Mother Earth Living

On The Green Horizon

Hot new technology to lighten your life
By Kelly Smith
May/June 2008
Add to My MSN

These easy-to-assemble lights prove that emulation is the sincerest use of battery.

Content Tools

Designer LEDs

DEKs, short for Designer Emulation Kits, are easy-to-assemble, eco-friendly and artistic light fixtures you create yourself. New York–based industrial designer Mark McKenna’s tribute to his heroes, the diminutive, innovative, easy-to-ship lighting imitates lamps by design greats Ingo Maurer, Achille Castiglioni, Richard Sapper and Philippe Starck.

Flat-packed lamp components, stamped from a circuit board, are simply popped out of the lamp’s shipping envelope and assembled. Attach the lamp to a 9-volt battery, add an LED bulb and— voila! a working light fixture. An LED bulb will shine for about 100,000 hours, for more than a decade of continuous operation.

The lamp kits retail for $30 each and are available at museum shops nationwide. Visit to find retailers near you.

Solar, Size Small

Some say it’s solar’s time in the sun. Sunlight is being harnessed around the globe to drive generators, provide electricity and heat water. Even so, solar power provides a mere sliver of the total energy the world uses; conventional photovoltaic panels are still pretty awkward and expensive and are not all that efficient at harnessing the full potential of the sun’s rays.

Somenath Mitra, a New Jersey Institute of Technology professor, has developed a method to create solar cells that can be applied to flexible plastic sheets. Through nanotechnology, millions of nanotubes—cylindrical carbon molecules that are 50,000 times smaller than a human hair—combine with tiny carbon structures called buckminsterfullerenes (affectionately called "buckyballs"), which conduct solar electrons inexpensively and efficiently.

All very scientific. The miracle, Mitra predicts, is that consumers may someday be able to print solar cells from their home computers or paint roofs and walls with an energy-generating finish. She hopes that the technology will be commercially viable in the next five years. 

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here