7.12.2009

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The latest issue of the Swedish magazine Camino there is a guide indicating how eco-friendly the Swedish music festivals are. In the UK, things have been taken to a much higher level. As part of their Glastonbury Festival sponsoring, Orange has designed a new concept tent creating a truly mobile home for the wireless generation. Well, they had some help from the product development company Kaleidoscope.

The tent is made of photovoltaic fabric acting as a solar panel transforming the rays to energy. This is used for the central wireless control hub displaying energy generated and consumed as well as providing a wireless internet signal. If you are cold, the energy can be used to heat the floor. If you want your tent to be warm when you come back, just set the temperature level and the sensors will do the rest. Another feature is the “glo-cation” technology that helps you find your tent in the dark. Just send an SMS and your tent will provide a welcoming glow.

At the Frisksport Riksl├Ąger in S├Ątila last week, I was in charge of the mobile phone charging station/information booth. Although not as cool as the The Orange Chill ‘n’ Charge tent at the Glastonbury Festival, it was still fascinating to see the large number of people paying 1€ to charge their phone. Not to mention the number of gadgets left behind after the camp closed. Outdoor life is no longer what it used to be.

I introduced my latest favourite thing at the camp: The Sun Jar. It looks like a traditional Mason Jar with a glass lid and a rubber ring, but it contains low energy LED lamps, a rechargeable battery and solar cells. During the day you put it in the sun. Since the jar is water proof you don’t need to worry about letting it being outside all day. During night it will provide the most wonderful warm glow.

Apparently you can also get it in blue and pink. Perhaps something for Orange to consider, since it might be a bit difficult to find your tent if the concept turns into a really popular product. If they for some reason insist on keeping the orange colour, a pulsating light can be an alternative. Just like you can compose your phone signal, you may perhaps in the future be able to create your tent ditto and maybe the Morse code gets a revival.

Of course I know that this kind of stuff is not really eco-friendly at all. Despite the solar panel, this is just another piece of nice-to-have technology. Applying a life cycle assessment would probably reveal several drawbacks with my new favourite toy: the materials used, the transport, the production methods and so on. However, in comparison to tea lights the Sun Jar is safer to use in tents!