These building blocks have a mind of their own. A project of students at the Architectural Association School of Architecture's Design Research Laboratory, in London, HyperCell joins a spate of recent research on self-assembling building systems. Theirs is an exercise in localized decision making, with individual cubes climbing, rolling, changing shape for rigidity, and otherwise responding to each other to form a pre-configured structure such as a wall, column, or an arch. Each cube is fitted with magnets and its movements are controlled by an arduino processor and hydraulic mechanisms, allowing decisions to be made and carried out at the unit-level for continual shape-shifting. [HyperCell

ICYMI: Designers are mobilizing crowdfunding to finance experimental green projects, and many are finding success. [ARCHITECT]

Cue "Q." This high-tech multi-tool 3D prints, solders, burns, cuts, glues, and more, and is small enough to pocket. [Kickstarter]

Assembling Ikea (and other flat-packed) furniture is harder than it should be. And now we have the research to prove it. Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, are building a robot that can assemble an Ikea chair, but the 'bot keeps getting tripped up by those little wooden dowels. The upside: Robots' human-like struggle with flat-packed furniture (and other basic tasks) should put some of your A.I. nightmares to bed. [MIT Technology Review]

In massive droughts, the largest trees suffer the most and die first. Why that’s a problem. [Scientific American]

This permeable hardscape (shown below), from Lafarge Tarmac in the U.K., can down 4,000 liters of water a minute, helping mitigate stormwater runoff in heavily paved urban areas. [CityLab]

Nest, the thermostat maker owned by Google, is getting into the protocol game. Its new Weave software allows the startup's products and those of third-party developers sync up, share information, and trigger commands. [Gizmodo]

An integrated camera and micro-controller allow this shape-shifting experimental cape to recognize the age and gender of those looking at it and respond—possibly unfavorably—to their gaze. The experimental wearable was produced through Autodesk's Pier 9 artist residency program. [Dazed Digital]

The nonprofit X-Prize Foundation, which sponsors research and development competitions, will give $7.5 million to each of two research teams who can develop technology to convert CO2 from power plants into usable products like biofuels, cements, and even graphene or carbon nanotubes—all without disrupting the facilities’ productivity. [The Verge]

Italian illustrator Federico Babina's latest set of drawings traces the objects, particularly technology, that have defined daily life since the early 20th century: