Sky City One, a 220-story, entirely prefabricated skyscraper, is set to break ground next month in China. The entire building will be built in just seven months, and when it's finished it will supplant Dubai's Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building. Speaking of Dubai, the latest bizarre attraction in the desert metropolis is the Chillout Cafe, a sub-zero cafe that's completely decked out with furniture and accessories that are made from carved ice. In other desert architecture news, Tangram Gulf unveiled plans for a Qatar World Cup Stadium that "sculpts the desert wind" to provide passive cooling. Beijing-based Decode Urbanism Office designed a conceptual skyscraper that's covered with thousands of small wind turbines and LED lights. And MOKO Architects unveiled plans to develop a crazy skydiving center in Warsaw that would be made from silos and shipping containers.
Wind energy company SheerWind caught the attention of the clean energy world when it unveiled an amazing new funnel-shaped turbine that can produce up to 600 percent more power than traditional wind turbines. In Japan, offshore technology company Mitsui is planning to install the world's first hybrid wind / current power-generating system, which combines a floating vertical-axis wind turbine with an underwater turbine that generates power from ocean currents. Scientists at SUNY Buffalo are developing a new generation of liquid solar cells that could one day be as cheap as paint. And this week, Hyundai announced plans to install South Korea's largest solar power plant.
In green transportation news, the Global Vehicle Trust developed a prototype for the world's first flat-pack truck, which can be assembled in just 12 hours. Amtrak announced that it would replace 70 older trains in the Northeast Corridor with new high-efficiency electric trains. A team from the US Naval Research Laboratory broke its own record by flying a hydrogen fuel cell-powered unmanned airplane for 48 hours and one minute. And in another bit of record-breaking news, a group of Lego superfans in Denmark pieced together the world's longest Lego train track, which stretches more than 2.5 miles. In other Lego news, a newly launched company called Pleygo allows kids to rent and trade Lego sets. They're aiming to be the "Netflix of Legos!"
In science and design news this week, a 16-year-old high school student has been using fruit flies to investigate the benefits of organic over conventional produce. Scientist Mark Post has developed a lab-grown hamburger made up of 20,000 strips of cultured muscle, and he plans to serve it up for $325,000 in London next month. In gadgets-for-good news, a team of midwives developed an incredible "Solar Suitcase" which is pretty-much what it sounds like: a photovoltaic, fold-up suitcase lamp that allows midwives to see what they are doing at night or in dark houses, saving the lives of mothers and babies during childbirth in developing countries where access to electricity and hospitals is limited. Researchers in Potsdam-Golm have figured out a way to use an inkjet printer to create electrically conductive paper. Engineer Amanda Ghassaei developed a technique for creating beautiful and functional records out of wood using a laser cutter, and a technology firm in Japan has developed an interactive clothes hanger that helps shoppers make purchasing decisions.