This week, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar — the world’s largest solar-powered boat — docked in downtown Manhattan, and Inhabitat was on the scene to tour the 115-foot Swiss catamaran and learn about its latest trans-Atlantic voyage. The PlanetSolar team isn’t the only one pioneering new technologies, though. Google announced plans to deploy fleets of solar-powered balloons to bring the internet to remote locations around the world. A pair of British men debuted the world’s first flying bicycle, which combines a bike with a fan-powered paraglider. A 16-year-old developed a cleaner, more efficient way to create biofuel from algae, and Coca-Cola produced a classic Coke bottle that’s made entirely from ice that melts away when you’re finished with it.
It seems like every week Tesla has a new announcement or unveiling, and this week was no exception, as Tesla demonstrated a system that can swap a depleted Model S battery for a fully charged one in 90 seconds. In other green transportation news, Nissan unveiled the world’s fastest electric racing car and Moto Electra set a new record by driving an electric motorcycle across the US in just three days. French EV car-sharing service Autolib announced that it would expand to the US with a 500-vehicle program in Indianapolis. And Bosch teamed up with Evatran to launch a wireless electric vehicle-charging system that could become the first commercially available wireless EV charger in the US.
In a move that’s sure to shake up the 3D-printing landscape, MakerBot was acquired by Stratasys in a $400 million deal. Scientists at MIT figured out a way to produce 3D-printed artificial bone that is just as lightweight and durable as the real thing. A pair of architects will unveil the world’s first full-size 3D-printed room next month, scientists from Harvard and the University of Illinois managed to 3D print a lithium-ion battery that’s about the size of a grain of sand and Biomimicry 3.8 co-founder Janine Benyus explained why she believes biomimicry is the key to a green 3d-printing revolution.
In other green design news, Inhabitat profiled SkinVision, a mobile app that uses your smartphone’s camera to detect skin cancer. The EU approved the use of laser tattoos on fruits as a replacement for those annoying little sticky labels. A UC Davis scientist developed a new type of waterproof fabric that drains away sweat, while researchers discovered the secret behind super-durable ancient Roman concrete by studying a 2,000-year-old breakwater in the Mediterranean. Inhabitat profiled Budapest-based company Vinylize, which uses a laser cutter to craft old vinyl records into stylish glasses frames. And to keep your battery from running out while you’re away from home, AT&T and Goal Zero rolled out a solar-powered cellphone-charging station pilot program at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.