Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
This week President Barack Obama set the tone for the coming year in his 2013 State of the Union address, which advocated 3D printing and called for a speedy transition towards renewable energy to help combat climate change. The future of clean tech is already looking bright, as the world's solar power capacity just hit a record 101 gigawatts, and researchers found a new way to charge batteries by harvesting ambient electromagnetic waves from thin air. Speaking of batteries, a new lithium-ion battery developed by USC utilizes nano-sphere technology to store three times more energy while cutting charge time down to just 10 minutes. Clean tech is invading the kitchen as well -- behold the Biobot, a tabletop device that converts waste cooking oil into biodiesel.
The past week was also packed with scientific breakthroughs and amazing new technologies. For starters, check out UltraTech's Ever Dry -- a miraculous nanocoating that can make practically any object impervious to water, oil, dirt and even wet concrete. You won't believe the video. Meanwhile, the FDA approved the world's first bionic eye and biotech researchers developed a painless sugar-covered vaccine bandage that could replace needles and doesn't require refrigeration -- which opens up groundbreaking applications for off-grid locations in the developing world. In wearable technology news, a brilliant 17-year-old developed a 3D-printed prosthetic arm using Lego bricks and a Nintendo Power Glove, and a new biomimetic fiber inspired by pine cones could lead to activewear that keeps you dryer for longer.
In green building news, architects pushed the frontier of prefab architecture by installing surprising pop-up buildings around the world. We spotted an inflatable bathroom bubble that can pop up on any rooftop for a serene sunset soak, while Aether clothing dropped a three-story store made from stacked shipping containers in San Francisco. To celebrate Chinese New Year, Hong Kong launched a spectacular temporary theater made entirely from bamboo. And just for fun, we brought you the world's largest Rubik's Cube mosaic -- which stands over 13 feet high by 200 feet wide and is made from 85,794 cubes.