These mind blowing inventions push the limits our minds once knew, to tackle energy issues by re-purposing and rethinking in genius ways. These inspiring creations help us see beyond problems and visualize the solutions. In a book called Glimmer, based on design expert Bruce Mau’s philosophy, this question is asked: “What if we looked at the world as a design project — how might we begin to make it better?”
I bet that in this article you’ll find out about things you never knew existed until now. Let’s take a look at some mind boggling eco-friendly inventions created by some very cool people.
1. Banana plastic
This design was created by a person of the meager age of 16. If you ever thought you were too novice to change the world, this kid from Istanbul begs to differ. The theory is, this plastic that is generated from a renewable source, banana peels, can help to reduce dependence, addiction, neediness of that trifling foreign oil.
Yes, we have our own oil reserves, but there is a little thing called ‘Peak Oil’ which scientists say we have reached. Essentially, we are running out of oil day by day, and we must find ways to bolster our energy grid with sustainable solutions.
This is a perfect example of how what the book Glimmer promotes works, ‘ask dumb questions.’ If you look at something and think about its properties and what other ways it can be used, you never know what you might dream up.
2. Moss carpet
Yes, that’s right. These carpets love to grow in your bathroom where the climate is moist. They are easy to maintain, and are used just like a bath mat. These mats have three different types of moss in them, and are housed in a casing so they’re not directly on the floor.
This invention adds oxygen to your room, improving air quality through photosynthesis, and is a great carbon sequester. It’s also a great way to ground your body without leaving home. What truly makes these greens green is that the base they are housed in is made of recycled foam.No one likes to slip when they get out of the shower, and no one likes a cold floor.
Why not get one of these tactile tertiary statement rugs, and reduce the urge to buy a plastic or synthetic bathmat.
3. 3D printed homes
Word is getting around about these new 3D printers, and not only are they being used to print food, they are being used to create homes. In fact, they can print up to 10 houses in one day. Woah! It can take months or years to build a regular home, and this can be done in a matter of hours. The reason this is an eco-friendly option is that the printing product is recycled building waste.
The highest printed building so far is reported to be five stories high. The ‘ink’ is printed in layers by large printers that scan 110 feet. This incredible invention may cut building costs in half, building time in half, and building materials in half. With the population growth projected to be 9.2 billion by 2050, we will need to adopt smart building strategies.
4. Solar power bikini
Yes they have created a bikini that can charge your iPhone. Andrew Schneider developed the photovoltaic bathing suit for a project at New York University. It comes complete with a USB port for all your charging needs.
In fact, a physicist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina has developed clothes that will charge things. This technology creates energy from the difference in temperature between your skin and the clothes. Talk about ingenuity and rethinking things, this is unbelievable!
5. Gas-free heat
Did you know you can make your own heat with two clay pots, a metal pan and four candles? This heating system was created by none other than a journalist. It’s inspiring to see people who are not engineers or designers coming up with things that can change the world.
Dylan Winter’s invention can significantly lower your heat bill, and if you try it, be sure to monitor it and not let any pets or children around it for safety reasons. Imagine if you could use this method to cut down on your expensive gas or electric bill just because you randomly came across this article? Radical!
6. Electric bike wheel
Introducing the FlyKly. It’s a bike wheel that will easily replace your back wheel, and allow you to travel 30 miles per charge at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Imagine how much money you would save if you got rid of your car payment, car insurance and gas expenses!
This specialty item is available exclusively on their website, and could very well change the way people think about transportation. If you live and work in a city, driving can be a total pain, and parking can be a nightmare. Public transportation can be time consuming or crowded. Not only can biking save you time, they say people who get some exercise, fresh air, and sun on the way to work are way happier!
Why not buy a used bicycle for $35 on craigslist and commit to going grocery shopping with your bike. If you shop once or twice a week you will get exercise and a new experience. Plus you will start to feel like you are doing better for the big picture. Inspire biking in your community and build your health at the same time.
7. Office waste toilet paper creator
A machine has been designed that collects waste paper at your office, and turns it into toilet paper. It is a great way to repurpose paper that often times ends up in the garbage. This is also more efficient, because it reduces the need to pay for paper removal companies and buy toilet paper.
Yes, it will require energy to convert the paper to TP, but the company that makes this machine says it only costs about twelve cents per roll. Now that is affordable! The machine is made by Oriental, if you want to get one! You will get a roll of toilet paper in about half an hour. Can you believe it only takes 40 pieces of paper?
