Walls might be the next frontier for urban farming.
“Micro-organisms like algae are like bacteria—it’s one of those things that in our culture people try to get rid of,” Griffa says. “But algae offer incredible potential because of their very intense photosynthetic activity.” Algae take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while growing. Compared to a tree, micro-algae are about 150 to 200 times more efficient at sucking carbon out of the air.
For kids in developing world slums, dental hygiene is a real problem. With this cheap gum developed by a team of college students, they might be able to have their candy and clean teeth.
"The thing with gum is that you want it because it’s tasty. The health benefits are almost extra," says one of the gum’s creators, Josh Tycko. "Toothpaste is seen as extra expenditure for long-term dental care that is too far on the horizon to be thinking about when you’re living on a small budget."
Choosing solar power no longer has to be a sacrifice for the sake of the environment. In Germany, Italy, and Spain, installing your own solar panels can now actually save money.
A report released by European renewable energy consulting firm Eclareon shows that solar energy has reached “grid parity.” In other words, over the full lifetime of the equipment, the total cost of owning and operating rooftop solar panels is about the same as buying electricity from the grid.
High-school student Megan Grassell couldn’t find cute, age-appropriate bras for her younger sister, so she made her own. Now her company Yellowberry is being held up as a model of innovation, design, and feminists united against the sexualization of girls.
"At first, … it was hard to get people to take me seriously. I was talking to someone the other day who’s been a great mentor to me, and he said "Megan, when you first came to me with that bra, and you thought you were ready to go, I thought, ‘Who is this high school girl?’"
There’s little need to be wary of a nighttime stroll though a park in Cambridge, England. During the day, particles in the surface of the path absorb UV light. In the evening, they release that energy again. The result is a beautiful effect that its creators call “Starpath.”
An inside look at the inner-workings of Google’s top-secret research lab.
Google X isn’t like most R&D labs. In this month’s feature, Fast Company was granted first-of-its kind access into Google’s top-secret research laboratory, where “moonshots” trump real-world feasibility, and failure is openly encouraged. “If we can get to a no quickly on an idea, that’s almost as good as getting to a yes,” says Rich DeVaul, head of Google X’s Rapid Evaluation team in the video above. Hit play to watch what happens when the very active imaginations of some very smart people are given free rein to fail.