Hurricane Sandy knocked out power for much of New Jersey, and at our house we lost power for about a week. Unfortunately, it was the same week we were scheduled to move out, so we found ourselves doing all the last minute packing in the dark. Luckily we weren’t totally on our own, as my handy Etón emergency radio kept us happy with music, a flashlight, and the chance to top off a smartphone once in a while. Basically, it was the first thing we grabbed when the power went out and the very last item we packed. So I was thrilled when I was at CES last week and had the chance to tour their booth; I knew them for their emergency radios, but they have a whole line of eco-powered products!
Personally, my favorite part of the visit was checking out their Rukus series of speaker systems. They vary in style and size, but all of them have solar panels and USB ports to charge a smartphone as well. Plus they all use Bluetooth, so you aren’t tied down to a dock connector or particular operating system. Obviously, streaming audio over bluetooth is a bit more battery hungry than an FM radio, but I think these are a logical progression for a company like Etón. It combines parts of their fantastic emergency radios with a chance to stream your own music, and if Sarah ever makes good on her threat to make me try camping, I’m definitely going to see if I can sneak one of these into my backpack!
Etón had a whole series of backup batteries with USB ports as well, but the other item that they highlighted at the booth was theproducts. These are true “emergency” batteries, where you can crank for one minute and get enough juice for 30 seconds of calling. But if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, or the power goes out unexpectedly and you desperately need to make a call for help, you don’t need a ton of time. And you don’t need to sit there worrying about whether you remembered to charge a backup system. It’s simple, but designed to keep you safe.
Etón uses the tagline “Empowered by Nature”, and they take it very seriously. It’s not often that hand cranks, solar panels, FM radios and USB ports can collide into something special, but Etón nails that across multiple products. As we learned during Hurricane Sandy, it’s far too easy to forget that power and connectivity are just a tree crash away from disappearing…but with the right products you don’t need to disappear along with it!