One of two wind turbines recently installed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Urban Green Energy International One of two wind turbines recently installed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

This week, we're sharing news of a bio-inspired algorithm that aims to let neighborhoods design themselves, a plan to rehab Pennsylvania's infrastructure, acoustic wall panels made from orange-tree scraps, a door lock that requires a secret knock, and more:

Researchers at the University of Western Australia’s Planning and Transport Research Centre have developed a computer model that can design neighborhood layouts without human intervention. The program uses a bio-inspired algorithm that mimics how organisms adapt to their changing surroundings in order to create the entirely new designs. []

In Paris, a set of wind turbines was recently added to the Eiffel Tower about 400 feet above the ground, giving visitors visual evidence of the structure’s sustainability cred. The turbines should produce around 10,000kWh of electricity annually, offsetting power used by the tower’s commercial first floor. [Urban Green Energy International]

Pennsylvania State University researchers are collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to assess the condition of more than 200 bridges in the state. The goal is to develop a maintenance schedule optimized for structural and financial concerns. The team is also developing greener alternatives to Portland cement using recycled materials and fly ash. [Pennsylvania State University]

Asociación RUVID

In Spain, scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de València and the Universitat de Girona are developing acoustical panels that are at least 50 percent more efficient than conventional gypsum wallboard. The team used waste from the pruning of orange trees, which are prevalent in the region, in addition to polypropylene to achieve the improved performance. The team says their new product (shown above) meets the goals outlined in the European Commission's Horizon 2020 program for the development of alternative, sustainable materials. [Science Daily]

France's national railway company recently commissioned London-based clean tech firm Pavegen to install six kinetic-energy tiles in a corridor at its Innovation & Research office in Paris. The tiles generate energy from footfall to illuminate the hallway’s LED strip lights, evidencing potential dual uses for typical building finishes. [Inhabitat]

Candy House

To use startup Candy House’s Sesame smart locks, you’ll need to remember a secret knock. That’s because the product, which can self-adjust for use on just about any door, is fitted with an accelerometer that ups the sophistication of a typical smart lock by detecting the cadence of a your self-designed knock. The lock, which is launching on Kickstarter, can also be controlled and monitored using a mobile app. [Gizmag]