This Week’s Must-Haves: a Solar Charger Inspired by Nature

This week, Adweek is highlighting solar-powered smartphone charger that looks a lot like a Japanese Ginkgo tree, a workspace organizer that makes your supplies and devices appear to be underwater, something to make your insoles "smart" and more. Take a look! 


Ginkgo Solar Tree, $120

When it comes to eco-friendly design, "stylish" isn't usually the first word that comes to mind. XD Design's solar-powered smartphone charger, however, is a definite exception to the rule. Inspired by the Japanese Ginkgo tree, the bamboo and recycled plastic charging station uses three solar panels to collect clean energy, which is then stored in a 4000 mAh rechargeable lithium battery. Just plug your mobile device into the pair of USB outlets on the Solar Tree's base—the battery is large enough to provide two full charges.

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Digitsole, $199

Even your insoles are now getting the "smart" treatment, thanks to French wearables startup Digitsole. But before you ask why you need yet another device to track your activity (which Digitsole, of course, can do), consider Digitsole's other key feature: It actually keeps you warm. Using the Digitsole app, you can control the insoles' temperature by one-degree increments, up to 113 F. Come January, your feet will thank you.

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Saent, $45

Need a little help getting down to business? Saent is a system with a simple purpose: make you less distracted. When you press the Bluetooth-connected Saent button, it activates desktop software that locks you into work-related apps and websites and "mutes" unnecessary distractions (looking at you, Facebook). If you do try to switch from, say, Excel to Instagram, a pop-up reminder urges you to stay focused on the task at hand. Saent also lets you track your productivity, earn points and compete with friends.

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Glowforge 3-D Laser Printer, $2,395

Don't let the name fool you. The Glowforge "3-D printer" isn't actually a printer at all. Rather, it's an industrial-grade laser sculptor that can cut, shape and engrave a wide variety of materials, from wood and plastic to fabric and leather. Use Glowforge to etch intricate designs into glassware, make wooden dioramas or cut all the parts for a leather satchel. The hair-thin laser is so precise that it can even create needle holes.

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Liquid Station, $48

Organize your workspace in style with the ultra-cool Liquid Station. Designed by Eugeni Quitllet for Lexon, the desktop organizer makes your iPhone (and pens, keys, paper clips and more) appear as if they're submerged in water—or, depending on your office's temperature, frozen in a block of ice.

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Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale, $129

For some of us, a cup of Starbucks is as gourmet as coffee gets. For others, coffee isn't just a beverage—it's an art. If you're in the latter camp, consider the Acaia smart scale, which lets you monitor and fine-tune the pour-over brewing process, including weight (it's accurate to the nearest 0.1 gram), time and flow rate. When you finally brew the perfect cup, you can save your technique in the Acaia app for future reference.

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This story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.