient or as big as commercial scale wave energy converters in open water. 


Other specs and features include a voltage/current output of 5 Vdc/500 mA, power consumption of 2.5W, and an operating temperature of -30°C to +60°C. In a black Xenoy plastic composite case, the Peg measures 27 cm x 4 cm x 52 mm. Price is $169.99 retail. A video showing the component in action is available on the company’s website. For more info, call TREMONT ELECTRIC, Cleveland, OH. (888) 214-3137.

Deemed the fastest-growing company in the United States from 2009 to 2011 by the International and American Business Awards, iolo technologies, LLC was on hand with the latest version of its award-winning PC troubleshooting, performance-booster, and maintenance application. System Mechanic 10.7 is an all-in-one Windows XP/Vista/7 utility that fixes errors, crashes and freezes, boosts internet speeds, speeds up Windows start time, restores system stability, cleans out clutter and junk files, prevents slowdowns and bottlenecks, plugs security holes, clears out private data, and improves gaming.

New features include CRUDD Remover, what the company calls an industry-first social technology that captures collective intelligence. CRUDD Remover draws from the knowledge and experience of System Mechanic’s user community to help choose which applications to keep and which ones to remove. Integrating technology that captures expert feedback in real-time, a status bar in CRUDD Remover shows how often users have decided to keep or remove each program.

Another added feature, Startup Optimizer adds performance-analysis technology built on a process that measures the effects on PC speed and performance when any program or service is installed. Exclusive to version 10.7, this technology is added to Startup Optimizer. The assessment of a program’s impact on startup speed displays in an easy-to-read graphic that clearly displays the effects of keeping or removing different startup items.

You, like I, might be saying what does a PC utility have to do with green and environmental issues? Well, as was pointed out by a company rep, when a PC gets a bit older and clogged with files, apps, and other little bits of digital debris, it slows down. As a result, the processor starts working harder to access fragmented and disjointed bits of data. Also, there’s a buildup of processes and apps that start to run in the background that also demand extra processor resources. In turn, the PC draws more power and generates more heat: not too green! Clean up the PC and clean up a bit of the environment along the way.

A 30-day trial version of System Mechanic 10.7 is available for free download at the company’s website. Price for a one-year service plan is $49.95 with automatic renewals and subsequent service plans offered at a discounted $29.95 per year. Two-year and three-year service plans are also offered at discounted rates. For more details, visit the company’s website or call IOLO TECHNOLOGIES LLC, Los Angeles, CA. (323) 257-8888.


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