In material news, scientists at the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France have figured out a way to create biodegradable computer chips from spider silk. And with Halloween fast approaching, we've come across perhaps the creepiest building material ever made: a recent architectural graduate has been collecting blood from slaughtered animals and forming it into bricks.
In the world of wearable tech, Japanese company Cyberdyne created a mind-controlled robot exoskeleton to protect Fukushima workers from nuclear radiation, and NASA developed an Iron Man-like exoskeleton that could be used by astronauts for exercise or for paraplegics for mobility. In a discovery that could have plenty of interesting medical applications, scientists have developed tiny electronic devices that, once they have functioned for a set period of time, dissolve harmlessly inside the body. We're also excited about the potential of this cancer-detecting smart bra, which could soon surpass mammograms in accuracy.
As the seasons change, we've been focusing on winterizing our homes, and we've come up with seven great winter home improvement tips to save you energy (and money) this winter. We also checked in on Brett Herbst, the king of corn mazes (or the Master of Maize), who has built more than 2,000 incredible corn mazes (including a Star Wars labyrinth) using computer software, GPS technology and a heaping portion of imagination.
In green energy news, Saudi Arabia announced plans to ditch oil and harvest 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and a scientist developed a water-resistant solar panel coating inspired by iridescent butterfly wings. Billionaire Larry Ellision bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai -- and he plans to transform it into a haven for sustainable technology complete with solar thermal and photovoltaic cells, organic farms and desalinization plants.
This week New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a 3D printing competition called "New York's Next Top Makers" to help spark creativity and innovation in the city. Meanwhile, in a move that could spell doom for 3D printing, Microsoft CTO and patent troll extraordinaire Nathan Myhrvold has obtained a patent for a technology that could impose digital rights management on 3D printing. And we'd be remiss not to share two of our new favorite Lego creations. Lego builders Wayne Hussey and Carlyle Livingston have built an amazing LED-lit Bat Cave, which is filled with all of Batman's toys, using 20,000 Lego bricks. And the folks at Vienna's ModelMaker Fair recreated Felix Baumgartner's death-defying leap from the edge of space with Legos.