Inhabitat is always interested in finding innovative uses for old technology, and this week we saw artists and designers from around the world produce new things from old, unused or outmoded gadgets. In Osaka, a local goldfish club has been transforming old phone booths into gigantic public fish tanks. In another large-scale art installation, Babis Panagiotidis used 18,000 recycled computer keys to make a life-size rocking horse. London artist Leonardo Ulian also makes beautiful, ornate mandalas from bits and pieces of old circuitry. And Benjamin Yates makes his unique coffee tables from recycled circuit boards, old VCRs and computer components.
We've also been staying abreast of new and developing technologies that could have lasting implications for the future of sustainability. In New Zealand, an industrial design student has come up with a concept for a doorless refrigerator that reduces food spoilage. A UK team has developed a harpoon system to capture rogue or redundant satellites and pull them out of the sky. We also spotlighted the Networking Nature exhibit at the Venice Biennale -- a small ecosystem that lives off of seawater and produces fresh drinking water. We were surprised to learn that a biologist at the Argonne National Laboratory is transforming the data found in blue-green algae into music, while researchers at Michigan State discovered that super-strong bacteria can produce nuggets of gold. This week we were also pleased to learn that by 2016 IKEA will only sell LED lights. And speaking of IKEA, we shared a step-by-step guide to building a vertical garden room divider using IKEA plant stands.
In clean energy news, we learned that all solar panels are not created equal. V3Solar proved that point when it unveiled its new spinning, cone-shaped solar panels, which can generate 20 times as much energy as flat panels. But the week's most exciting solar story is The Solar Pocket Factory, a DIY backyard photovoltaic panel printing system that can print a solar panel in 15 seconds flat. We were also surprised to see Karl Lagerfeld line Chanel's runway with wind turbines and solar panels in a preview of Spring 2013 Paris Fashion Week. And we reported on a 93-year-old man in North Carolina who is selling his personal collection of 30 gigantic windmills to build a local theme park.
At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, which opened last weekend, Audi unveiled its brand-new Crosslane Hybrid Coupe concept, which is powered by a 1.5L three-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Smart USA announced this week that its ForTwo Electric Drive will start at $25,000, making it the most affordable EV in the US. In one of the week's cheesiest stories, a team of Utah State University researchers set a land speed record in their class with a dragster powered by cheese (seriously). And London-based architect Andy Martin teamed up with furniture company Thonet to design a gorgeous bentwood fixed-gear bike.