October 31, 2008 / 3:06 PM / 10 years ago

Green gadgets aim to woo eco-aware shoppers

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Gadget makers showed off their green credentials at a technology show in London on Friday to try to tempt consumers worried about soaring fuel bills, climate change and the financial crisis.

The British-designed Lounger, a chair that uses powerful magnets to float in the air, in an undated photo. The "Star Wars" inspired hover chair, a 125 mph electric motorbike and hi-fi speakers that cost as much as a small house are among the attractions at Britain's biggest gadget show in London this weekend. REUTERS/Stuff magazine/ Handout

Amid the usual array of power-hungry televisions, stereos and computers, a handful of companies promoted high tech products designed to cut energy consumption.

London-based firm DIY Kyoto has come up with the Wattson, a wireless device that lets families monitor exactly how much power they are using at home.

It measures electricity consumption and displays the amount of power and how much it costs on a sleek portable box with a digital screen.

The device, which costs 100 pounds, glows red when households use more power than normal or blue when they are being energy efficient.

“The whole idea is to save money and to save the environment,” Jason Goldman, of DIY Kyoto, told Reuters at the Stuff Live! show. “You find people try to get the reading down as low as possible.”

British gadget Web site www.firebox.com displayed a Chinese-built electric scooter that it has converted for sale on the British market.

Called the Ego Street Scoota, it has a 30 to 40-mile range and a top speed of 30 mph. It costs eight pence to charge the bike using the mains electricity supply.

Parked next to it was a more powerful scooter from U.S. firm Vectrix. Its Maxi-Scooter has a top speed of 62 mph and a range of 68 miles at 25 mph. Its latest model has a built-in music player and a system that sends music wirelessly to your helmet.

While nearly all the gadgets on display rely on electricity or batteries, a range of portable chargers from U.S. company Solio uses solar power.

Its device can convert one hour of sunshine into an hour of playback on an iPod or 25 minutes of talk time on a mobile.

The gadget has three blades which fan out to catch sunlight which it then stores in an internal battery for up to a year.

Wearing its heart on its sleeve, one energy-efficient laptop came with a shell made of bamboo instead of the usual plastic or metal in an attempt to reinforce its eco-friendly aspirations.

Taiwanese computer maker Asustek said it used bamboo because it is strong, grows back quickly and is biodegradable. One blogger quipped: “Don’t let your panda near it.”

Editing by Astrid Zweynert and Paul Casciato

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