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Inhabitat's Week in Green: lane-straddling bus, invisible skyscraper and space vegetables


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.

When it comes to public transportation, taking the bus is the least sexy option. Buses are slow; they make frequent stops; and because they share the road with cars, they get stuck in traffic. But a new proposal for a giant lane-straddling bus would eliminate traffic congestion by letting cars pass right through the middle of it. The futuristic bus is just one of several stories about innovations in green transportation on Inhabitat this week. Mercedes-Benz just completed the first cross-country trip for a self-driving car with its S500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle, and BMW unveiled the official production model of its 2015 i8 plug-in hybrid sports car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In other green car news, Nissan announced that it is in the final stages of developing its second electric vehicle -- the e-NV200 compact van. In an effort to make flat tires a thing of the past, Korean manufacturer Hankook has produced a puncture-proof, airless tire that is made from 95 percent recyclable materials. And in more good news for green cars, August was the best month ever for US sales of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and conventional hybrids.

Would you book yourself a one-way ticket to Mars? If you said yes, you aren't alone: More than 200,000 people have applied to join the very first Mars colony, but only four will make the final cut. In order to sustain human life on Mars, those settlers will need food; to that end, NASA is planning to grow fresh vegetables in space, 230 miles above the Earth. Back here on Earth, researchers are studying cilantro's potential as a "biosorbent" that can remove lead and other toxic heavy metals from contaminated water. A new plant-based egg substitute that is backed by Bill Gates and is meant to replace animal products recently went on sale at Whole Foods. And a team of researchers from Japan and New Zealand recently found a way to double the lifespan of yeast in a breakthrough in anti-aging science.

The world's first "invisible" skyscraper has been granted a construction permit outside of Seoul, South Korea. The tower will be among the top 10 tallest buildings in the world, and it will use an LED facade system to project what's directly behind it. In other green architecture news, vertical garden pioneer Patrick Blanc is teaming up with architect Jean Nouvel to create the world's tallest vertical garden in Sydney. In China, MAD Architects recently unveiled plans for a new skyscraper complex that emulates mountains, hills and lakes. Just moments after Japan was named the host nation of the 2020 Olympic Games, Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for an eco-friendly Olympic stadium. And in a rare move, architect Rafael Viñoly acknowledged that mistakes were made in designing the Walkie Talkie building in London's financial district, which has produced concentrated light beams so powerful that they've melted car parts and started fires.

New York Fashion Week just came to a close, and one dress that hit the runway was produced by an unexpected designer: MakerBot. The 3D-printing company debuted its "Flexible Filament" dress that is made from a biodegradable, plant-based fiber. In other 3D-printing news, scientists in China have produced a fully functioning 3D-printed kidney. And in Boston, a team of makers recently produced the Mebotics Microfactory, a 3D-printing device that can manufacture virtually anything -- not just pieces of plastic. In other green design news, Miele unveiled the world's first solar-powered tumble dryer and GoSun launched a new fuss-free sun-powered stove can heat up to 550 degrees in mere minutes. And for techie parents who need to digitize everything, enter the Owlet, a baby health monitor that is worn like a sock and delivers information about your child's heart rate, oxygen, body temperature, sleep cycle and sleep position directly to your smartphone.

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