We tend to look to green designers and architects to inspire us and reshape our understanding of what's possible, and this week we've seen plenty of visionary green designs over at Inhabitat. First, JM Schivo & Associati unveiled ambitious plans for "Earth City," a futuristic green city that would be entirely powered by renewable energy. Then, inspired by NYC's High Line, Fletcher Priest won the Green Infrastructure Ideas Competition with his proposal for an underground mushroom tunnel beneath the streets of London. At the World Architecture Festival, Nikken Sekkei took home the sustainable building award for its evaporative cooling bioskin building in Tokyo, and science fans successfully purchased Nikola Tesla's old Long Island workshop to turn it into a museum.
When it comes to bikes, chains are out and "crab riding" is in. This fall, Scalyfish Designs unveiled the Bicymple, a compact, chainless bike that features an optional rear steering mode that's reminiscent of custom "swing bikes." And Mando released the Footloose e-bike, a chainless, folding electric bike that's also super-compact. We're also continuing to see innovation in traditional bikes, like UBC GmbH's Coren bike, which is made of high tensile strength T1000 carbon fibers. The only downside: it costs a whopping $32,000. In green car news, Ford's new 2013 C-MAX plug-in hybrid was rated the most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid available in the US this week. And a new study confirmed suspicions that electric cars that are powered by energy from coal plants have a heavy carbon footprint.
In one of the coolest installations we've ever seen, rAndom International created a Rain Room that lets you play in the rain without ever getting wet. A program tracks your movements, and the curtain of rain stops when you approach it. We also checked out Anthony Oh's super-cute recycled robots, which are so tiny they fit on the tip of your finger. Using wires, pieces of metal sheeting and circuit boards, artist Peter McFarlane transforms old circuit boards into amazing computer-age fossils that somehow look prehistoric. And we marveled at the work of artist Bernard Pras, who recreates classic works of art using only recycled materials.
As the seasons change and the temperature drops, now is a great time to think about weatherizing your house, and we rounded up 15 green household products that can save you money and energy. A couple of university students in the UK designed the Power Flower, a flower-shaped "living" energy meter that droops down and starts to die when you use too much energy. Melissa Kit Chow, a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, designed a garment that will only fuel our Facebook addiction: Chow's "Like-A-Hug" vest gives you a physical hug whenever one of your Facebook friends "likes" your status update. And in one of the most unusual stories to flash across our screens this week, a man built a huge floating hamster wheel and used it to walk 66 miles across the Irish Sea. For those who prefer climbing to walking, Brewers Ledge just released the Treadwall M4, which is a vertical treadmill for rock climbers.