Bored guests at a certain Crowne Plaza hotel can now skip the pricey mini-bar and hop on an exercise bike, generate some electricity, and earn some meal vouchers. The hotel in Copenhagen started the free meal idea as a way to boost guests' fitness and shrink their carbon footprint, according to the BBC.
For centuries now, civilization has been working toward an unsustainable future, burning fossil fuels for heat and electricity and creating a way of life that is a model of inefficiency. The tiny Danish island of Samso is leading the way back to sustainability, becoming the one of the first industrialized places in the world to qualify as completely energy self-sufficient.
Even as some of the world moves into a future of unimaginably complex technology, many communities still lack the basic electrical infrastructure needed to power even simply electric devices like light bulbs. Unwilling to wait for the wiring to catch up to the demand, Danish researcher Frederik Krebs has created an LED lamp embedded within a flexible, printable solar panel that could replace the kerosene lamps still used around the developing world.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.