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Six alternative technologies you've probably never heard of

Like far too many others, I know next to nothing about renewable technologies (in fact, I find it difficult enough to keep up with traditional technologies). But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to reduce my carbon footprint -- I just never knew how. Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse, because I found these six awesome ways to be greener (and cooler) in under five minutes. Lucky for you my parents taught me how to share…

6. Body Powered Boots

These boots were made for walking … and charging your cell phone! Each step we take produces 70 watts of power, which was the idea behind GotWind's Orange Power Wellies – rubber boots that convert heat into current. The current model takes 12 hours of walking to charge a cell phone for an hour, but they are expected to advance these technologies to creat more energy faster. For now, less talking, more walking.

5. Solar Powered Pool PC

This one has me wishing the scorching summer days weren’t behind us, and that I had a pool! Now your work doesn’t need to keep you trapped indoors while your friends are all soaking up the sun. This Pool PC, invented by Barry Lai Yin Lock for the NextGen PC Design Competition, is made from waterproof floatable plastic and is completely solar powered, so no need to worry about pesky cords. Instead of an internal fan to keep your laptop from overheating it is kept cool with the water you’re swimming in and attaches to any size inner tube. Did I mention this ultra-hip device has wifi? Yes, please!!!

4. Pedal-powered planes, trains, and automobiles (not to mention motorbikes, helicopters, boats, kayaks, and anything else that moves)

These vehicles all are inventive, but I am most in awe of the pedal-powered Sky Cycle Roller Coaster in Japan’s Washuzan Highland Park. Basically it’s just a leisurely bike ride four stories up, on the side of a cliff, on a tiny little trail. No loops in this ride yet, but you are definitely guaranteed to be living life on the edge.

3. Pedal Powered Washing Machine

Transportation doesn’t need to be the only thing that is pedal pushed; now you can work those calf muscles while you are washing clothes.  Just fill the GiraDora's portable plastic tub with soap and water, put on the lid with built in seat, sit down and start pedaling! When you are done, wash it out, fill with your favorite adult beverage, and bring to the tailgate party as this multifaceted device can double for your favorite party accessory. Did I mention it’s only $40?

2. Water Powered Radio

If like me you have learned your lesson the hard way from bringing your water-unfriendly ipod into the shower with you, then this shower-powered radio from H2O is a great alternative. The only thing better than not getting water damage is not having to replace batteries or constantly plug it into the wall. The radio automatically switches on when the water starts flowing and plays the last station you were listening to.

1. Solar Powered Backpacks

I’m not much of a hiker/camper, but something like the Voltaic OffGrid Solar Backback backpack definitely comes in handy with our power so frequently going out. Within three hours this bag will fully charge your cell phone; take that Entergy! And while I am not much for the outdoors I am all about fashion, so thank you Ralph Lauren for creating your own version for a mere $800. (Staples also sells them for a much more affordable $110.99.)

Rachael Kostelec writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.