Courtesy MIT News

In collaboration with the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Riverside, Ohio, researchers from MIT's Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics have developed a gel-like material inspired by the strong jaw of the marine worm. The protein material "expands and contracts based on changing pH levels and ion concentrations," according to an MIT News article, and could have applications in motion control for soft robotics and sensors. [MIT News]

Courtesy Tech Crunch

The Hyperloop Transportation Technologies' (HTT) facility in Toulouse, France, is building its first commercial passenger capsule for Spanish engineering firm Carbures. Measuring 100 feet long and 9 feet in diameter, the pod can fit 28 to 40 passengers and will be optimized for speeds up to 760 mph and extremely low pressure environments. The HTT expects to reveal the capsule to the public in 2018. [Tech Crunch]

City councils in both Madison, Wis., and Abita Springs, La., have voted to establish goals for converting to 100-percent clean energy. This brings the total number of U.S. cities committed to converting entirely to clean energy to 25. [Solar Industry]

Courtesy Hyperallergic

To accompany the ongoing "Gilded New York" exhibition, the museum launched its first app called A Walk Through Gilded NY, which gives an audio and visual walking tour through the past and present architecture of New York City. Narrated by actress Grace Gummer and accompanied with archival images from the MCNY and recent photos by Harlan Erskine, the tour takes viewers from buildings such as the 1870 Tiffany & Co. building in Union Square to Conservatory Garden with its Vanderbilt Gate. [Hyperallergic]

Inspired by the architecture of R. Buckminster Fuller, students at University College London's Interactive Architecture Lab have developed a geodesic spherical exoskeleton with 12 internal modules to support individual plants and monitor their responses to the environment with electrodes. The apparatus then tracks the growth of each plant and shifts its position appropriately with the help of a solar panel. [Inhabitat]

Courtesy Associated Press

Synlight, an "artificial sun" made up of 149 xenon short-arc lamped spotlights, was turned on for the first time yesterday in Juelich, Germany, by scientists from the German Aerospace Center. The giant globular fixture can heat up to 5,432 F and is powered by a 350-kilowatt solar array. The project will test whether the energy of the actual sun can isolate hydrogen molecules. The aim is to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, in order to produce hydrogen fuel. [Associated Press]

At this year's Milan Design Week in April, Japanese design studio Nendo will debut jellyfish-inspired silicone vases as part of an installation called "Invisible Outlines." Flipping the traditional use of a vase on its head, the vessels will be submerged in water instead of containing it. The thin silicone layer that makes up the vases will be dyed a purple-ish blue so that only the silhouettes of the vases are visible in the water, while the silicone will allow the objects to swell and shrink, like creatures of the deep blue sea. [Fast Co. Design]

New York City may not the first thing we think of when it comes to sustainability and clean energy. However, according to CityLab, the number of residential projects across the five boroughs focused on alternative energy rose from 186 in 2011 to 5,300 in 2016, with Queens and Staten Island having the most projects. This increase is, in part, thanks to an initiative pushed forward by the City University of New York (CUNY) called Sustainable CUNY, which collaborated with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the NYC Economic Development Corp. to form the NYC Solar Partnership, a group focused on "leading comprehensive federal initiatives to remove barriers to large-scale solar distribution since 2007," according to CityLab. [CityLab]