Latest in Bacteria

Image credit:

Inhabitat's Week in Green: self-driving cars, solar parasols and the ultimate DIY Iron Man suit

Inhabitat
05.13.12
46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

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.

What seems more futuristic: flying cars or self-driving cars? They both sound a bit like science fiction, but they're both getting closer to becoming a reality. In the latest chapter of Google's efforts to develop a car that uses video cameras, radar sensors and lasers to navigate through traffic, the state of Nevada just granted Google the world's first license for a computer-controlled, driverless Toyota Prius. Meanwhile, this week we also checked in on the PAL-V (which stands for "Personal Air and Land Vehicle"), a two-seat hybrid car and gyroplane that runs on gas, biodiesel or bio-ethanol. In other transportation news, the Texas Central Railroad floated a plan to build a $10-billion bullet train that would run between Houston and Fort Worth, and Toyota officially unveiled its second-generation 2012 RAV4 EV, which features a Tesla powertrain.

We also saw green technology cropping up in unexpected places this week, like the $1-billion ghost town that will be built on virgin desert land in Lea County, New Mexico to test emerging green technologies. Construction on the ghost town is set to begin in late June. Milwaukee native Bryan Cera invented Glove One, a 3D-printed glove that doubles as a cell phone. And in Tokyo, participants heaved 100,000 LED lights into the Sumida River as part of the 2012 Tokyo Hotaru Festival. Although it certainly looked cool, that's a lot of LED bulbs to literally dump in the river, and it raises some questions about e-waste. GE found a more practical use for LEDs, unveiling a new LED light bulb to replace the 100-watt incandescent.

It was a big week for big-name architects, beginning with Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which won yet another design competition, this one for a sports complex and park on the Ratinanniemi Peninsula in Tampere, Finland that will feature a large, wood-clad serpentine structure and a series of mixed-use buildings. We also interviewed the designers of New York City's underground low-line park, and in South Korea Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill unveiled plans for Dancing Dragons -- a pair of angular skyscrapers that will feature a breathable scale-like skin (like a dragon's skin -- get it?) through which air can actually circulate. Meanwhile a topsy-turvy upside-down house popped up in Austria and Cornell University announced that it has chosen Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects to design the first of three net-zero energy CornellNYC Tech academic building on Roosevelt Island.

This week we also took a look at these attractive solar parasols from Ombrellone Solare, which harness the power of the sun to charge your mobile devices while shading you from its rays. We also considered the prospect of Japan replacing its nuclear power industry with geothermal, and we checked in on Mark Pearson, a British car mechanic who inexplicably spent 14 months constructing an Iron Man costume from 400 sheets of fiberglass-coated cardboard. "I don't know why I did it, I guess it was just a moment of madness," he said. Try 14 months of madness. And in one of our favorite green tech stories of the week, we looked at a team from the University of Leeds that used a type of bacterium which 'eats' iron to create a surface of magnets, possibly paving the way for the development of bio computers. Sound like science fiction? The future may be closer than you think.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

View
Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

View
Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

View
Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr