Mid-September is a busy time of year in the world of design as the Solar Decathlon Europe takes place in Madrid and the London Design Festival kicks off -- and Inhabitat has correspondents on the ground at both events bringing us a steady stream of photos and updates. At the Solar Decathlon, Team Portugal designed an innovative house that can actually rotate to follow the sun in order to increase energy production and adjust interior daylighting. Team Valencia developed a modular home that can grow or contract depending on the family's needs. And the team from Tongji University produced an eye-catching house that embraces both Western and Daoist principles. In the competition, Rome's super-efficient MED in Italy house jumped out to an early lead -- but it's still too soon to call the winner so stay tuned.
In London, we've been combing through dozens of events, reporting on some of the most impressive designs. The Victoria and Albert Museum -- one of the world's greatest museums dedicated to art and design -- serves as the main hub of the design festival, and it's currently showcasing several sustainable design concepts for the future. Green lighting emerged as one of the most interesting trends at this year's show. At the 100% Design trade show, which is one of the main events at the festival, we ogled Vita's gorgeous flat-pack pendant lamps. Over at the Tent London show we spotted Arnolight, an interesting lamp made from waste wood and glued sawdust. And at the DesignJunction 2012 show we enjoyed Benjamin Hubert's series of lamps made from natural materials.
While the big design events are taking place in Europe, we've also been keeping an eye on new products to help green our lives back at home. One of the biggest new releases we've been keeping track of is MakerBot's new Replicator 2, a prosumer desktop 3D printer that will cost about $2,000. A team of designers and makers are working on developing the LIFX light bulb, an LED bulb that changes color via WiFi. And a team of scientists from Cambridge University has found a way to print lasers onto virtually any surface using everyday inkjet technology. Bike helmet maker ICEdot has created the ICE (In Case of Emergency) Crash Sensor helmet, which automatically calls for help when it detects a crash. And here's one study that shows a hidden cost of mobile technology: According to a new report from SquareTrade, broken iPhones have cost Americans $5.9 billion since 2007. That's a lot of green.
In one of the most unusual stories we've covered this week, we looked at how mycologist Philip Ross forms fungi into a brick shape and uses them as building material that's reportedly stronger, pound for pound, than concrete. Meanwhile, NASA is working on developing a real-life, Star Trek-style warp drive. In a follow-up to our coverage of New York Fashion Week, you can watch Diane von Furstenberg's fashion show through the stylists and the models, who all wore Google's "Project Glass" glasses. And finally, we just announced the top 40 finalists in the HP Ultrabook Bag Design Competition -- head over now and vote for your favorite!