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 Inhabitat reported live from the Los Angeles Auto Show as we brought you the hottest new green cars -- beginning with the 2013 Fiat 500e electric vehicle. We're also eagerly awaiting the unveiling of BMW's new i3 Coupe concept. In other green transportation news, JR Tokai unveiled Japan's new lightning-fast 310 MPH MagLev train, while Amtrak announced that trains traveling between Chicago and St. Louis were cleared to accelerate to 110 MPH on a short stretch of track. It's no MagLev, but we'll take it! Designer Jeffrey Eyster also unveiled the MRV-1, a recreational vehicle that doubles as a sustainable nature retreat.
In the continuing quest to develop high-rise farms in cities, designer Brandon Martella has designed a vertical farm and residential tower for downtown San Diego that could grow up to 10 percent of the city's produce. Construction is also set to begin next month on a 32-story modular tower -- the tallest modular building in the world -- at Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards mega-development, and the MTA is exploring subway plug balloons and lockdown systems to help protect the transit system from future storms. Estonian firm Salto Architects have developed Fast Track, a springy trampoline sidewalk that lets you bounce down the street, and in perhaps the most outlandish development proposal of all, SpaceX founder Elon Musk hopes to establish an 80,000-person colony on Mars.
Ever wish you could control things with your mind? It might not be that far off: InterAxon has developed a brainwave-sensing headband that monitors your thoughts. In another futuristic technological feat, scientists have developed a self-filling water bottle that harvests water from the air. Meanwhile researchers at Washington State University have produced 3D-printed moon rocks that could be used to build structures on the surface of the moon, and a 3D printing startup called Defense Distributed says it will share downloadable plans for 3D-printed plastic guns over the internet.
In renewable energy news, this week researchers at MIT announced plans to create a "solar energy funnel" that could harvest energy from a much broader spectrum of sunlight than existing solar panels. Scientists at Rice University developed a new type of solar energy technology that creates steam from icy-cold water, and the folks behind the HydroICE project have figured out a way to develop a solar-powered combustion engine that could reduce solar costs by 75 percent. Saudi Arabia announced that construction will begin next year on an enormous solar farm as part of its $109 billion investment in solar energy, and designer Vivien Muller launched a Kickstarter campaign for her nifty bonsai-inspired solar charger.
December is here and the holidays are rapidly approaching -- to help you get a leg up on the gift-giving season we've packed over 300 presents into our 2012 Green Holiday Gift Guide -- including Gadget Gifts ranging from a water-powered clock to a folding electric bicycle and a beautiful bamboo keyboard. We also helped you get set to celebrate with tips to green your holidays with eco-friendly decor and eight great energy-saving LED Christmas lights.