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Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Below is a collection of  some of the top eco-innovations of 2012. It’s not a complete list, of course—there were many fantastic, weird, and wonderful ideas that came into being over the last 12 months—but there are a few little gems here that we can tap into to use in our own lives.

Cuppow!

Say it out loud. Really loudly. You know you want to.

cuppow

     

    Cuppow is a reusable lid that turns any jar with a standard mouth into a drinking vessel. Canning jars, mason jars, jam jars—now they can all be used to drink from without slopping your smoothie down the front of your shirt. The Cuppow lid can be sipped-from directly, or you can poke a straw through the opening for a more genteel drinking experience. The lid is made of phthalate- and BPA-free plastic, is completely recyclable, and will likely last you for years.

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    Peel-and-Stick Solar Panels

    solar-cell-sticker

       

      The brilliant beasties over at Stanford have created peel-and-stick solar cells that could revolutionize the way we use solar energy. The cells, made of a silicon, silicon dioxide and metal “sandwich”, are topped off with thermal release tape that allows them to be peeled off and stuck to surfaces such as paper, plastic, fabric, glass… just about anything you can imagine.

      Tiny Houses

      tiny house

         

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        Last year seemed to be the year of the tiny house. Though 2011 took great strides with buildings like the teensy Eco Cube, 2012 saw an enormous number of small-scale, eco-friendly houses being built around the globe. Though miniscule “survivalist” dwellings like these might be a bit extreme, cute little dwellings like those created by the Tumbleweed Tiny House company and Twelve 3 manage to combine sustainable living with adorable, innovative design. This past June, the most recent creation by the Micro Compact Home company was installed near Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, and is an absolute work of art, complete with double beds, a modern bathroom, great storage, and a modern kitchen. These tiny buildings prove that you don’t need a lot of space to live in style, and sustainable living doesn’t necessarily equal living in forest yurts.

        Wind Turbine, Even With No Wind?

        apple-wind-patent

           

          So, this is really new news, and the thing hasn’t been built yet, but apparently Apple has filed a patent for a wind turbine that can produce energy even when there’s no wind. According to the official patent, published online here:

          “…the system uses a set of rotating blades to convert rotational energy from a wind turbine into heat in a low-heat-capacity fluid. Next, the system selectively transfers the heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid to a working fluid. Finally, the system uses the transferred heat in the working fluid to generate electricity”

          From what I’ve been able to glean, it will draw its energy from heat rather than rotation, and can draw on that stored heat in the fluid whenever the wind isn’t blowing hard enough to spin its blades. That’s pretty impressive, right there.

          The Water Bottle that Fills Itself

          self-filling-water

             

            As water pollution renders more and more of the earth’s potable water supplies undrinkable, action is being taken to ensure that people will have enough clean water to survive. Enter the NBD Nano: a water bottle that fills itself by drawing moisture from the atmosphere. The bottle is still in its development stage (they’re hoping to have it available to the public by 2014) but the technology could make a monumental difference in developing countries where clean, safe water is scarce. The inspiration for the bottle came from the Namib desert beetle, whose carapace is covered in little bumps: these allow tiny beads of moisture from the air’s humidity to accumulate until they’re large enough to roll into its mouth, thus allowing it to stay hydrated (and so, survive!) in an environment that’s hostile to most other forms of life.

            As a final nod to eco-innovation, we have…

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            The Energy Belt

            energy-belt

               

              If you’ve been worried about the excess weight you might have put on over the holidays, what with stuffing your gullet at countless family gatherings and all, fear not! There’s the Energy Belt, from the Nano Supermarket. It sounds like something a superhero would wear, doesn’t it? Well, sure… if that superhero needed to lose a few, but wanted to be environmentally proactive about it too.

              The Energy Belt mimics the body’s “brown fat”(which is the beneficial fat that cushions our internal organs), drawing energy from the white fat (the mooshy stuff we get after eating too many burgers) and converting it into Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) energy. That chemical energy can then be used to create electricity, so you could technically power your mp3 player with your own body fat.

              From the official website:

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               “Eat what you want at dinner, and give up that gym membership for good. Energy Belt cuts down on electricity costs while you cut down on size.”

              Considering how many people around the world are overweight/obese, this could certainly be a great way to slim down the population while creating energy to fuel all manner of devices. I’d say that’s a win-win all around.

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              Catherine Winter

              Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on July 8, 2020

              10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

              10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

              Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

              Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

              As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

              In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

              Projects and Tasks Management

              1. Monday dot com

                Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

                The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

                The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

                The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

                Check out the software here!

                2. Asana

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                  The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

                  The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

                  Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

                  Check out the software here!

                  3. Trello

                    Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                    Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                    Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                    Check out the software here!

                    4. Jira

                      The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                      The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                      The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                      Check out the software here!

                      5. Evernote Business

                        Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                        The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                        Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Communication

                        6. Slack

                          Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                          Check out the software here!

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                          7. Spike

                            Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                            Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                            Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                            Check out the software here!

                            Creation

                            8. Office 365

                              Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                              Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                              You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                              Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                              Check out the software here!

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                              9. Grammarly

                                Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                                Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                                Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                                Check out the software here!

                                Team Analytics

                                10. ActivTrak

                                  ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                                  The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                                  Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                                  Check out the software here!

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                                  More Productivity Tools

                                  Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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