Live From CES: Think Poor, And Go Green

By Stephen Cass | January 11, 2009 2:05 pm

cessponsor2.jpgYou’d think that a conference session titled “Greener Gadgets: The Future of Consumer Technology,” would be focused on the latest environmentally-oriented cutting-edge technology to emerge from places like Silicon Valley. In fact, the take-away from the session panel was that if you’re really interested in learning how to build low-power, long-life, non-toxic devices with a small ecological footprint, the kind of places you should visit are Africa and India.

David Floyd, managing director of British company Freeplay Energy, explained why, using the example of a solar-powered radio his firm had developed for classrooms in Africa (the goal was to allow national governments to broadcast educational programs to schools over the airwaves.) Solar power was essential because so few places in Africa have access to electrical power. Other companies had approached the problem by trying to combine an off-the-shelf solar panel with an off-the-shelf radio, but the power demands of the radio, designed for the Western world where electricity is plentiful, doomed those radios to failure.

Instead, Freeplay energy designed the radio from scratch, starting with the assumption that it would only be able to tap the very limited amount of juice a solar panel can provide, with the option of an assist from a built-in hand cranked generator. The result was a solar-powered radio (pictured below) that he claims can work with only a third of the amount of light needed to power traditional designs. This was great for African schoolchildren — and also meant that Freeplay Energy had a solar powered radio that could be easily modified into something that would actually work happily as a consumer product in cloudy England.

John Ryan of PixelQi, a display company heavily involved in the XO, one laptop per child project, went on to point out that a lot of the more toxic substances used in electronics, such as hexavalent chromium, mercury and cadmium, are used as a consequence of handling the relatively high-power flows within modern electronics. Reduce the amount of power needed (an absolute must in developing countries because so little power is available), and not only do we use less electricity and extend how long we can go between recharges, but we can also use less toxic materials in the construction of computers and other devices.

In particular, Ryan pointed to the underlying design philosophy of conventional laptop screens, which is they are basically designed like TVs, where the image being displayed is constantly changing. But computers are actually used for work, which means we spend a lot of time reading or typing, which means the screen does not have to be updated dozens of times a second much of the time. By designing screens that recognize when they are not being used as a video player, power consumption can be cut dramatically. Having learnt this lesson on the XO project, Ryan hopes to develop screens for mainstream western laptops that could use as much as 90 per cent less power, which would have a huge impact for battery life, given that the display is one the biggest consumer of electricity in a lap top.

Freeplay Energy’s solar and crank powered radio

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  • Adya International

    You will be proud to know that ADYA INTERNATIONAL has been a very passionate about the organic way of life, improving lives of a lot of people and showing gratitude towards mother earth. Based in India , we humbly and graciously fold hands to the nature to bless us in all our endavours…

    We are into :-

    1. manufacturing of organic apparel in knitted and wovens for men , women and children

    2. production of handspun organic woven fabrics

    3. production of 100% herbal organic dyes

    4. Fair trade production of recycled paper and cotton waste utility products.

    5. Fair trade production of surface ornamentation on garments and textiles.

    Manufacturing of organic apparel

    Manufacturing of 100 % organic apparels include mens, womens, and childrens wear. I have done this production for all ranges more in knitted wear. We have used :-

    100% organic cotton,

    70% organic cotton – 30% bamboo blend,

    85 % bamboo – 15 % organic cotton ,

    96% organic cotton – 4% lycra (elastanve)

    100% bamboo

    96% bamboo – 4% lycra ( elastane)

    (BAMBOO is known for its antibacterial properties, freshness and deodrance.)

    I am also trying to explore into Soy, Pine and Banana Fibers but I haven’t done any production into them yet. We have done baby wear , T shirts for women in herbal dyes and herbal all over prints, yoga wear for men and women (currently in production), Trendy T shirts for men ( currently in sampling stage) .

    In wovens I have done couture skirts with Ahimsa Silk and tops with 60’s organic cotton and amazing prints. We also sampled Womens Jackets using handspun organic cotton( organic khadi). I am also doing sampling of bathrobes for Spa’s using herbal dyed handspun organic cotton.


    1. Low Impact Chemical Dyes – You must have heard abt these everywhere. 90 % percent of organic garment providers and manufacturers are proudly using these dyes and yet agencies certify them as “organic” . According to me, they are nothing but diluted forms of the same chemical and hazardous dyes used on normal clothing. As if the concentration is reduced from one cup to half a cup. Certain manufacturers (like us) however ensure that these dyes do not have the carcinogenic material, lead , indigo concentrations, chemical washed etc.. So we have a yet softer form of low impact chemical dyes. On the other hand, these dyes are freely available, in all spectrum of colours, infact any PANTONE colour can be produced in these dyes, they do not run and can be screened.

