Inhabitat's Week in Green: anti-mosquito sticker, a cancer-identifying scalpel and the world's largest offshore wind farm
Urine and cellphones don't mix -- just ask anyone who has ever dropped their phone in the toilet. At least that's what we thought before learning that a team of UK scientists has created the world's first pee-powered cellphone, which is based on microbial fuel cells. In other renewable energy news, the Peruvian government is providing free electricity to over 2 million of its poorest citizens by harvesting energy from the sun, and China just became the world's first country to install 3 GW of utility-scale solar. Wind power is also on the rise as CalTech researcher John Dabiri figured out a way to make cheaper, more efficient wind farms inspired by schools of fish, and construction began this week on the world's largest offshore wind farm on the Fukushima coast. And in an unusual paring of renewable energy and architecture, Morphocode has designed a futuristic-looking loft that is nestled on top of an offshore wind turbine.
In one of the transportation industry's most highly anticipated announcements of the year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to unveil plans for a high-speed Hyperloop transportation system under an open source license by August 12th. That's great news, because a new report finds that more efficient urban transportation could save the world as much as $70 trillion by the year 2050. Another eyebrow-raising report from Consumer Watchdog suggests that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline could ultimately raise gas prices in the US by 40 cents per gallon, hurting the US economy. And in New York, a man transformed a 1981 Chevy pickup truck into an insane gull-winged ride that looks straight out of a Transformers movie.
In other green tech and science news, Swedish designers built a machine that extracts sweat from post-workout clothes and produces water that's fit to drink. If you're heading on a weekend camping trip this summer, you might want to bring along the Kite Patch, a small sticker that makes you invisible to mosquitoes for 48 hours. Likewise, surfers should take note of the world's first "anti-shark" wetsuit, which renders swimmers and divers invisible to oceanic predators. In another clever invention that could end up making surgeries faster and safer, scientists in the UK have developed a scalpel that can actually smell cancerous tissue. In the world of 3D printing, fashion designer Monocircus developed a 3D-printed bow tie that retails for $112. And DIY designer Matthew Kreuger created a working 3D printer that's made entirely from Lego bricks. In other Lego-related news, the world's largest Legoland waterpark is currently under construction in Malaysia. And in an effort to teach children to observe nature without causing any harm, a team of designers developed a 3D-scanning butterfly "net" to teach kids about insects.