The US has seen an increase in efforts to improve bicycle and pedestrian traffic safety. There has been an increase in non-automobile local transportation, but much needs to be done to achieve safety and usage levels seen in Europe.
Honda has open sourced their smart home design. Some interesting energy efficiency and storage schemes that aren't universally applicable (eg . heat pumps are a great idea - where they are practical). Since they are Honda, transportation is part of the deal. It would be interesting to compare this with other low carbon designs.
Arguably, the last major breakthrough in the materials widely used in clothing occurred more than a half a century ago, in the 1940s, with the adoption of polyester. In 1958, Lycra hit the market. Then, Gore-tex disrupted the outdoor apparel and sportswear sectors. But recent years have brought a wave of new innovation that is gathering momentum.
Katsuta says Uniqlo is continuously improving Heattech, its lightweight, heat-retaining fabric launched in 2003 and expanding its application across new product categories. The brand has also launched Airism, an underwear line made with a fibre technology that wicks-away sweat and moisture. In New York, lifestyle brand Mack Weldon recently launched boxer briefs and crew neck t-shirts that incorporate patented antimicrobial technology to provide odour protection, while Ministry of Supply, a professional clothing line founded out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2012, is tackling similar problems by applying the temperature-regulating technology used in NASA spacesuits to men’s shirts. With the backing of investors such as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund, the young company has hired a former director of design at Brooks Brothers and expanded its product line to include undershirts, slacks, chinos and light sweaters.
Ministry of Supply co-founder and CEO Gihan Amarasiriwardena, who was previously a research and design engineer at the Sports Technology Institute, said the practice of incorporating performance elements into professional attire has been driven by generational change: “A lot of our customers grew up with brands like Nike and Under Armour, so they’ve gotten used to those technical materials in their athletic lives. As they enter the professional part of their lives, they’re expecting that same kind of performance.”
There’s also no shortage of early-stage startups, research labs, independent scientists and engineers generating new materials that have potential applications in the fashion and apparel sector. Silicon Valley-based Modern Meadow, for example, is growing leather in a lab using a technology initially developed for the biomedical industry. Though the product is still in the research and development phase, samples unveiled at TEDGlobal last year were finer and thinner, “with a more fluid quality” than leather from animal skin, says Suzanne Lee, fashion designer and founder of Biocouture, a design consultancy focused on bringing living and bio-based materials to fashion, sportswear and luxury brands. Indeed, Modern Meadow plans to soon begin working with high-end designers to develop capsule collections with its cultured leather, says the company’s co-founder and CEO Andras Forgacs.
Building your own house isn't exactly common, but there is some interest in very small houses for keeping costs down and living rent and mortgage-free. A few students have done it for a college living space, selling the homes when they graduate, but this is the youngest I've seen and she did it for $10k raising some of the money herself.