    2. Water Soluble Dyes – These are slightly better form of dyes. They contain water based pigments and are less chemically hazardous as compared to Low Impact Chemical dyes. They too are freely available, in most spectrum of colours, do not run and also be screen printed.

    3. 100% Herbal Dyes – They are the most natural form of dyes. They 100% chemical free natural herb based dyes over our fabrics. This is a patented formula. These dyes are manufactured by herbs and nature products such as henna , turmeric, madder, tulsi etc… We have developed a range of 18 basic colours so far and developing and researching more each day.. They are not available freely , they have 18 basic colours, some of the shades like crimson’s do run in the first wash and are supposed to be washed with similar colours, they can be printed all over, can be screened . On the whole, you may not get that bright ranges as you may get in low impact chemical dyes or water based. But this is the best form of dyes which I always suggest especially for baby or infant wear.

    Handspun Organic Woven Fabrics

    We are direct manufacturers of handspun organic cotton, also known as ORGANIC KHADI. This are organic cotton yarns hand spun, hand twisted and hand woven by handlooms. We dont use any mechanised process or power looms at any stage. ( I can send you a video of this production too ! ) This is absolutely one of its kind product and cannot even be compared to machine woven fabrics ..Just for your knowledge, fabric production of 7 machine woven shirts provides employment to one person, but on the other hand, fabric production of one hand spun ( or khadi ) shirt provides employment to 4 people. We achieve softness by using super combed organic yarns and non chemcial fabric softners.

    (Using this fabric and topping it with herbal dyes couldn’t get any better – its like THE MOST “IDEALLY GREEN” clothing you can ever get !! You gain the blessings of workers, and gain the blessings of the nature through the natural dyes )

    Fair trade production of recycled paper and cotton waste utility products

    Now we don’t even throw the cotton waste ! We simple collect it, mix it with other bio-degradable wastes and mainly paper, and then RECYCLE ! These products are purely hand made from recylced paper and 100% Cotton waste . Paper recycling is the process of recovering waste paper and cotton cloth and remaking it into new paper products.If you would like, I can send you the details of the manufacturing process. Ranges include items such as pen stands, memo pads, wall hangings, phone books, carry bags , utility cases, letter holders, photo frames etc…

    These are ecofriendly and at the same time highly employment generating products.Thousands of workers are involved in this work because of its manual nature. For every order, usually minimum 5-10 workers are required for basic designing and hundreds of them to execute the product

    Fair trade production of surface ornamentation on garments and textiles

    As a part of fair-trade we are creating 100 % handmade products by rural Indian artisans. We contemporize our women’s and girl’s wear ranges using these beautiful hand made products and make it as trendy and wearable for our customers .These products include authentic traditional Indian hand embroideries from almost all the states, mirror works, knotted designs, crochet, knitting, macramé, hand made organic dyes, hand made prints, wax prints , vegetable prints, handmade block art etc… We are also into handmade accessories such as stoles, shawls, handbags, handtags, scarves etc..

    Corporate / Give – away’s / Event’s

    Catching on the Green wave, there have been many Corporates, offices and large quantity clients who have approached us with their requirements – we of course welcomed them to join our bandwagon ! We even made a lot of give away bags, volunteer T shirts for events, “SAY NO TO PLASTIC” totes and a host of other things …

    Yoga Accessories

    I am into yoga bags, totes, mats , rugs , eye pillows cushions, teak wooden blocks, neti pots etc.. You can have these products with and without your logo over it. It could be as personalised as you would want them. They are made with and without organic fibers , however you want them.


    Last but not the least ! Bed sheets , towels , pillow covers …. In amazing self weaves, prints, textures…… whew !


    Thanks a lot for being patient and going through the above write up. I think I have just been born for this mission so I cant limit the flow of writing once I start..

    I will be more than happy if I could be able to manufacture something for the cause you are behind. Being an apparel designer myself, I could probably design some T Shirts free of cost for you ! As long as I meet people with the same cause and the same mission.. my passion for saving the planet just triples !

    I would love to hear from you , answer your queries if any.. Pls also let me know if you would like to see certain sample or swatches.



  • Hardtail Pants

    This is never easy.


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