No trees were harmed in the designing of this eco-friendly treehouse

It certainly won’t be cheap, but this $2.45 million eco-friendly treehouse concept may give architects some inspiration for the future of home building. Designed by civil engineer Anthony Leung, the treehouse incorporates sustainable concepts to work with — rather than against — nature.

“I have been doing research in looking for sustainable means to work with, rather than against, the nature, to improve the resilience of civil engineering infrastructure, combating against the negative impact brought by the irreversible environmental change,” Leung told Digital Trends. “My recent research interest is to look at how the presence of mature trees could adversely induce subsidence, hence structural integrity, of adjacent low-story buildings.”

Leung wanted to change the conventional perspective that sees trees as the “enemy,” things to be cut down and dug up. “In this context, I was wondering why we, as engineers, couldn’t more intelligently work with nature to build a more harmonic built environment — like the eco-treehouse.” he said.

In his concept, Leung used living trees as support columns and to provide shade. Grass along the roof would help regulate temperature and rainwater runoff, which would be directed to a small wastewater treatment plant to be recycled for later use. To ensure minimal impact to the natural surroundings, no wood would be removed to make space. And, although the treehouse seems futuristic, Leung pointed out that many of the concepts he incorporated are already being employed elsewhere.

“Green roofs and climbing plants have been researched for years and have actually been applied quite widely in many parts of the Europe including the United Kingdom,” he said. “Other features, such as integrating tree trunks as part of the structural components of a house and coupling plant physiological responses to air ventilation system, however, are more complex subjects.”

Leung doesn’t expect his concept to actually be built but hopes that it inspires architects and engineers to explore more sustainable methods. “The point of developing this concept is to demonstrate how we can borrow the power of nature to create natural shelter for human beings in a modern, yet ecologically friendly way,” he said.

Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.
Smart Home

Voice assistant-enabled Deebot N79S robot vacuum now deeply discounted

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is more powerful and quieter than its predecessor and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. Ready to make cleaning easier than ever, this voice-enabled bot will vacuum your home on spoken command.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

Find good gift ideas with these small kitchen appliance deals on Amazon

Small kitchen appliances are favorite holiday gifts to give and to receive and that doesn't only mean an Instant Pot. We found excellent deals on Amazon for blenders and espresso makers plus a highly rated sous vide machine.