EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

This week at TreeHugger: We've seen the future, and it'll involve things like "intelligent walls" as we move from electricity to electronics. Honda's FCX, the fuel cell-vehicle we've been waiting for for years, will finally show its face in 2008, though you can get a production-ready peek in LA next month.

Take a peek inside MIT's D-LAB, "an elite unit of low-tech mercenaries" that creates simple solutions to drastically improve the quality of life for people living in developing countries. Lastly, you'll never think of "energy savings" the same way after you take a gander at this thing.

We've seen that LEDs have a real place in the short-term future of lighting, but we've had a peek at the crystal ball even further down the road, and the future looks good. Lights will need no longer be independent objects, hanging from the ceiling, or perching on a table or floor; it'll be integrated into other domestic functions that are now executed by separate objects. These "intelligent walls" will help us move from electricity to electronics; will they allow us to watch 12 channels at once, Back-to-the-Future-2-style? Stay tuned.

Honda has been teasing the world for years with its FCX fuel cell concept, promising a sleek ride with zero emissions and a step toward a gas-free future. With promises of hitting the production line in 2008, a production-ready version will roll down the red carpet at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. Only one thing remains: the car still needs a proper name. We hear that "Mean Lean Gas Machine" is off the table; we'll have to wait 'til LA to figure out what it'll be.

We got an insider's peek on the goings-on at MIT's D-Lab — they call it "an elite unit of low-tech mercenaries" — which seeks to find simple solutions to drastically improve the quality of life for people living in developing countries. That means building devices like a water tester and hammerhill using easy-to-find, mostly run-of-the-mill components; nothing like low-tech solutions from high-tech minds to help fix up the planet.

Lastly, conceived as a way to rethink our interaction with energy on the consumer end, "Energy Savings" is a design-as-art statement that changes a standard light switch from consumption to conservation. It's one of the most interesting piggy banks we've ever seen, and we're willing to bet that you won't think about the words "energy savings" the same way again.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.