Alice Min Soo Chun is a woman driven by a passion to do good and help save the planet, powered by the innovative products she invented with sustainable lighting technology.

Chun is a former university professor who has taught architecture and materials technology at MIT, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. She worked with her students to build and test prototypes for the best results with regards to the material’s functionality, appearance, and durability. The result was the founding of Solite Design and the invention of the Solarpuff Light and related products.

As the old saying goes: Necessity is the mother of invention. This mom took that saying to heart when she was battling her young son’s asthma.

Her son’s condition, as well as a homeless mother and her family receiving light and heat from a kerosene fire at the end of a city street, gave her a packable, inflatable and swimmable solution to reduce respiratory pollution. Inspired to develop solar lantern.

In the middle of the street was a jug filled with kerosene with a large, thick rope coming out of a container lit by fire. Alice knew she had to do something because she thought that children were breathing extremely harmful chemicals and toxins in the smoke every day.

“Solite is much more than being about an item or a product. It is about creating change,” Chun said.

Those experiences made him realize that health, the environment and poverty are closely related. He wondered how a simple solution like Solite could “deal with all three.”

Alice Min Shu Chun, founder of Solite Design
Alice Chun stepped out of her role as a university professor to focus on developing innovative portable solar power technology to benefit the world’s needy and improve their quality of life.

Entrepreneurial Challenges

As a fledgling female entrepreneur and product developer, Chun faced more obstacles than she faced in starting her business. His passion for doing good and helping people who have suffered from natural calamities inspired him to work on his goals.

“For anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, I think the first thing you have to do is really think about how you can help people and how you can solve the problems that life throws at you. better,” Chun offered.

Inventors and entrepreneurs should really love what they are doing because it is so hard, she continued. It’s so competitive and there’s an incredibly tremendous amount of work involved.

“You really have to believe in what you are doing. Otherwise, you are just going to give up,” Chun said.

Solar solutions to fight pollution

Seeing so many children with asthma, which is a much higher percentage today than in childhood, Chun researched the situation and found that pollution in urban environments comes from energy consumption and construction, creating 75% of pollutants in the air. There are.

She learned that it was too early to rapidly change susceptibility in our human gene pool. Therefore, Chun began to focus on solar power as a way of addressing the environmental situation.

Inventors began sewing solar panels to various types of clothing as technological innovations produced lighter and stronger materials. She was developing this concept when the Haiti earthquake struck in 2010.

More frequent natural disasters, such as floods from Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami strike in Japan, and then the Haiti earthquake, fueled his desire to find a solution to the darkness caused by the lack of electricity. Those events inspired Chun to do something to help.

Most recently, Solite partnered with the non-profit organization Florida Rising to send Solitees to victims in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which devastated the Sunshine State after making landfall on September 28.

never ending testing ground

Chun and his Solite supporters have been actively involved in many global disasters. His humanitarian efforts continue with solar lighting for refugees trapped between Russian incursions and war in Ukraine. Those global events include disasters in Senegal, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Senegal and 16 other places.

“I turned my studio at Columbia University into an innovation studio to help Haiti. That’s when we realized Haiti was a microcosm of what was happening globally in areas that don’t have electricity.

“With 2.6 billion people in the world living without access to electricity, they use kerosene, a deadly toxic fuel, to light their world at night,” Chun told TechNewsWorld.

Burning kerosene kills 2 million children every year due to asthma, respiratory problems and toxic fumes. In Haiti, where there is extreme poverty, and people live on $3 a day, they spend up to 30% of their income on kerosene, she explained.

“So that was the moment I started being a social entrepreneur. They could have saved the money they would have spent buying kerosene for lights and could instead buy food for their kids and pay for other needs. were,” she said.

Chun researched every solar lighting product on the market. They were all big, heavy, bulky and ugly. So, she used her childhood experiences while doing origami. This contributed to him inventing the solar backpack. She spent five years testing it with women farmers on the central plateau in Haiti.

kickstarter success

That was the beginning of Chun’s journey with solar power and the development of her Solite product. Thanks to a Kickstarter program in 2015, it raised half a million dollars in 30 days.

At the time, there was an earthquake in Nepal, and as part of his campaign, he increased the funding target for Nepal to include buy-a-give-a-Nepal, a contribution to helping victims there. was a tremendous success.

“We had volunteers who were on our way to Nepal. We lit up small villages on the hill with lights. It was something that we have been doing even now. We have sent light for refugees from Ukraine, and we have a volunteer in Peru,” she offered.

The lighting of sustainable lighting is impressive, including at a church group in Puerto Rico, where Chun’s company provided lighting support during and after Hurricane Maria in the form of lighting kits to thousands of people without electricity.

