EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

treehugger-gizmodo-week-105.jpgThis week at TreeHugger: It doesn't look like much now, but the technology behind the "UMD" for "University of Massachusetts Dartmouth," could someday manufacture human body parts as easily as printing a few sheets of paper. Taking the best of both electric bikes and scooters, French company Citydoo has created a slick extra-electric bike, or pedal-assisted scooter called the Elektroon.Hills, a Florida-based company, has just made a significant breakthrough with the creation of a machine that makes nanostructured fibers that could make uniforms that create and store electrical energy all by themselves. Lastly, more green concept cars than you can shake a stick at.

Paul Calvert of the University of Massachusetts walks into electronics stores, buys an inkjet printer cartridge and fits it onto a software-controlled robot back at his lab. "What you see is a familiar cartridge sitting in the middle of this machine," But instead of controlling differently coloured inks, Calvert said the machine controls different cultures of cells fed into the cartridge nozzle. He then deposits cells in thin layers, covers it with a membrane that acts like a "porous scaffolding" and then prints more cells on top. For now, they can "print" and grow simple cellular structures; in the future, they're looking at manufacturing entire human organs from scratch.

Taking the best of both electric bikes and scooters, French company Citydoo has created a slick extra-electric bike, or pedal-assisted scooter called the Elektroon. It relies on your pedal power to get it rolling, but once it does, it'll do 25 kmh and has a range of about 30-45 kilometers. When the battery is tapped out, plug it in to a standard wall outlet, and six hours later, it's fully charged and ready to roll.

The military gets to have all the fun: Hills, a Florida-based company, has just made a significant breakthrough with the creation of a machine that makes nanostructured fibers. The fibers, which can be arranged in regular patterns and be made of 3 different materials, could provide the basis for a program aimed at developing multifunctional uniforms — functions that would include the production and storage of electrical energy.

Lastly, concept car aficionados out there have lots of new eye candy to feast their eyes on with all the new Japanese models that will be appearing at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, which goes from October 26 to November 11. Fortunately for those of us too lazy to hop on a plane to see all those nifty cars, we can go virtual and still see a truly impressive list of some of the more fantastic designs, including the Toyota RiN, Mazda Taiki and Nissan Pivo 2. Conceptual names for conceptual cars; unfortunately, they might be too far out to ever get any further than the runway.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

Trending Stories Right Now