Courtesy Cockrell School of Engineering

A new smart plastic takes a thinner and more flexible approach than the electrochromic plastics that are currently available. Created by researchers in the University of Texas at Austin, this new material is capable of tinting itself to a lighter or darker scale through the application of a small electric charge and can be applied over existing windows, unlike other coatings that need to be integrated onto the glass itself. The material generates less heat than typical electrochromic glazing; like the conventional product, it also improves the energy efficiency of a space by helping to regulate its temperature by controlling the amount of sunlight that enters it. [Popular Mechanics +]

ICYMI: Humanity is consuming natural resources faster than the Earth can generate them. How architects can help to reverse that trend. [ARCHITECT]

NBBJ is testing sensor networks through a smartphone app called Goldilocks within its open-plan New York office to help employees identify a specific workspace that is just right for them. [Fast Company]

NASA is set to fund the construction of space habitats made out of empty rocket fuel tanks. [IEEE Spectrum]

An octopus-inspired robot created by researchers at Harvard University could pave the way for soft robots, as its internal skeleton has been replaced with a pneumatic system powered by hydrogen peroxide. [New Atlas]

U.K. startup SmartSite tackles hazardous working conditions by monitoring noise levels, airborne particulates, and ultraviolet rays to make construction sites safer for workers. [Tech Crunch]

Growing demand for cloud-based storage is putting pressure on Apple's data centers, pushing the company to explore greener power options. [The New York Times]

Shipping containers are being re-purposed to create vertical farms for urban residents. [The Washington Post]