View New Gadgets

GreenEye uses current wireless infrastructures

Jusi Timonen - United States

Want to know how many gallons of oil it took to import that natural spring water? What about importing a foreign-made car. Does the lifecycle of the vehicle warrant the energy used to transport it thousands of miles? Or the workers who made these sneakers--were the conditions environmentally safe? GreenEye is a gadget that will inform consumers about the TRUE ecological footprint of any product--from consumer electronics to groceries.

GreenEye uses current wireless infrastructures (GSM, 3G and Wi-fi networks) through bluetooth compatible mobile devices, e.g., a bluetooth mobile phone (who doesn't have one?) to communicate with expanding consumer product global databases—a neutral database created by GreenEye and nonprofit environmental organizations or other interested groups (e.g., universities, research organizations, NGOs).

How does it work? The user sets the current location information (e.g., Los Angeles, CA) and waves the looking glass over a product's barcode (or recognizable trademark logo). GreenEye downloads the standardized package of sustainability information; this information is displayed on its OLED display (through lenses of recycled glass) and includes:

1. Sustainability score based on current location
2. Energy used
3. Carbon footprint
4. Logistics / locality
5. Materials / packaging
6. Health effects / toxicity
7. Social aspect / fair-trade values
8. Recycling / life cycle

The micro-sized laser scanner and low megapixel digital camera allow for product brand graphics recognition making it visually interesting and easy to understand on the spot.

GreenEye is compatible with PC and MAC software, which communicates with the global database and creates a profile of products purchased over time. The user can also add products not tagged onsite and the information will compile a profile over time of the user's ecological footprint and make suggestions for better product choices.

GreenEye looks and functions as a magnifier on a necklace. The gadget is connected to a cord by a USB connector clip. The cord is actually the battery called Organic Radical Battery and is ultra-flexible and environmentally friendly (it does not contain any harmful metals).

The GreenEye main body is manufactured either from injection-molded, recycled thermoplastics or made from various recycled metals from aluminum to precious metals. Users have a choice in its manufacturing and choosers of the precious metal option are guaranteed that the product will be recycled properly and purely to the value of material itself.

At the end of its life, if not recycled, it can be reused as a quality magnifying glass.

GreenEye is a nonprofit organization that funds the database and supports other nonprofit environmental organizations that protect resources. GreenEye's mission is to make the gadget available to all users through any mobile device.