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Row gently down the street: Tech Culture

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Tech Culture: Row gently down the street

3:43 /

The Bloom Box sneaks its way onto mainstream media, Sprint wants to buy back your used phone, and a company called HumanCar lets you row gently down the street.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Mark Licea: Hey, I'm Mark Licea, and this week, the Bloom Box sneaks its way onto mainstream media. Sprint wants to buy back your used phone. And you can row, row, row gently down the street. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:15 [ Music ] ^E00:00:22 ^B00:00:25 >> Mark Licea: Do you wanna feel cool driving around in one of these? If so, you can reserve one online. The company Human Car wants to distribute their Imagine PS NEV or neighborhood electric vehicle. That means you can actually ride this in off-highway areas. The vehicle mixes electricity with your muscles and you steer it with rowing handles. You can also charge the battery from any outlet. The company's website lists it at $15,500, but they say it's 100 percent refundable, no questions or strings attached. Human Car says they'll begin production once they receive 800 pre-orders. Okay, maybe not the next big thing, but it looks like a lot of fun. If you follow green tech, you'll know that everyone is talking about the Bloom Box. It was featured on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, and now green tech blogs are abuzz. Here are the facts. Bloom Energy is the company that makes the box. It's a $700,000 fuel cell device that is reportedly twice as efficient as natural gas power transmitted through the grid. The device works by powering a bunch of thin-packaged fuel cells. Each cell combines oxygen and fuel to create a chemical reaction that generates electricity. It can work off almost any kind of fossil fuel or renewable fuels like landfill or biogas. Big businesses like Google, eBay and Walmart are testing them out now. The company's official press conference was on Wednesday, so we can count on hearing a lot more about this. There was a notable mention at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, and yes, it is green. Puma showed off their new phone affectionately titled the Puma Phone. It has a 2.8-inch touch screen and a built-in solar charger on the back. Pretty ordinary specs, but the user experience offers a slew of sports features. It can track how far you ran or biked using GPS. There's also a cutesy digital puma named Dylan, but unlike gigapets, you won't have to feed or walk him. Solar cells are expensive to make, but the smarties at California Institute of Technology say they've discovered a way to make them cheap and efficient. To the naked eye, these cells look like tiny pins or hairs, and in most solar cells, you'd expect fancy, expensive materials. These cells are mostly plastic: 98 percent polmer and two percent silicon. Each silicon wire acts as a solar cell, and the light that isn't immediately captured bounces between the tiny hairs and eventually gets absorbed. A professor from Cal-Tech says the silicon wire array can absorb up to 96 percent of direct light. An added bonus: they're bendable. Sprint wants to buy back their used phones from you. Sprint is expanding their cell phone recycling program to take back up to three devices from a customer and exchange them for credit. The company says over 900 phones qualify for credit. They range from five to $300, and you can find out all the details at sprintbuyback.com. That's it for this week, and we wanna mention that Green Show will be moving to monthly. I've been working on a new video game show with Jeff Bakalar called Pre-Game, and making this show monthly will give us better green content per show and more time to put it together. But keep sending us your feedback and questions: greenshowatcnet.com. I'm Mark Licea. Thanks for watching. ^M00:03:39 [ Music ]

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