“There are so many different uses for Solite. Our philosophy is that if we all work together to make a difference, just a small act can make a huge impact,” Chun offered.

solar lantern

Solite is a solar rechargeable mobile LED light source powered by innovative solar technology. The lighting designs resemble lightweight, foldable origami lanterns that mimic the Japanese art form and inflate themselves. Depending on the product, solar power can be stored for longer use with the included solar-rechargeable power pack.

A standard rechargeable solar lantern carries up to eight hours of sunlight through eight hours of darkness. Brightness output varies with product and ranges from 40 to 600 lumens. The high-tech waterproof fabric is designed for extreme weather and swimming, and they fold flat and travel anywhere with ease.

Part of Chun’s passion for the Solite concept is helping to heal the environment. According to Chun, 90 pounds of carbon emissions a year could be saved by using the lightweight and economical Solite technology for an hour a day instead of tapping into the electric grid to run a light bulb.

More R&D

Chun’s current product line provides affordable and sustainable off-grid lighting solutions for individuals. But it is not stopping here, as the new products are in the research and development stage.

There are prototypes in the works that deal with applying Solite technology to applications such as phone charging capabilities.

The pandemic gave rise to another invention, the transparent face mask. Surgical face masks made from polypropylene, a plastic that carries toxins to landfills and the ocean, are used globally. Billions of these masks are thrown away every year.

“It is like a ticking time bomb ecologically for the planet. We have already seen what is happening as a loss to the planet due to all the waste of these polypropylene masks,” warned Chun.

Her solution is a transparent, non-toxic silicone face mask with filter.

Alice Chun wearing a transparent face mask

Alice Chun prototypes a biodegradable transparent face mask with built-in filters that she is developing.

The goal isn’t just to eliminate the toxic waste that accumulates from pandemic face masks. She also wants to get rid of the harm that face coverings cause to children in their formative years and help those who can no longer read lips to communicate.

“Since we were all wearing masks during the pandemic, language development in children was delayed because they could not see facial expressions, and they could not read lips. He had a hard time learning the language. So, the idea of ​​facial transparency is something to help with in the future,” Chun said.

He said that silicon is recyclable. It contains no BPA and is recyclable, and the filters are cellulose biodegradable with 95% filtration efficacy.

credit: Images in this story are courtesy of Solite Design.

Google’s Nest Cam with Battery is a home security camera from Google that provides an innovative portable outdoor/indoor security solution with advanced features at an entry-level price of $179.99.

Now, with a product bundle from smart home accessories brand Wasserstein, the Nest Cam can be paired with a new 3.5-watt premium solar panel that costs $79.99.

This Nest Cam battery-included model has a unique design that makes it a multi-purpose safety device. The video cam is a white sphere with a metal base plate and a strong magnet. Depending on where you install it, you can attach the magnetic part of the sphere to a metal surface or to the included mounting plate.

    Wasserstein Premium Solar Panel for Google Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery) with 3.5W solar power - Made for Google Nest
Wasserstein Premium Solar Panel for Google Nest Cam outdoor (shown here) or indoor, 3.5W solar-powered battery

Then plug in the power cable or solar connection, and the installation is finished. If needed, wall anchors and mounting plates make for a simple setup.

For indoor use, you can easily attach the round camera to a wall or ceiling. The scene is easy to adjust by controlling the magnetic viscosity of the sphere.

The second option lets you move the video camera to different rooms and place it on a flat surface. The assistant is holding the screw in a waiting threaded area.

That combination of permanent or portable installation options makes this video device easy to use anywhere, indoors or outdoors. While it does the job well, it doesn’t come with a helpful user’s manual beyond a quick start guide.

As a result, you’ll have to click through the configuration settings to find out how to get this product your way. To get an explanation of its potential capabilities, you’ll need to follow some of the links included in the guide to a URL containing technical support and other user details.

A better solution would be a downloadable PDF file. But then most things Google has little or no guidelines readily available.

pros, cons, questions

It’s a primarily battery-powered video device with options for using solar to recharge the battery or bypassing a hardwire connection. Its advantage is when permanent electrical power is not available due to weather or other events.

If you use this model to monitor rooms or entrances around your property, be prepared to accept some compromises. But its portability and power options may give it an edge over competing products.

So far, Google has not been transparent about the wireless security safeguards of devices. Nor is the company coming out about key usability questions.

The biggest question I have is how long will the product last due to the non-replaceable battery. Another important issue to consider is low usability if you choose not to pay for ongoing cloud storage from a third-party Google partner.

theory and conjecture

Google estimates the battery to last between 1.5 and seven months, depending on how you use the device. There are a number of options that will affect battery durability. For example, if you run it on household current, will it waste recharge cycles on the battery?

Running this Nest Cam with a solar panel keeps the battery fully charged. But it will depend on the exposure of the solar panel to the sun. According to the manufacturer, the solar panel will operate in cloud-covered conditions at low charging capacity.

