With hand held devices becoming commonplace in our personal and business lives, we are constantly in search for outlets, adaptors, and batteries. Whether we like it or not, cell phones, MP3 players, PDAs, iPods, and other 5V acronym devices adorn our bodies as if it were a Christmas tree. If that's not enough, there is one more hand-held gadget that I recently picked up. It's called a HYmini, and it serves as "green energy in your hand."
HYmini is a universal charger that can harness solar energy, wind power, or the conventional power from your wall. In essence, it is a mini-power station that can charge the above mentioned devices. Its lithium ion polymer rechargeable battery can complete ~500 recharge cycles and can store up to 1000mAh of capacity. Through a typical outlet, it takes 4 hours to completely charge (you have to use the outlet the first time to charge your battery completely, but after that you can rely on the portable solar battery or supplemental wind power to charge the HYmini). The wind turbine most efficiently runs off of 9-30 mph winds but can reach a maximum of 40 mph. Armbands and bike holders are available to strap to yourself (while running, skating, snowboarding etc) or your bike to harness wind power. Coming sometime this year, a car attachment will be available to purchase so the HYmini can be used while driving. Solar battery attachments (which are sold separately for $24.99) carry a 0.7W capacity and have effectively kept my HYmini partially charged through the week.
The HYmini basic package ($49.99) comes with a HYmini + AC/DC power adaptor + USB transfer cable + 5 phone adaptors (Nokia, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, & Samsung). To make this basic package solely green, you would have to rely strictly on the wind turbine, which the company does not recommend. I personally recommend getting the solar panel attachment which plugs into the HYmini's DC input jack. The panel has supplied enough renewable energy to the HYmini to keep my cell phone and iPOD charged. If you want to charge more, you would potentially need a 2nd solar panel.
Visit HYmini.com for more information and more specials. They currently have a "Winter Sport Special" where you get a HYmini, solar panel, and armband kit for ~$70.
If this is not an immediate purchase for you, please make sure that your other "chargers" don't remain plugged in during the duration of the day. Eliminating the vampire power (power consumed by electric devices while in standby mode) from your footprint can have a significant impact in our dealings with climate change.