If we’re going to solve the world’s problems, we’ve got to think creatively. But some green product & tech inventors get much more imaginative than the rest, dreaming up incredibly bizarre and unexpected solutions ranging from the practical to the utterly ridiculous. From rain barrels shaped like human anatomy to light switches armed with finger-pinching mouse trap mechanisms, these concepts take green to the extreme for better or worse.
Hair of the Dog: Pet Fur Sweaters
(images via: if it’s hip it’s here)
If you own a dog, you’ve probably already experienced the joy that is living with pet hair all over everything you own. So why not put down the lint roller and wear it proud? Some people take the love of their dogs to an extreme by having sweaters, vests and other clothing and accessories from all that excess dog hair. It’s certainly more humane than real fur, and puts a waste material to use.
Boat Powered by Human Fat
(image via: the daily mail)
It’s the fastest eco-boat on the planet, and looks like something that traveled here from the distant future. But where Earthrace really stands out from other water craft is its fuel source: human fat, gathered from the body of owner Pete Bethune and two volunteers. The 10 liters of fuel produced by the liposuction procedures helped the boat set a new world record by circumnavigating the globe in two months before it was sold to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and sunk by a Japanese whaling ship.
Brits Save the Planet with Big Butts
(image via: hemingway design)
We already knew the Brits were cheeky, but never realized they’d go so far as using big butts to collect rainwater. Strange as it may sound, it was only natural for a derriere-shaped rainwater container to eventually show up on the UK market – where rain barrels are referred to as ‘water butts’. The Butt Butt comes in three skin tones and has a spigot located just where you’d expect it to be.
The Soccket – Energy-Generating Soccer Ball
(image via: soccket)
It’s a portable energy generator. It’s an incentive to get together and exercise. It’s a soccer ball. What can’t it do? The Soccket is probably one of the most creative oddball green energy generators yet, but what makes it stand out is the fact that it’s so practical. The ball, which captures the energy created when it’s kicked, dribbled or thrown, is designed for use in resource-poor areas where connection to the grid is difficult or impossible.
Switch Me – Or Don’t, Unless You Enjoy Pain
(image via: design boom)
Think twice about whether you really want to turn on that light… because if you do, it’s going to sting. ‘Switch Me’ is a product concept designed by Josselin Zaigouche in a humorous attempt to help people change their wasteful habits.
Water Pebble Monitors Your Water Waste in the Shower
(image via: waterpebble)
It’s easy even for the most environmentally conscious among us to forget ourselves a little bit when we’re relaxing under a steady stream of hot, soothing water. But water tends to come gushing out of showerheads so fast, it’s easy to lose track of just how much we’ve used. If you had a Waterpebble, however, it would be as simple as looking down at the ground. This weird little gadget monitors the amount of water that reaches the drain as you’re showering and displays either a green, yellow or red light. But that’s not all it does – it’s a shower miser, automatically reducing your shower time every day.
Hydroponic Ferris Wheel Garden
(image via: omega garden)
For the low, low price of $2,000, you too can have a ferris wheel of fresh salad greens growing in your home. The ‘Volksgarden’ is a 76-inch wheel of black plastic on a metal frame that rotates around a central grow light, allowing you to grow up to 80 plants indoors while barely lifting a finger. It can even be set up to automatically water itself and turn the light on and off. Perhaps it’s a strange thing to have in a home, but it could play an interesting role in the urban food gardens of the future.
Machine Turns Office Paper into Toilet Paper
(image via: crunch gear)
Need to take a bathroom break at the office? On the way, you’d better gather up those TPS reports and turn them into TP. This machine takes used copier paper and recycles it into rolls of toilet paper right there in your office. Sounds great, right? The real challenge is finding a company willing to pay $95,000 up front for an endless supply of toilet paper.
Wind-Powered Knitting Machine
(image via: engadget)
Wind for the win! Even if you don’t knit (scratch that – especially if you don’t knit) you have to admit that this machine is utterly brilliant. Sure, the sight of a 20-foot self-producing scarf hanging from a machine attached to a balcony is a strange one, but the Wind Knitting Factory by Merel Karhof takes the tedium out of this task, putting the wind to work.
SunCat Solar Batteries
(image via: notes from knut)
Battery chargers prevent a lot of waste, but they still consume dirty energy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just put batteries out in the sun? Well, if this design from Knut Karlsen ever goes to production, we’ll be able to do just that. SunCats are regular old batteries wrapped in flexible photovoltaic cells, wired using a conductive silver pen and some flat wires salvaged from a broken camera lens. The second version will have built-in capacitors to make the batteries more powerful.
Want to Charge Something? Get a Grip
(image via: ecofriend)
Are you sure you want to listen to that iPod, or use your phone? Because if you rely on this unusual gadget charger, it’s going to cost you. Half smart people-power and half deterrent, the wrist grip charger forces you to exercise whenever your gadgets need some juice.
Spray and Wash Gets a New Meaning
(image via: the design blog)
Would you wash your hands in a urinal? It may seem somewhat unsanitary at first glance, but this revolutionary design could save a massive amount of water in public restrooms. It simply places the hand-washing area directly above the drain of the urinal so that water from hand-washing effectively flushes it. Such a design would cut water usage in men’s rooms in half. Not bad for a design that’s really just a tweak of existing facilities, making it easier to implement.