LED technology shone brighter than the summer sun this week as artist Bruce Munro unveiled plans for his largest lighting installation ever -- a field of thousands of LED flowers that will spring up next year at Australia's Ayers Rock. Best of all, the entire installation will be powered by solar energy! We also saw Rice University flip the switch on its new Epiphany Skyspace -- a green-roofed pavilion that's topped with a brilliant blue canopy of light. If you're still not convinced that LEDs are the future, we recently produced two videos that are sure to show you the light -- check out our interview with five professional lighting designers on today's state of the art LED bulbs and watch as we give Inhabitots editor Julie Seguss a light bulb overhaul that shaves over $400 off her utility bills. And if you're ready to make the switch, check out our guide to 24 gorgeous green lamps that look great with LED bulbs.
This week saw some exciting new developments in the realm of renewable energy. First, a group of scientists in the UK developed a new energy-harvesting device that attaches to the joint between the thigh and shin. The device could be used to power monitors and mobile devices, to name a few possible applications. Meanwhile, scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have invented a new toilet that turns human waste into electricity while reducing the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 percent. That's what we call, win-win!
Summer has us all thinking about travel, and from train stations to portable homes, this week was a big one for architecture of mobility. First up is the Orsos Island, a floating, solar-powered, resort-style home that combines the best of mainland real estate and luxury yachts. (It never hurts to dream, right?) At the complete other end of the spectrum is the Camper Kart, a pop-up portable home that fits inside a standard shopping cart, and that could potentially give the world's less fortunate a place to lay their heads at night. The Camper Kart isn't the only pop-up structure we've been fixated on this week, though. We took a first look at New York City's gigantic, spiky blue smog-eating wendy pavilion, and at the Dwell on Design Show in LA this week we spotted the Casa Bubble House, a round, transparent pod made of recycled material that can be used like a tent.
We've also been tracking some exciting transportation developments around the world. In London, a new air tram cable car spanning the Thames River opened this week, connecting visitors with Olympic venues and giving them spectacular views of the city. Meanwhile, Juliet Marine Systems recently unveiled GHOST, the world's first super-cavitating watercraft, which is a combination between an aircraft and boat. We've also been keeping an eye on self-driving cars this week, like Ford's new Traffic Jam Assist technology, which could help ease congestion and improve the flow of traffic. The innovative system uses radar and cameras to help a car stay in its lane and keep pace with the vehicles around it. And looking forward to the year 2040, we checked out the P.A.T. (People and Things) Prototype, a conceptual system of driverless vehicles that's currently on display at the Move Transportation Expo in Toronto.
Finally, we showcased several high-tech toys starting with Roominate -- a customizable house-building kit that can be configured with working circuits. The system was designed by three women to encourage girls to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We're also excited to be giving away an awesome set of magnetic Tegu building blocks, which can be used to create practically anything you can dream up. Enter here for a shot at winning!