So in theory, the life cycle of the battery should be extended somewhat by using a solar panel. If you do not connect a permanent power supply, the solar panel will keep the security cam working through the outage.

But in maybe one to two years of use, you’ll probably need to replace the Nest Cam with this battery.

Good Home Security, Suspicious Privacy

A third use option is to use this Nest Cam indoors to monitor entryways through a nearby window, or as a room monitor for young children or household pets. This option lets you plug the cam into a nearby power outlet.

The device comes with a charging cable and power plug like other electronic gear use. But that doesn’t eliminate the question I raised earlier about the effect of a static power supply overriding the durability of the internal battery.

The camera can be hidden inside or kept out of reach. It cannot prevent hidden personal risks.

If you hold the camera too high off the ground outside, it can limit your view. Very close to the ground, a passerby can easily capture the detachable camera field, which is only magnetically attached to a metal plate.

Another concern is data privacy. Google has said that it will not share personally identifiable information such as names or email addresses with other entities. Nevertheless, the company will not tell users anything more about how it uses your data.

Hey, this is Google we’re talking about here. The company makes most of its money by monetizing personal data.

by agreements

It takes about five hours to fully charge a nearly drained battery using the provided 7.5W AC adapter and charge cable. Again, the battery power consumption is determined by how you configure the setup. If you use this Nest Cam without a site subscription, your live and recorded performance is very different.

Even if the Nest Cam uses Wi-Fi from your home or office Internet connection, you cannot offload storage to your computer system. On-board storage is limited with no removable or expandable storage slots. So, there are some drawbacks to using this portable security video camera without a third-party service.

For example, a Power-connected Nest Cam with a 24/7 video history subscription will record live continuously for approximately eight minutes before switching to event recording. Unlike other Nest Cam products, you cannot save live stream recordings locally with this product.

Without a subscription, your convenience options are less useful. You cannot record to the Nest-Aware cloud without a subscription or any other cloud.

You can record motion detection or event-based video to the camera’s internal storage without a subscription. However, those videos will be removed after three hours.

overuse agreement

Other Nest Cam products work with the Nest application. But this is not a new battery model. It is not compatible with the Nest app or services available on Nest.com.

The Home app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Even so, this camera can and is only accessible through the Google Home app. No Lets you record to your local PC storage.

The Nest Cam battery model has enough internal memory to store up to an hour of recorded events when offline. Google says its internal memory is not accessible for security reasons. There is no doubt that it is also not available to force you to pay a long term subscription fee.

Compared to the less expensive Ring owned by Amazon, the Google-owned Nest has higher video quality, offers professional installation and a longer trial period before requiring a subscription to continue with some features.

For comparison, both Ring and Nest have night vision and noise cancellation features. The Nest lacks a 180-degree range of motion.

what’s in the box

Nest Cam Outdoor/Indoor/Battery Includes:

  • nest cam camera
  • magnetic base
  • wall plate
  • two wall anchors
  • two wall screws
  • A charging cable and power adapter
  • quick start Guide
Google Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery)
Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery)

Weserstein Premium Solar Panels include:

  • One premium solar panel (11″ x 5″)
  • A mounting bracket with three screws and three wall anchors
  • 13-foot power cable
  • user manual
weserstein premium solar panels
weserstein premium solar panels

The solar panel is sold separately, but it makes sense to buy one if you plan to use the Nest Cam outdoors. Wasserstein offers bundles for less than $250.

Notable Features

Artificial intelligence is an unusual addition to this new battery-included Nest Cam. AI creates possible alerts for people, packages, animals and vehicles. You can pick and choose which combination of alerts you want.

Equally useful are motion or activity zones. You can configure which areas you want the round camera to monitor and which areas you want to ignore. This can be quite valuable for reducing or eliminating a lot of unnecessary warnings.

The smart home connects with Google’s voice assistant network that lets you control the Nest Cam from a smartphone using voice commands. If you already have other Google Home products with the Google Home app, pairing this new device is easy.

It connects to your existing Wi-Fi. If not, the Home app is easy to set up. Enter your Wi-Fi credentials and click the “Add New Device” button to connect immediately.

When I installed panels on my San Jose house in the early 2000s, I was an early adopter of the current generation of solar technology, only to see a rapid decline in yield from those panels over the next 20 years.

At our latest home, we use current generation LG panels that promise to hold over 90% of their production capacity for the same amount of time. However, not only am I unable to get the Tesla batteries I ordered last year (I’ve been told I can get them by next summer), I know I’m wasting a ton of energy because of my energy consumption. Usage is unregulated.

A truly green home isn’t just solar. It has a managed energy system so you can optimize usage. But home energy management systems that work well with solar are extremely rare, and I’ve been disappointed with everything I’ve tested.

Lunar Energy, run by former Tesla executive Kunal Girotra, appears to be one of the first next-generation solar companies to focus more on electrical efficiency than generation.

