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Inhabitat's Week in Green: flying cars, solar paint and a needle-free vaccine

Inhabitat's Week in Green: flying cars, solar paint and a needle-free vaccine
Inhabitat|November 9, 2014 11:06 AM

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.

In recent months Ebola has ravaged West Africa, and there are currently more than 13,000 confirmed cases around the world. But medical workers may soon have a new weapon in their arsenal: A needle-free vaccine has proven to be 100 percent effective at stopping the transmission of Ebola in animals. The vaccine, which is administered through a nasal spray, could help prevent further outbreaks of the virus. If you have a medical emergency, the time it takes for an ambulance to arrive can be the difference between life and death. That's where The Ambulance Drone comes in. The small quadcopter, created by Delft University graduate Alec Momont, contains a defibrillator, CPR aids and various medicines, and it also contains a camera and communication device, enabling an emergency response team to communicate with people on the scene.

In other tech news, the world's first 3D-printed laptop topped its crowdfunding campaign goal, raising more than $120,000. The design is completely open-source, and it's community-supported. Soda and water are polar opposites -- one is the foundation of life as we know it; the other is responsible for widespread obesity and diabetes. But sadly, many people have easier access to a bottle of cola than clean water. Commenting on that contradiction, Dutch artist Helmut Smits created a machine that transforms a bottle of Coke into fresh drinking water. Do you ever find yourself chanting, "There's no place like home," when you're looking for a cab late at night? A new device lets you make like Dorothy and hail a ride home with a click of your heels.

Flying cars have long been a staple of science fiction movies and books, but are they finally getting closer to becoming a reality? AeroMobil recently unveiled the latest version of its flying car, the AeroMobil 3.0, in Vienna. Pricing and sales info haven't been announced yet, but the vehicle is being tested in real flight conditions. In other green transportation news, General Motors released a few teasers of the 2016 Chevy Volt in advance of its official unveil at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The new model will feature a more efficient electric drive system and a larger four-cylinder engine. But Mercedes-Benz has something even more impressive -- a hybrid car that's powered by solar paint! In Rhode Island, a team of high schoolers built a solar-powered electric vehicle using just $1,500 worth of materials. The vehicle looks a bit like a go-cart, and it achieves a phenomenal 1,552 MPGe. Meanwhile, the Netherlands is boosting its cycling infrastructure with the world's first solar bike path. The 70-meter-long road is clad with photovoltaic panels that will produce enough energy for three households.

In other renewable energy news, France just broke ground on the largest solar power plant in Europe, and Scotland generated 126 percent of its household energy needs with wind power last month. French-Dutch company Cloud Collective has installed an urban algae farm on an overpass in Geneva. The algae feeds on exhaust from cars on the highway below, transforming the CO2 into energy. As the world becomes more mobile, portable energy solutions are sure to be the next frontier in renewable energy production. The company Lightning Packs LLC has created an electricity-generating backpack that produces energy via kinetic movement. The energy-generating backpack is intended for soldiers and disaster-relief workers operating in remote regions. And communities around the world are kicking fossil fuels to the curb -- the birthplace of fracking just banned fracking; a Wisconsin coal plant is being transformed into a green arts college; and the Danish government has announced plans to wean itself off of coal within 10 years. Previously, Denmark had set a target of 15 years, but a working group has been established to try to speed the transition.

Inhabitat's Week in Green: flying cars, solar paint and a needle-free vaccine