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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

The floating city that could become the future of life at sea

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  • Yacht island comes with 11 accommodation decks and four helipads
  • Designed to move on four platforms, each with thrusters to keep it stable

It looks like something straight out of a James Bond film – but a British firm believes this floating building could be the future of life at sea.

With 11 accommodation decks, a 360-degree observation area, four helipads, its own dock, several swimming pools and as much space as a cruise liner, it’s not so much a boat as a city.

Although it certainly does not fit the mould of a yacht, the design, called ‘Project Utopia’, was unveiled to stunned onlookers at the glitzy Monaco Yacht Show.

Fantasy island: As this artist's impression shows, Project Utopia is more like a floating city than a boat

Fantasy island: As this artist’s impression shows, Project Utopia is more like a floating city than a boat.

Designer BMT Nigel Gee, of Southampton, Hants, has not yet put a figure on how much the floating island might cost to create or what sort of customer would want to buy it.

The boat is designed to float on four platforms, each with thrusters to keep the whole yacht island stable, even in the extreme seas.

Able to move ‘at slow speeds’, it stretches 65m above the sea’s surface, providing visitors to the 13th floor observation deck with panoramic views.

Just below, the top deck of the main accommodation and service spaces – which could house shops, bars and restaurants – would be covered by a retractable canopy.

Yacht Design Director James Roy believes it challenges preconceptions of traditional naval architecture.

All at sea: Project Utopia is designed to float on four platforms, each with thrusters to keep the whole island stable

All at sea: Project Utopia is designed to float on four platforms, each with thrusters to keep the whole island stable.

He said: ‘Visions of the future are often constrained by familiarity with the present or a reflection on the past.

‘Much is made in today’s design community of starting with a blank sheet of paper yet many, if not all yacht concepts revert back to the traditional form.

‘Because of the perception that a yacht should be a form of transport it becomes an immediate design constraint.

‘Utopia is not an object to travel in, it is a place to be, an island established for anyone who has the vision to create such a place.’

A design for life: A graphic showing the schematics of the yacht island, which comes with with 11 accommodation decks, a 360-degree observation area, four helipads and several swimming pools

A design for life: A graphic showing the schematics of the yacht island, which comes with with 11 accommodation decks, a 360-degree observation area, four helipads and several swimming pools.

In the middle, a large column plunges down into the water, acting as a mooring system and housing a wet dock providing access from the sea.

James said the design, which has been created in partnership with Yacht Island Design, represents how the firm, which works on yachts, commercial and naval craft, uses state-of-the-art technology to bring innovation to the industry.

From fiction to reality: Project Utopia looks remarkably like Stromberg's lair in Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me

From fiction to reality: Project Utopia looks remarkably like Stromberg’s lair in Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

He added: ‘Pioneering design ideas such as Utopia are exactly the types of projects that our team excel in.

‘Our forward-thinking approach and unrivalled state-of-the-art engineering experience allows us to work closely with designers, stylists and shipyards, and bring these ideas to life.’

 

Via DailyMail

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Flying car cleared for the road

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Terrafugia’s Transition roadable aircraft, shown here in an artists’ rendering, has cleared regulatory hurdles that make it street legal.

A flying car is being exempted from regulatory hurdles, meaning future owners of the vehicle will be able to drive it on public streets, the company behind it recently announced.

What this means is that you’ll be able to legally sit in traffic with the rest of the street-legal cars, but have a slight grin as you head home from the general aviation airport where you landed after flying over traffic for the first 20 miles of your commute.

“Think of it as an airplane that drives, not a car that flies,” Anna Mracek Dietrich, the chief operating officer of Terrafugia, the Woburn, Mass.,-based company that is making the Transition roadable aircraft, told me in an email Thursday.

“Once on the ground, the pilot can fold the wings on his Transition with the push of a button, drive home, and park in their garage.”

The exemptions granted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration allow the company to use windshields made of lightweight polycarbonate materials rather than heavier traditional laminated automotive safety glass and tires that are not normally allowed on multi-purpose vehicles.

