Soybu: A Bamboo and Soy Bathrobe

by Justin Thomas •

The Colorado Trading Company has created a fabric they call “Soybu” which is a blend of bamboo fiber and soy fiber. The fiber feels like cashmere &#8212 it’s soft and buttery. I haven’t tried Soybu, but I have a bamboo fiber blanket. I’m impressed by the warmth and texture of the material. Two Soybu products are available: this Soybu Micro …

New Soft Helmet Turns Hard in Crash: The RibCap

by Justin Thomas •

The Ribcap is a soft, flexible cap that hardens on impact to protect the head from damage. The secret lies in the use of an elastomeric compound called d3o. It was discovered by researchers at University of Hertfordshire. It’s a shear thickening material, which is flexible when moved slowly, but when it is compressed by an impact, its molecules lock …

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Best Digitial Camera Reviews

by Justin Thomas •

The best source for in-depth digital camera reviews is Digital Photography Review. They have a useful buying guide, where you can specify exactly what type features you want in a camera. The reviews are often ten Web pages or more in length, and feature product views, sample images, features discussions and evaluations on everything from shutter lag to movie recording …

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New “Eneloop” Rechargeable Batteries From Sanyo

by Justin Thomas •

Sanyo has developed a rechargeable battery that comes charged — so buyers don’t have to charge it before use. The new battery is a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cell of the type commonly found in many portable electronics products but with a key difference. Typically, NiMH batteries lose charge over time if they are not used. Sanyo said its new …

Handmade Toys

by Justin Thomas •

This Baby Elephant toy is handmade by artisans in rural Kenya. The octopus is created with natural wool yarn treated with natural vegetable-based dyes. It’s filled with acrylic (kapok would haven been better). The price is $22 from Branch. The also have a number of other non-toxic toys available.

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Yaktrax Ice and Snow Shoe Grips

by Justin Thomas •

Here’s something that allows you to get traction on snow or ice while wearing your regular shoes. These Yaktrax grips are essentially a thick rubber bands, equipped with steel coils, that fit over the sole of your shoes. Apparently the idea was borrowed from the Tibetans. Priced around $20 per pair, available from Amazon.

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Efficient Material of the Year: Bamboo

by Justin Thomas •

Well, this year bamboo takes the prize as efficient material of the year. We’ve got to hand it to the grass that is showing us yet another side of its efficiency. Since bamboo products are still sometimes difficult to locate, we had to track down these items from a number of different sources. First on the list, are two bamboo …

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iT House

by Justin Thomas •

Inhabitat reports on the iT House — a prefabricated housing system that uses glass and aluminum frames as its basis. Created by Bosch, the house is only 1000 square feet, and is designed to be constructed in 8 weeks. It makes use of radiant heat flooring and solar panels on the roof. Homeowners can customize many facets of the house …

Knock-Down/Drag-Out Bed

by Justin Thomas •

This bed can be assembled with nothing more than a screwdriver. The quickly collapsible, and transportable, queen size bed is the latest in knock-down construction — something for the modern nomad without skimping on design.

A Guide to Buying Non-Toxic Furniture

by Justin Thomas •

Wouldn’t it be great to sit in a chair and breath easily, knowing you are not inhaling chemicals like “perfluorooctane sulfonate”. Sustain Lane has a short guide to help you to know what to look for when shopping for furniture. Here’s a summary: avoid PVC, other plastics, high-emitting particleboard, polyurethane foam and synthethic fibers for upholstery, toxic finishes and glues. …