This story originally appeared on ARCHITECT.

Courtesy The Ray

A 16-mile stretch of highway, extending from Exit 18 of I-85 in Georgia to just over the border of Alabama at Exit 2, has been converted into a living lab for a new highway and road innovation called the Ray. Hoping to promote more high-tech, environmentally friendly roads, organizers are working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to create "smarter, greener, and safer" highways, according to CityLab. So far, the research team is testing technology such as sensors embedded in the road that measure the tire pressure of passing cars and Wattaway solar roads. Over the next few years, the Ray will also become home to a pollinator garden for bees and monarch butterflies, as well as a testing zone for solar barrier prototypes that collect energy while mitigating highway sound. [CityLab]

Courtesy TenneT

Danish national transmission system operators for electricity and natural gas Energinet and the German and Dutch arm of TenneT are poised to sign an agreement on March 23 to begin researching strategies for creating an artificial island located in the North Sea that would serve as a hub for up to 7,000 offshore wind turbines. The project—which could provide 70,000 to 100,000 megawatts of energy—has the potential to help generate power for 80 million residents in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, the U.K., Norway, and Belgium. [The Next Web]

Indiegogo is currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign for a Lego-compatible tape called Nimuno Loops. Created by Cape Town, South Africa, designers Anine Kirsten and Max Basler, these adhesive strips will enable Lego users to build on curved surfaces, vertical surfaces, and around corners. Now in the prototyping phase, Nimuno Loops has raised $1,070,117—13,376 percent of its original $8,000 goal—with more than 29,000 backers as of March 17. [Indiegogo]

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is working with German energy research company ZAE Bayern to build a solar-powered chiller to be used as an air conditioner, refrigerator, or heat pump. By replacing gas with a solar thermal collector, this technology could help reduce carbon emissions and electricity costs for consumers. [Science Daily]

While replacing traditional, yellow high-pressure sodium lamps with LEDs in streetlights can both save up to 50 percent in energy costs and extend operating life, some Washington, D.C., residents have found the latter's blue-white illumination to be intrusive. Explaining that the brighter lights affect their ability to sleep, concerned citizens are asking the District to reduce the LEDs' light intensity and alter the color temperatures. [BBC Magazine]

Courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory

Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory recently published a study on the viability of using 2D layered hybrid perovskites as an application to LEDs and solar-power technology. These Ruddlesden-Popper thin films are relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. In a press release, the team said that the material's "layer-edge-states ... are key to both high efficiency of solar cells and high fluorescence efficiency for LEDs." [Los Alamos National Laboratory]

ICYMI: MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has created heat-sensitive auxetics that can shrink or expand in all directions, depending on the temperature. [ARCHITECT]

European research project Eurotape has created 1,968 feet of superconductive tape that could vastly improve the potency of wind turbines. "This material, a copper oxide, is like a thread that conducts 100 times more electricity than copper. With this thread you can make cables to transport much more electricity or generate much more intense magnetic fields than today," said project coordinator Xavier Obradors, in a article. The superconductivity of the tape refers to the material's ability to channel electricity with no resistance and little power loss when cooled to very low temperatures—electrical charges often lose power due to heat. Obradors predicts this innovation could reduce the weight of turbines and improve their productivity. []

Courtesy Carbon

Silicon Valley–based manufacturing company Carbon has announced a new service, SpeedCell, which provides customers with industrial-grade 3D printers and specialized software to enable high-volume manufacturing. The new 3D printers have twice the build-area as Carbon's first-generation printers. “SpeedCell combines our reliable M Series machines, data-rich platform, and ever-expanding base of production-quality resins to give our partners the tools to massively change the way they think about design and production,” said Joseph DeSimone, co-founder and CEO of Carbon in a press release. [TechCruch]