The Transition’s tires are rated for highway speeds and the vehicle’s weight and fit in the same classification as SUVs and light trucks, Dietrich explained, but they weigh only a fraction of other tires in its class. The exemption makes this OK.

Last year, the vehicle was granted a weight exemption that allows it to be classified as a Light Sport Aircraft by the FAA even though it is 110 pounds too heavy for that rating.

The clearing of these regulatory hurdles will allow Terrafugia to begin delivery of the Transition when it is ready for commercial production next year.

 

Via MSNBC

 

Acoustic ‘cloaking device’ shields objects from sound

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Graphs showing acoustic 'cloaking'

Scientists have shown off a “cloaking device” that makes objects invisible – to sound waves.

Such acoustic cloaking was proposed theoretically in 2008 but has only this year been put into practice.

Described in Physical Review Letters, the approach borrows many ideas from attempts to “cloak” objects from light.

It uses simple plastic sheets with arrays of holes, and could be put to use in making ships invisible to sonar or in acoustic design of concert halls.

Much research has been undertaken toward creating Harry Potter-style “invisibility cloaks” since the feasibility of the idea was first put forward in 2006.

Those approaches are mostly based on so-called metamaterials, man-made materials with properties that do not occur in nature. The metamaterials are designed such that they force light waves to travel around an object; to an observer, it is as if the object were not there.

But researchers quickly found out that the mathematics behind bending these light waves, called transformation optics, could also be applied to sound waves.

“Fundamentally, in terms of hiding objects, it’s the same – how anything is sensed is with some kind of wave and you either hear or see the effect of it,” said Steven Cummer of Duke University. “But when it comes to building the materials, things are very different between acoustics and electromagnetics.

“The thing you need to engineer into the materials is very different behaviour in different directions that the wave travels through it,” he told BBC News.

In 2008, Dr Cummer first described the theory of acoustic cloaking in an article in Physical Review Letters, and earlier this year a group from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrated the first practical use of the theory in an article in the same journal.

That work showed acoustic invisibility in a shallow layer of water, at ultrasound frequencies above those we can hear.

Now, Dr Cummer and his colleagues have shown off an acoustic cloaking technique that works in air, for audible frequencies between one and four kilohertz – corresponding to two octaves on the higher half of a piano.

Acoustic cloaking deviceIt works by using stacked sheets of plastic with regular arrays of holes through them. The exact size and placement of the holes on each sheet, and the spacing between the sheets, has a predictable effect on incoming sound waves.

When placed on a flat surface, the stack redirects the waves such that reflected waves are exactly as they would be if the stack were not there at all.

That means that an object under the stack – in the team’s experiments, a block of wood about 10cm long – would not “hear” the sound, and any attempts to locate the object using sound waves would not find it.

“How the sound reflects off this reflecting surface with this composite object on it – which is pretty big and has a cloaking shell on it – really reflects… just like a flat surface does,” Dr Cummer said.

Hole poking

Ortwin Hess, a director of Imperial College London’s Centre for Plasmonics and Metamaterials, called the work “a really remarkable experimental demonstration”.

“It shows very nicely that although acoustic and electromagnetic waves are very different in nature, the powers of transformation optics and transformation acoustics are [similar] – I’m quite pleased that there’s activity on both ends.”

Professor Hess pointed out that the demonstration was for very directed sound waves, and only in two dimensions, but the most notable aspect of the approach was its simplicity.

“It’s almost like someone could take a pencil and poke holes in a particular way in the plastic,” he told BBC News.

“It’s a bit more challenging for three dimensions. I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be possible but it won’t be just an afternoon’s work.”

The work shows that an object can be hidden from sonar, and protected from incoming sound, but the same principles could be applied in the other direction – that is, containing or directing the sound within a space, for instance in soundproofing a studio or fine-tuning the acoustics of a concert hall.

 

Via  BBC News