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Inhabitat's Week in Green: magnetic hoverboard, cardboard robots and a Toyota Prius camper

Inhabitat
11.23.14
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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.

The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off last week, and Inhabitat was on the scene to bring you a first look at the hottest new green cars. Among the vehicles unveiled at this year's show were Volkswagen's SportWagen HyMotion hydrogen fuel cell concept car and Audi's new A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro, which is also powered by hydrogen. Inhabitat editor Mike Chino also had the opportunity to test-drive the futuristic Toyota Mirai, which can be powered by clean hydrogen gas made from raw sewage. In other green transportation news, the company Camp-Inn has created a crazy custom Toyota Prius that transforms the hybrid sedan into a small camper. With a fiber-reinforced plastic hump added to the back of the car, there's enough space for a bed.

Honda announced that its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would be able to refuel in just five minutes. The car is expected to go on sale in Japan next year. Mercedes-Benz revealed its vision of what the interior of cars might look like in the future. (Hint: There's no steering wheel, and it includes virtual reality headsets.) Eurostar celebrated its 20th anniversary by unveiling a new 200 MPH train, but Japan has it beat -- the first 100 passengers just hopped aboard the nation's blazing-fast "floating" maglev train, which travels at speeds of up to 311 MPH.

In green technology news, MakerBot, the biggest name in desktop 3D printing, is teaming up with Martha Stewart to sell PLA printer filament in three of Stewart's favorite colors (that would be Jadeite, Robin's Egg and Lemon Drop). Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk tested out a working hoverboard powered by magnetic fields -- it looks like it takes a bit of getting used to, but Hawk got the hang of it before long. Oslo-based design company Neue recently won a competition to redesign Norway's passport. When viewed under UV light, the passport shows beautiful nighttime views of Nordic landscapes illuminated by the Aurora Borealis. Speaking of Earth's majesty, a researcher from the University of Victoria just unveiled the highest-resolution video of the planet ever created. The 4K time-lapse video is made from satellite images, and it's stunningly gorgeous. Looking for a unique holiday gift? Wooden watch brand WeWOOD recently released the Kappa Nut, the company's latest all-natural wooden wristwatch, which is made from natural walnut wood. And for the clever kids on your list, check out ZURI -- a DIY, programmable robot that can be built from cardboard.

As the world's population grows, farmland is becoming more and more scarce, sparking fears of a global food crisis. To deal with the issue, a team of architects and botanists developed a floating modular greenhouse that produces food hydroponically with a minimal environmental footprint. Meanwhile, a team of grad students at the University of Colorado Boulder is developing a gardening system for deep space that is tended by a robot. The system is going to be tested in Antarctica over the southern winter. Waste management is another big challenge in the 21st century -- fortunately, the University of British Columbia recently unveiled a powerful in-vessel composter called the CityPod. Compost taken from the CityPod will be used to nourish the herbs and crops growing in the UBC rooftop garden. And Google recently teamed up with SkyTruth and Oceana to create a prototype interactive map that is designed to show all of the trackable fishing activity in the ocean.

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