'practical' jetpack, self-healing solar cell and lab-grown heart tissue

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wowed the tech and business worlds this week when he unveiled plans for a 700MPH solar-powered Hyperloop train that could catapult people from San Francisco to LA in just over half an hour. Although the plan is highly conceptual, nothing associated with Musk can be written off as fantasy these days. The news somehow managed to overshadow all other futuristic transportation stories, like Martin Aircraft's unveiling of a "practical" jetpack that can travel at speeds of up to 60MPH and reach an altitude of 8,000 feet. Meanwhile, German designer Andreas Blazunaj unveiled a sleek hybrid concept vehicle that looks more like a spaceship than a car. An Australian high school student designed a solar-powered car that could be used to transport pregnant Zimbabwean women to hospitals. And the team behind the Bloodhound Supersonic Car announced that it will use a 3D-printed nose cone in its attempt break the 1,000MPH speed record in summer 2015.

On the clean energy front, a team from Australia was named the winner of the 2013 Solar Decathlon China for constructing a net-zero retrofitted home. China also helped solidify its position as a leader in renewable energy by installing the world's highest wind farm in the mountains of Tibet. In other solar news, researchers have discovered that the mineral perovskite, which was first discovered in Russia in the 19th century, has great potential for solar power applications. Scientists from North Carolina State University revealed this week that they have created a new type of self-healing solar cell that can repair and reinvigorate itself by mimicking the functioning of vascular systems found in nature. And the company Redox is set to launch a solid oxide fuel cell that's about the size of a dishwasher and is expected to cost 90 percent less than other units currently on the market.

In other green tech and science news, a team of undergrads at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is developing a light bulb that uses bacteria to glow in the dark, and Yonder Biology created a cute dino-shaped light that glows with bioluminescent algae. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have done the impossible by producing lab-grown human heart tissue that can beat autonomously. And in a major victory for world health, researchers have developed the world's first 100 percent effective malaria vaccine. Although summer is almost over, the sun is still shining brightly in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, so Inhabitat rounded up six handy apps for preventing skin cancer. And from robotic exoskeletons to bulletproof fabric, Ecouterre produced a list of nine wearable technologies that can help you emulate your favorite superhero.

Source: ENGADGET / Inhabitat


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