Surely you can’t buy a neat-looking AM, FM and short-wave radio/torch that works without battery or mains power for less than $40 (30)?
Well, you can now thanks to a rugged new American unit — the Eton Grundig FR200 (buy it at the end of this story). Its just the latest in a long line of self-powered radios, spawned by the Freeplay Foundation’s attempts to bring communications to remote 3rd world villages.
After witnessing a desperate need for alternative energy sources amidst the world’s poorest communities, the Freeplay Foundation was founded in 1998 by the Freeplay Energy Group.
Just turn the small plastic handle on the Eton for 90 seconds and you’ll create enough power for an hour’s radio. It uses batteries or mains power if you feel lazy, but it really needs only as much energy as winding up your watch and without batteries the Eton feels incredibly light. Its heavy-duty splashproof case and powerful built-in torch make it perfect for camping, boating or remote adventures. It looks eye-catching and comes in six colours including metallic red, metallic blue and bronze.
Freeplay Energy products use human, solar and other energy sources — to empower people around the world. Freeplay products currently in production include radios, torches and chargers, which use strip steel springs as the primary energy storage device to generate and store energy when wound by hand. Other products combine solar cells with the windup handle.
Wind-up radios have been used extensively in schools and communities in Africa to spread information and help combat AIDS. They are used widely around the world where power sources are non-existent or in short supply or where consumers wish to avoid batteries. To learn more about the Freeplay Foundation please visit them at www.freeplayfoundation.org.
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