... but if you weren't born with them and don't expect any close encounters with mutant spiders or toxic waste any time soon you can still save the planet (or at least reduce your personal carbon footprint) using Carbon Hero.
The little foot-shaped sensor "identifies and evaluates the different forms of transport, ... the custom Carbon Hero (CH) application processes the data stream by way of an algorithm and database ... then outputs this to the user [via a Java application running on their mobile device]."
Carbon Hero computes the carbon footprint using values from the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to evaluate each trip's environmental impact.
According to the European Space Agency's (ESA) News Portal CH was a "regional prize winner in the 2007 European Satellite Navigation Competition, sponsored by ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme, the device uses [GPS] satellite navigation technology to track journeys."
The CH web site explains that "adoption of a new technology or system is more successful when it involves the minimum of interference or learning by the user. Using sophisticated sensors and programming, Carbon Hero does the learning and deduces modes of transport being used, with almost no user input required."
Carbon Hero's story is just beginning and Andreas Zachariah and Nick Burch are looking for a "visionary investor with integrity and appetite to unlock full potential via a mobile provider/manufacturer alliance."
Finding investment should be a lock if CH keeps winning battles the way it has been.
The ESA news says "in addition to winning a regional prize in the 2007 European Satellite Navigation Competition, Carbon Hero was awarded the British Standards Institute (BSI) prize for Sustainability Design in July last year. It was a finalist in the 2007 Oxygen Awards and Deutsche Bank Pyramid Awards, and also invited to enter the Saatchi & Saatchi World-Changing Ideas Awards. It is now in the closing rounds of the 2008 St. Andrews Environmental Prize."
The dynamic duo envision several future projects including a stand-alone CH unit, a tracker-style CH post-processing unit, auto-related products for driver safety and vehicle fuel efficiency/environmental impact, a mass-transit climate control device and a water-saving aid.
Carbon Hero Demo Application
Andreas Zachariah talks about CarbonHero on the BBC World Service: Culture Shock with Philip Dodd