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Tech Culture: Green tech of CES

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Tech Culture: Green tech of CES

4:57 /

We cover some of the green tech highlights out of the annual consumer electronics extravaganza last week in Las Vegas.

[ Background music ] >> Mark Licea: Hey I'm Mark Licea and welcome to 2010. We're still recuperating from our CES adventure so this week we'll show you some green tech highlights to come out of the convention. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:13 [ Music ] ^M00:00:22 >> Mark Licea: Hey I'm Mark Licea here with our green tech editor Martin LaMonica and CES is just wrapping up but so far Martin what are some of the trends that we're seeing to come out of CES this year in terms of green tech? >> Martin LaMonica: Well we're seeing a lot of products that are for managing people's home energy, also things for efficiency like plugs that kill a vampire power and then there's kind of the stuff we've seen before alternative energy through solar chargers or fuel cells and of course every year the TVs and other gadgets are getting more energy efficient so low power is a big thing this year. [ Background music ] >> Mark: So why don't we take a walk around the showroom floor and check out some of the green tech highlights. >> Martin: Alright let's do it. >> Mark: let's go. Now what better place to start than a Best of CES winner for green tech. This is the 10 rate Picowatt smart plug. Why do you think this won best of CES? >> Martin: This is a prototype, eventually it'll be a smart plug that'll go over your outlet and then you plug different things into that. Allows you to see how much energy is being used by what's ever plugged into it, Facebook application where you can see your energy use over time and actually control things and schedule things so I guess I like it because you don't need a whole lot to get it started >> Mark: So you can basically plug this into your Xbox 360 and have it ready for you, turned on when you come back from work. >> Martin: Yeah that kind of thing. I can imagine like a few of these strategically placed around the house you could get a lot of benefit out of it. >> Mark: Now electric cars are not going away any time soon and here behind us we have the Chevy Volt and they just announced something new here at CES with their mobile application so what does it do? >> Martin: With an electric car you need to think about how you're charging the car. You need to know about the charge level, so this new smartphone application let's you do it. It works in the Motorola Droid right now, the Blackberry Storm and the iPhone. You can check your charge mode. So for instance you might want to charge at off peak times to get a better rate that actually is gonna cost a lot of money to charge your car so that's important function. You can get notification like is someone you know kicked a cord in your car when it was plugged into the garage, you can get a text saying it's not charging right now and then we have these remote operation features like unlocking the car and turning on the air-conditioning while it's still plugged in rather than draining your battery. [ Background music ] >> Mark: Now solar panels are a popular market we see a lot of them nowadays and this actually won the iStage competition the Regen Renew solar panel. What do you think makes this solar panel different from others? >> Martin: I mean it's got integrated battery in it so your charging actually a battery which is here, kind of nice touch is this docking station which you don't necessarily need but they have docking stations for music and also lights which is kind of cool so you can have like a solar powered iPod to play your music. Another nice feature which sets it apart to a degree is that it has a USB port so you can charge all kinds of different things with it. There's a lot of solar chargers and we're now getting to the point now where they're a better fit for people to just charge their gadgets everyday you know rather than like putting the huge solar panel in their window and lots of wires everywhere so it's getting slicker I guess. >> Mark: Do you see the consumer market shifting more towards using solar paneled devices like these in the home or even outdoors? How long do you think it'll take before we get there? >> Martin: I think you know the solar chargers you first saw where the things that just charged your phone directly and now we're getting to more better charging stations that happen to have a solar input you know and I think that seems to be where things are going. >> Mark: So this is the Horizon Fuel Cell mini pack and it's one of the devices here at CES that's being marketed as a green charger. So what makes this device green? >> Martin: I guess it's kind of partially green. This is the hydro fill and it takes these canisters hold hydrogen within it and you take these hydrogen cartridges, stick it into this mini pack and then you can charge your phone they say 3 times with this mini pack. It's really just kind of portable power not so much green power. On the other hand if you use the solar cell to get the hydrogen in the first place it would be green. I suspect that most people have to plug it in. >> Mark: So your basically instead of plugging your cell phone directly into the wall you're plugging it into this device that converts water into hydrogen and then you plug that cell into another device that then plugs into your cell phone. >> Martin: It's complicated but that's exactly right and really it's kind of the big value is portable power. You know fuel cells when they work are actually very clean; they make electricity only emissions are water vapor so in that way it's very clean. >> Mark: And that's green tech for this week. You can still write to us of course greenshow@cnet.com. I'm Mark Licea and thanks for watching. [ Music ]

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