There were also some exciting announcements in clean energy technology this week, including a recent report completed by leading scientists that predict giant orbiting solar power plants could supply all the earth's energy needs by 2041. We also learned that France will open the world's largest tidal energy farm in 2012, and GE will provide the turbines for a $100 million wind farm in Mongolia. Also for Mongolia, a local geo-engineering firm is making plans to battle the capital's scorching hot summers by cooling it down with gigantic manmade chunks of ice that mimic naleds. London's audacious mayor came up with an equally ambitious idea -- his plan is to curb pollution by spraying the city's roads with a sticky calcium-based adhesive able to catch airborne pollutants. We also got the inside scoop from Panasonic's Energy Solution Business Director, Haruyuki Ishio, on the futuristic eco-city that is being planned for Fujisawa, Japan.
However, it was in the lab where we found one of the most bizarre experiments being conducted, with a Dutch scientist undertaking a quest to create the world's first lab-grown hamburger. If a success, this burger will ring up at a cool $345,000 -- not coming to a McDonald's near you anytime soon. We saw a remarkable leap in materials innovation as researchers from the University of California Irvine developed a material that is as strong as metal, 100 times lighter than Styrofoam, and composed of 99.9% air. Scientists were also hard at work at Duke University studying sensor equipped dragonflies to aid in the development of better flying robots. And while not quite as cutting-edge as flying robots, these cool "Volt" self-heating winter boots are still quite an achievement, and one that gets us excited about winter weather. Each Volt boot comes with its own on-board ignition switch, a heating plate, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for dual-source charging -- they a perfect cold-weather compliment to these ingenious texting gloves which feature conductive fingertips that allow you to use any mobile touchscreen outdoors without having to remove your precious hand-warmers and expose your fingers to frigid air.
In other practical technology news, Panasonic just debuted their new LED bulb which looks exactly like an old-school incandescent, so you can be all nostalgic and make like Thomas Edison if you want, while only using a fraction of the energy of an incandescent. Apparently there is a market for this. If you're a parent or know parents of baby gadget geeks, check out our top ten iPhone and iPad apps for kids. On that note, we're also giving away 15 free downloads of the new Oddballz Circus kids app, and you can enter to win it here.