Imagine if, instead of ivy clinging to the side of your Georgian brick, the leaves were a solar-wind hybrid that generated energy every time the sun shined or the wind blew.
Today, the idea has gone beyond the realm of the imaginary and entered the world of reality. Called Solar Ivy (and indeed, what else could you call it?), this revolutionary system of photovoltaic “leaves” offers the best of the botanical world combined with solar and kinetic energy, as brother-sister designer team Samuel and Teresita Cochran of Brooklyn-based SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) intended.
Still in the concept phase, and faced with exorbitant costs for the miniscule generators (which create electrical potential every time the material responds to outside influences like wind), the mechanical ivy has so far been used in real life only on a bus stop.
It has also been featured at the MoMa Exhibition, Design Philadelphia, by Dwell on Design, and by the New York Times for its 9th Annual Year in Ideas issue (2009). Fans were particularly enthused by its ranking fourth on a groundbreaking Green Technology splashpage by Inhabitat.