In this, our latest look at the creations of unfettered minds, we showcase an ‘urban waterfall’ in the sky, a ‘hyper-submersible’ with excellent underwater manners and the world’s first commercially available jetpack.
Solar City Tower
If all goes according to plan, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be the first zero-carbon footprint games – and this way-out concept from Swiss architects RAFAA Architecture and Design could help it get there. The tower operates as a solar power plant by day, producing energy for Rio as well as the Olympic village, and at night turns into a pumped seawater storage system to generate power. A special feature of the building is the urban waterfall, which on special occasions will be created by pumping water over the edges of the building to become a “symbol of the forces of Nature”, as the architects tell it.
It features a retractable platform for bungee jumping, a glass sky walk, an observation deck and an “urban balcony” situated at the top of the tower, some 105 m above sea level. Its designers propose locating the tower on Cotunduba Island, at the entrance to Guanabara Bay.
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New Zealand-based company Martin Aircraft are taking orders for the first commercially available jet pack, an extremely clever and efficient machine constructed from carbon fibre composite. It has a dry weight of 113 kg (excluding safety equipment) and is driven by a 2-litre two-stroke engine rated at 150 kW. According to its manufacturers, the jetpack has a ceiling of around 2 400 m (estimated). Its two 50 cm rotors are made from a carbon and Kevlar composite.
Naturally, it comes with redundant systems designed to take over in the event that something goes awry. If a crash-landing is required, a pilot-operated toggle fires a small amount of propellant to deploy a ballistic parachute (similar to a car airbag) that allows the pilot and jetpack to descend together. It also features an impact-absorbing carriage. Maximum flight time is about 30 minutes.
Marion Hyper-Submersible Powerboat
Company founder and inventor Reynolds Marion happily admits to being self-educated in the science and engineering of submersibles, revealing that he has studied the field “with intense interest” since childhood (as a young boy, he designed a fully submersible river raft that would use 200-litre drums).
His Hyper-Sub, albeit at the working-prototype stage, is billed as the first small craft with the horsepower, seaworthiness and range to allow operation on the high seas while also functioning as a self-charging, autonomous, one-atmosphere submarine.
Video: Click here to watch Ray fly the Martin Jetpack for a VIP.