Coins are old-fashioned, as far as currency goes, and largely supplanted these days by cards and even that other scarce commodity, cash. There are times when coins are still essential, though–when paying bus fare, for example–and designer Abhinav Dapke of Bangalore, India, wants to help us develop a more ecological, futuristic version of the good old-fashioned “exact change.”
The Ecoin concept design is a little plastic disc with an LCD counter which displays a balance (presumably, you can “recharge” your Ecoin wherever you bank, or at a local ATM). Then, whenever you need change for “small potatoes” transactions (buying vegetables is actually one of the scenarios cited) you simply align your Ecoin with that of your vendor and press a little button. An electronic transfer is made, quickly and easily, with no muss, no card, no paper and no coins.
This is an interesting concept design–but we wonder how much energy would go into manufacturing the Ecoin. And how much more eco would it be, really, to build little chips like this for every man, woman and child on earth desiring to ride the bus or purchase bubble gum? (Then again, it may be more so than continuing to mine metals and stamp out coins.)
Looking for green gadget gift ideas for this holiday season? We have you covered with our annual Green Gadgets Holiday Gift Guide – check it out now!