As you probably read in your iPad edition of The New York Times, the gadget and gizmo world is inundated with the latest technology aimed to help you keep plugged in while lowering your environmental footprint.

With so many green tech devices currently out there (that once-lonely solar/crank flashlight is now in good company) the big question is: where do I begin? Since MNN has a (mostly) healthy obsession with green technology and design, we’d like to lend a helping hand and recommend a few fresh tech items for the eco-minded. From energy-efficient bladeless fans to ivy-inspired solar panels to a quintessential solar charger, each of these eco-innovations is unique, inspired and totally game changing. Now without further ado, game on.

The Andrea air purifier

An eye-catching gizmo that can truly be tagged as green, Andrea is a houseplant-based – aloe vera, spider plants, peace lilies and red-edged dragon trees are said to perform best – filter-less air purifier that boasts some serious design – it was on display at the Museum of Modern Art – and tech – the prototype won the 2008 Popular Science Inventions of the Year Award – cred. Resembling an oversized terrarium gone intergalactic, Mathieu Lehanneur and David Edwards’ indoor air quality-improving device is “the first award-winning designed air filter capable of absorbing toxic gases, such as formaldehyde, from home and office environments by enhancing the natural absorptive properties of living plants.”

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Dyson Air Multiplier

Dyson Air MultiplierThe Dyson Air Multiplier, a bladeless fan from the UK’s undisputed innovative vacuum cleaner king, Sir James Dyson, is one of those gadgets that elicits a reaction that begins as “what in the Sam Hill is that?” and quickly morphs into “must have that now.” Available in three models, table, pedestal, and tower, the safe and easy-to-clean Air Multiplier uses advanced technology to draw air in, amplify it and spit it back in a stream of smooth coolness without annoying buffeting. The Air Multiplier is also energy efficient, using just one-fiftieth of the electricity needed for standard air conditioning units. Consider us a fan.

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Solar Ivy

Solar IvyA home solar system isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing affair … just ask any solar-curious homeowner who’s gone head to head with an overzealous HOA. Enter Solar Ivy, an alternative energy delivery system that employs fluttering, recyclable polyethylene photovoltaic “leaves” that can be festooned on the facade of your home. While “growing” Solar Ivy may still raise eyebrows in more cookie-cutter neighborhoods, it is a step in the right, less-clunky-and-more-easy-on-the-eyes direction. Providing shade and generating power when they move in the wind, each individual leaf can produce about a half-watt of power. And like a string of Christmas lights, if one malfunctions it can be easily removed and replaced without disrupting the entire array.

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Powerhouse Dynamics eMonitor

Powerhouse Dynamics eMonitorKeeping circuits “in check” can be the most daunting part of understanding household energy consumption. Marketed as “the world’s first affordable total home energy management system,” the eMonitor makes reigning in electricity usage, dare we say, fun. The eMointor draws consumption data from sensors attached to individual circuits; this data is then sent to Powerhouse Dynamics via a built-in Ethernet port. This enables homeowners to go online and view energy consumption in real-time and see what rooms and appliances are the biggest energy hogs. Explains Powerhouse Dynamics: “The eMonitor's unique combination of circuit- and appliance-level monitoring, continuous analytics and diagnostics, tailored recommendations, wide spectrum of safety, cost, and usage alerts, and easy-to-use web interface, puts the homeowner in total control of their electricity use.”

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Solio Classic Universal Portable Solar Charger

Solio Classic Universal Portabble Solar ChargerAlthough your arsenal of handheld electronics may not be the greenest gizmos in the world, the method in which you recharge them doesn’t necessarily have to put a strain on Mother Nature. Ideal for everyday, on-the-go use or when you’re in a pickle (airports, emergencies, far-flung camping excursion) the Solio Classic, the original solar charging device, supplies juice to over 3,200 devices – phones, Mp3 players, cameras, you name it – with the power of the sun (or a USB port or optional wall charger). Quintessential.

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Samsung Blue Earth Mobile Phone

Samsung Blue Earth Mobile PhoneCell phones, no matter how you slice it, have a less-than-stellar eco-rep. But then there’s the Samsung Blue Earth, a touchscreen 3G mobile device with all the usual bells and whistles – camera, video, Mp3, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Bluetooth and more – packaged in a sleek, shell made from recycled plastic water battles. Add built-in solar charging capabilities and a host of eco-software features like a pedometer that calculates how many trees you’ve saved by walking instead of driving and you’ve got a truly green, blue-colored cell phone on your hands … and in your pocket.

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Know more about the latest technology for the eco-minded? Leave us a note in the comments below.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The latest and greenest: 6 tech items for the eco-minded
The gadget and gizmo world is inundated with the latest technology aimed to help you keep plugged in while lowering your environmental footprint.