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Inhabitat's Week in Green: algae-powered building, 3D-printing vending machine and the Toyota i-Road concept


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.

Now that green design is entering the mainstream, we're beginning to see the design community tackle larger, more ambitious projects using eco-friendly techniques. Case in point: This week, San Francisco transformed the Bay Bridge into the world's largest light sculpture by outfitting it with 25,000 LED lights. Because the lights are so energy-efficient, it will cost just $15 per night to run the installation. In Hamburg, workers are putting the finishing touches on the world's first algae-powered building, which is set to open this month at the International Building Exhibition. A company in Tokyo recently demonstrated a new skyscraper deconstruction technique that harvests energy from the demolition process and salvages almost every piece of the building for reuse. And in Copenhagen, work has begun on a combined ski resort and waste-to-energy plant, which will convert the city's trash into energy that powers the resort.

The week also saw a number of new advances in the realm of 3D printing. At UC Berkeley, a team of scientists created the Dreambox 3D-printing vending machine, which creates and dispenses objects right before your eyes. Germany-based Nanoscribe GmbH unveiled the world's fastest nano-scale 3D printer, which can produce 3D objects that are smaller than the diameter of a human hair. An 83-year-old inventor designed an open-source machine capable of turning resin pellets into inexpensive filament for 3D printing, and model Dita Von Teese modeled the world's first fully articulated 3D-printed gown.

In Switzerland, the 2013 Geneva Motor Show kicked off as automakers unveiled a wide range of features focused on fuel efficiency and safety. On the luxury side of things, Ferrari unveiled the LaFerrari hybrid supercar, which is the company's first hybrid vehicle. Subaru debuted the Viziv hybrid crossover concept, a sporty two-door car with room for four passengers and a new diesel hybrid powertrain. And Volvo unveiled a new collision-avoidance system that automatically senses when cyclists and pedestrians are in a car's path and brakes for them. In one of the most interesting unveils at the Geneva show, Toyota showed off its new i-Road concept, a fully enclosed, all-electric three-wheeler.

In other green energy and tech news, the city of Lancaster, Calif., will soon require all new homes to come equipped with roof- or ground-mounted solar panels. The world's largest solar thermal plant passed its first test in California, proving that it's ready to enter commercial operation. We shared the inspiring story of 12-year-old Sicily Kolbeck, who's building a fully functional tiny home outfitted with solar panels, and in one of the coolest TED talks in recent memory, a 13-year-old Kenyan boy presented an LED system that prevents lions from killing livestock. Lighting company Cree broke boundaries by launching an affordable new LED light bulb that looks like an incandescent bulb and casts a pleasing light. But the invention we'd most like to try out is the Ocean Wings wetsuit, a new suit designed by Guillaume Binard that allows its wearer to glide through the sea like a manta ray.

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