Ford is investing in the future of transportation in a big way. The automaker just dedicated $4.5 billion to develop 13 new electrified cars, and they’re planning to test a self-driving hybrid in California next year. Meanwhile, Nissan is taking aim at the Chevy Volt with plans to launch a range-extended electric car in 2016. Flat tires are the bane of cycling, but what if your tires automatically inflated while you ride? That’s the idea behind the PumpTube, which pumps itself up using force generated by rolling tires. And if you’re traveling over the holidays, make sure to check out Olaf, a clever backpack that morphs into a scooter, trolley and skateboard.
The EcoCapsule is an off-grid egg home that’s entirely powered by the sun and wind — and it just went on sale this week. In other design news, two architects invented an innovative brick that disperses heat to keep homes naturally cool. Hamwell launched a recirculating shower that uses 80 percent less energy and 90 percent less water, and we tested out Dyson’s new Pure Cool air purifier, which eliminates 99.95 percent of harmful airborne particles.
In wearable tech news, we showed you how to knit a pair of Netflix smart socks that pause your show when you fall asleep, while ShiftWear debuted a slick pair of kicks that change color before your eyes. And to celebrate Star Wars we showcased an awesome set of lightsabers inspired by five of the world’s top designers, and we explored how Frank Lloyd Wright inspired George Lucas.