Lunar Solar is an early version of an upcoming wave of companies that will rapidly branch from solar production to energy management, providing a strong ROI for their products.

This week let’s talk about how we manage electricity, and how appliances are made by moving to solar power. Then we’ll end with our product of the week: the new Dragonfly Folio from HP.

problem with solar

Solar energy is cheap. In fact, it’s free but, sadly, the technology we need to use is next to nothing. My previous installation, which was heavily subsidized by the California and US governments, still cost me about $30,000 – even after subsidies – and my current system is closer to $100,000.

The direct benefit is that my electricity bill has gone up from $700 a month to less than $50 during the summer. But winter is a different story. You see, solar energy is powered by the sun. In winter when the sun is low on the horizon, it doesn’t power the panels as much, but you still need the energy to heat the house.

Admittedly, most of my house is now heated with gas, but I would like to go completely electric. It still cut my energy bill by about two-thirds, but the solar only works during the day and when the sun comes out. So, if you don’t want to go dark at night or on cloudy days, you need some sort of alternative power source.

If you are connected to the grid without a battery, you will still lose power if the power goes out on a hot summer day (as happened to me the other day). Batteries are not only expensive, but you must also draw enough electricity to charge them and power your home during the day, increasing the need for more solar-sourced electricity.

Now if you live on-grid, you will not have to pay this every night, but only if you discharge the battery during an outage. If you go off-grid, that means you’ll need about 30% additional capacity.

But what if you also focus on improving efficiency?

Firms like Lunar Energy promise

This is where these next generation solar companies are focused: less on generating energy and more on increasing the efficiency of energy use. While Lunar Energy is working on more efficient whole-house batteries, initially their overall effort is focused more on efficiency than production.

If you can make your home more efficient, you don’t need as much solar or as many batteries. This efficiency focus works whether you are solar powered or powered from the electric grid. You can use an energy management system no matter where you source your power.

You can also potentially do things like power down your chargers when the battery they’re charging is at full capacity and only turn them back on when those batteries are below 50%. This will help the battery last longer and potentially reduce daily energy usage.

In the past, tests of the Energy Star rating system showed huge holes in their process. This manageability will also expose devices that are idle, forcing equipment manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency, and catching people who may still be gaming the system.

next generation solar devices

There are now companies like Sundanzer that have built appliances for off-grid homes over the years, but the features and capabilities of these appliances remind me of what my grandmother had in the 1960s. Manual defrost, no cold water or ice-making capabilities, limited capacity and, for the most part, nothing you’d call attractive. But they are incredibly efficient.

What I anticipate with the next generation of devices from companies focused on solar homes blends the efficiency of off-grid offerings with the capabilities and presence of the current generation of modern appliances – so we can have the features that An off-grid product we want close to efficiency.

wrapping up

Lunar Energy is one of the first generation of solar power companies to focus more on efficient use of energy than its own generation.

I expect that by the end of the decade we will see entirely new companies in the market with increasingly efficient appliances, more advanced home energy management systems, better whole-house battery solutions, and a more comprehensive approach to green energy generation and use. Will see you come

We are just at the beginning of this solar energy wave. Over the next 20 years, kitchen and home designs will change, appliances will change, and we will use AI to ensure efficient use of every watt of energy we generate. Overall, this effort should result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas formation and a major step towards combating global climate change.

Technical Product of the Week

HP Dragonfly Folio G3

I get to review a lot of laptops over the course of a year, and the one that has consistently been my favorite is the HP Folio. This line has gone through several iterations. It started out as a consumer-focused device, went into business with the Elite Folio, which I’m used to writing this, for the launch of its successor: the HP Dragonfly Folio G3.

The Elite Folio fixed my biggest complaint with the Folio was the contrasting colors. It came in brown and burgundy, and I’m sure the ’80s wanted their color back. But the previous generation, HP went black, used updated Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and graphics, and improved the pen dock and SIM slot. With all this, the Elite Folio becomes my favorite laptop of the year.

Well, I just recently got the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 and now my old Elite Folio is sadly out of date.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Notebook

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 / Image Credit: HP

HP found that IT buyers just didn’t want to risk a Qualcomm product. While that chip worked fine for me—and I really appreciated the massive battery life—other users complained about it getting worse. This is due to running an x86 emulator which pulled performance from the part that was performance-constrained.

In addition, Intel has reassured IT buyers that they need vPro, although most don’t currently use that capability (Microsoft is working to make Windows work with ARM that will eventually match performance with Snapdragon). should solve the problem).

So, the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 has improved the camera, added a privacy screen option, and while it has taken a battery life hit, it’s noticeably faster (the Snapdragon part of Qualcomm leads the industry in battery life).

In short, HP took my favorite laptop and made it better, so I’m in love again, and the HP Dragonfly Folio G 3 is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.