Alternative energy has been entering the mainstream in new and exciting ways. Ubiquitous Swedish furniture maker IKEA announced an ambitious goal of becoming 100 percent energy-neutral by the year 2020. Meanwhile a small British firm successfully synthesized gasoline from water and carbon dioxide extracted from air. The San Diego-based company Uprise Energy designed a portable wind turbine that emerges from a shipping container, while Splitterwerk Architects unveiled plans for the world's first algae-powered building for the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg. And a team from Oregon State University believes that diatoms -- tiny marine lifeforms that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs -- could be used to make biofuel production from algae cost-effective.
In a development that could be a game-changer for healthcare, geneticist J. Craig Venter told attendees at the recent Wired Health Conference in New York City that his scientific team is working on what he calls "a 3D printer for DNA" that can create vaccines on demand. Italian design studio UTOPIA created a beautiful bamboo cabinet that is based on the Fibonacci sequence, and artist Julia Lohmann created a set of stunning lamps out of laser-cut kelp. We also learned about a new crowdsourced design from Quirky that can transform any pair of gloves into touchscreen-compatible "texting" gloves.
With Halloween fast approaching, Inhabitat has been focusing on the creepier side of green design this week, featuring frightful creations ranging from zombie pumpkins to shoes that are soled with fake human teeth. But the season also brings its share of treats along with the tricks. Like, for example, this golden-orange Golden Moon pavilion that was erected in Hong Kong for the Mid-Autumn Festival. And speaking of treats, Inhabitots and Inhabitat both launched green Halloween costume contests this week, with more than $600 in combined prizes (including an awesome glow-in-the-dark Kilo Glow Bike!).