This is a great idea that looks at how we think about waste. Many people do not think about their trash once it goes in the garbage, and do not really care about how much trash they generate.
Trash is a huge problem in the world; landfills are filling at an alarming rate as the population continues to grow faster than most people are aware of. Giant trash piles are floating in the ocean, and plastic trash is washed up from currents onto pristine wilderness beaches like those in Alaska. How can you eliminate waste in your life at work and at home?
A woman in New York decided not to generate any trash, and it literally changed her entire lifestyle and how she thought about things.
8. Mushroom insulation
In parts of the world that get really cold, insulation is a hot commodity, no pun intended. Mycelium mushrooms have now been designed as insulation, as well as packaging supplies, which reduces the one thing that does not decompose, Styrofoam. Talk about knocking it out of the park! They are making mushroom surfboards too.
On a TED Talk, Ecovative, one of the mushroom companies, said mushrooms could quite possibly be the most reasonable replacement for plastic. Mushrooms are a renewable resource and can take on just about any form.
Interestingly enough, the largest organism in the world is a mushroom in Oregon that spans 2,384 acres! It’s no wonder mushrooms seem to have a magical power, they may be the most diverse resource on our planet. They are one of the most nutrient dense foods, and eating mushrooms is known to be one of the best ways to boost your immune system and get protein.
9. Drinkable sea water
One of the direst needs our planet is facing is drinkable water, and wars are being waged because of it. This invention could prevent wars with its simple technology that desalinates salt water for drinking. There are at least three different systems that can be used by individuals. Two of the models use solar power and one prototype uses wind power.
The applications of these desalt mechanisms for peacekeeping are epic. People in developing countries that struggle to get clean water to drink may be able to survive, and not have to fight their neighbors because of these inventions. Maria Telkes invented one of the solar desalination systems in 1920 when she was only 20 years old. Imagine what you could do if you put some thought into designing things!
Less than 0.01% of the world’s water is fresh, and basically, that means the water we can actually drink is extremely scarce. Most of it is stored underground or frozen in the permafrost, and the other majority is wasted in leaking agricultural watering lines.
California buys water from Colorado, and water shortages in Brazil have required times when water is shut off and people are privately selling water at nighttime. Restaurants are trying not to wash dishes and this dire situation is predicted by natural resources experts to be the number one problem in the next twenty five years.
Water and air are the first things humans need to survive and nations are already at war about water.
10. Powerless light
Believe it or not, a man in Brazil has invented a powerless light bulb that many people are using to light their homes. It requires a two liter water bottle, bleach and water. Sunlight charges the bulb and the top of the bottle is inserted into the ceiling. This is popular in poor communities and in cabins that don’t have a power grid. As many as a million homes are using this water bottle light every day!
The use of electricity is still relatively new in the history of mankind, and it is evolving right before our eyes. Many people do not realize how much energy they consume or what their energy comes from. If you start to realize how much electricity you use on a daily basis to light your house, power your appliances and charge your phone and computer, it adds up quickly.
Most of your energy comes from either coal power plants or nuclear power plants, both of which have harmful effects on the environment and use nonrenewable resources.
The more we can find ways to change our daily activities to use renewable resources like bananas, mushrooms and sunlight, the better off our planet will be. Most wars are fought over finite natural resources.
As we take steps to make our personal habits eco-friendly, we are contributing to the overall peace of the world. Don’t think you just have to act local though, as you can see, many of these young men and women were also acting global. Don’t underestimate yourself, you are more brilliant than you can even imagine!
Just think, a few minutes ago, you never knew these things existed. There are so many things that can help people that are out there and we can help promote, use them ourselves or create them. The future is what we make it, and if we choose the reusable bags, the produce without plastic covering, the hybrid vehicle, the solar powered bikini, and the locally grown grub, we know we are making a positive difference.
If you struggle feeling connected to the world around you, taking a stand for the environment can make you feel very connected, and give you a strong sense of purpose no matter how many people you interact with. Leading an example is inventing new ways of thinking, and sometimes the simplest actions have the very biggest impacts.
Be proud of your eco-friendly actions, and share them on social media so others will follow your lead.
Share more eco-friendly ideas below, and thanks for getting some inspiration today… see you again soon for more insightful moments on YouQueen.