EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

treehugger-gizmodo-week103.jpgThis week at TreeHugger: Dealing with (and eliminating) "mystery machines" might be the best way to make IT greener. Take a closer look at this ultra-thin, protein-based, anime-inspired computer memory chip; that's right — inspired by anime. We got some hot shots of the new Suissa computer, called Enlighten, a beautiful, endlessly upgradable machine designed to last as long as you do. Lastly, here's what we call "the cutting edge" — a lawn mower you can tow behind your bike in a killer display of pure fossil-fuel-free goodness.

Recently there has been a raft of green IT solutions, including home PCs, but particularly for larger, power-hungry data centres. While home PCs can be as inefficient as to waste 50% of power in making noise and heat, the sheer size of data centres makes them an obvious target for a bit of increased efficiency. It seems though, that the best way to save power may be to turn off "mystery machines." In some companies it may be the case that there are many servers that are left on for no good reason, simply to serve legacy applications. Sun Microsystems was able to cut down 10% of their servers; that's a big difference at the drop of a hat.

It may seem like an unlikely source of inspiration for a new computer memory technology, but "Detective Conan" (otherwise known as "Case Closed") — a popular anime and manga series about a young detective who uses high-tech gadgets to help him solve cases — could have provided the creative spark that led to the development of a protein-based ultrathin memory. How ultrathin? How does a memory chip measuring less than 1 micron in thickness grab you?

We love Suissa computers; they are built like very fine furniture, endlessly upgradable to last as long as you do. Their newest is called Enlighten, and "offers a visually dynamic form which explores the modularity of technology, reflects the movement through time that our memories occupy and provides a tangible home for them." Enlighten "separates those items with which we interface, such as the DVD drive and power button, from those which we do not interface, such as the motherboard, memory, video card and power supply. All the pieces of a computer do not need to be in one block together. The form of Enlighten relates to our changing uses and understanding of the proceeds of our personal technology." Cosmic.

Lastly, check out an example of what can only be termed "the cutting edge." All the fossil-fuel-free goodness of a push (reel) lawnmower with the superior strength of legs over arms in a bicycle. Genius! Whether it works or not we don't know. But just the idea alone makes us feel a little better.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

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