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The Design blog

Self-sufficient underwater structures to sustain life in the future

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 03:33 AM PST

Nikonian Bar:

The problem:

The progress made by man is no doubt tremendous. Man has been able to reach the moon and do things that would be considered miraculous in the past - all with the aid of science and technology. Some things, however, still elude his control. Nature cannot be conquered and can only be co-existed with. This is something that man has learned via the innumerable natural disasters. When earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes happen, man is reduced to a mere witness. The only solution seems to be in precaution rather than prevention. Thus the idea of devices that can monitor and give indications of such activity came into picture. Better still is the idea of utilizing the vast underwater world which is relatively stable against many such influences. Since more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, it makes sense to construct self-sustaining and self-sufficient underwater structures which can help to avoid many of the natural disasters.

Self-sufficient underwater structures
Self-sufficient underwater structures

How serious is it?

The magnitude of losses during times of natural disasters is very huge. These losses include the loss of human lives, health, homes, property and livelihood. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that about $652 billion was the toll due to natural disasters in the 1990s. The number of such disasters seems to be growing too. While they were fewer than 100 in 1975, their number had crossed 400 in 2005. One decade before, 1.6 billion people were affected by natural disasters. This decade saw 2.6 million people being affected. With the cost of living being at least 15 times higher than it was in the 1950s, the economic damage that the natural disasters bring about is only going to rise with times.

The panacea:

The solution comes from a radical idea which, if made practical, would be the panacea against the natural disasters. The deep waters are protected from most of the natural disasters. Even in case of a tsunami, the external surface of the waters is affected more than the interiors. Thus, underwater worlds provide safety and self-sustainability. These volumetric attributes of the seas and oceans will provide the apt support for humankind in apocalyptic situations. The oceans and seas are treasure troves of resources and sustaining large populations with food and water will not be a problem. Thus the solution of designing underwater skyscrapers and cities will be self-sufficient for the race to sustain.


The inspiration comes from the most primitive and strongest instinct in man - to survive. Science fiction has often used the idea of undersea cities where humanity finds safe haven in. There is also a line of thought which is very interesting and worth pursuing. It says that the more man tampers and attacks nature, the more natural disasters that will occur. This follows the law of action and reaction. In such a scenario, the thought of living in harmony with nature by blending with it is another strong inspiration for the construction of undersea cities. The same instinct for survival has also inspired ideas such as living in space.


The difficulties involved in the idea are not hard to imagine. As pictured in many science fiction movies, one of the foremost problems would be that of accommodating everyone. Currently, there are more than 7 billion people on the planet. Making cities of such a scale so as to accommodate the people would be a huge problem. Space would be no constraint for water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface. But the time, energy and resources needed to do the same would be tremendous. It will no doubt be the biggest ever project undertaken by humanity.


Several ideas have reached different stages of implementation and could be helpful in achieving the dream of underwater cities and skyscrapers.

1. AQVA habitat:

AQVA Habitat
AQVA Habitat

The AQVA Habitat is a double structured machine that works in parallel on twin processes - one under the water surface and one above it. Both the ‘machines’ are part of the same system however. The component has been designed to function as a water-purification system while the component above the water surface acts as a space-generator system. The interactions between the hexagonal components above and below the water surface are intended to produce an appealing urban living space. With food, energy and water needs being met, this will act as a fantastic module to develop into underwater cities.

2. Sub Biosphere 2

Sub-Biosphere 2
Sub-Biosphere 2

The Sub Biosphere 2 consists of a central biome that supports eight surrounding biomes. The life-sustenance is done via the central biome that houses all the support systems for air, food, water, electricity. It does this by innovatively controlling the varying pressures at different depths. The surrounding biomes will act as residences for life. The Sub Biosphere will be able to surface and dive into the depths as per the needs and it will utilize the water pressure and currents and a gigantic heart-lung machine to sustain it. This could again be proliferated to create a colony, a society and a city too!

3. Water Scraper:


Aptly named as the waterscraper or more accurately, the hO2+ scraper, this is an autonomous floating unit in the oceans that is a functional, livable and self-sustaining space. The idea is that many such water-scrapers can constitute a floating city! Making use of the winds, the waves, tides and the solar energy, it powers itself for all the needs and thus is a clean and ‘green’ habitat. It has been equipped with bioluminescent tentacles using which it forms a symbiotic association with the sea fauna. As if like a poetic anti-thesis of a skyscraper, the water-scraper grows downwards into the depths rather than rise to heights. The ballast and balancing tanks keep it afloat while the tentacles help in balance and motion. All the different regions are well-located. For instance, the living areas are located just below the surface of water where natural light is the maximum.

Future Seed is a curvaceous building for sustainable development of Thailand

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 03:28 AM PST

Radhicka S Saxena:

The Board of Investment (BIO) fair has gone eco friendly this year with its theme "Going Green for the Future." A line up of green materials and products has been included at the exhibition. After the floods in Thailand, intensive rebuilding activities have been taken up on a large scale. So, along with the eco-conscious development of Thailand, an effort to boost people's morale after the floods is also being made. Among the hoard of manufacturers, even Bridgestone is taking a crack at exhibiting its pioneering eco technologies at the demonstration this year.

Bridgestone Pavilion
Bridgestone Pavilion

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Bridgestone Pavilion
Bridgestone Pavilion by Architectkidd

The Bridgestone Pavilion, built by Architectkidd, is being displayed at the fair. This green structure showcases Bridgestone's endeavor to create sustainable designs. The construction has a striking exterior done up in vivid red and white hues. The arched structure embedded with a massive dome shaped door draws immense attention. The fair is a good platform for Architectkidd to show off its construction practices that are starkly different from the standard methods employed in the industry. The scheme applied in the construction was to maximize space on the inside and cut out all superfluous details on the outside like the edges and corners.

The company's breakthrough technology and materials have been used to construct the edifice. The shiny outer surface of the building has been layered with high performance coatings such as Firestone Ecowhite RubberGard on the roof and EVA heat-reflecting film lamination on the windows as well as doors. The entire building has been made using polymer based materials. Prefabricated handmade steel frames have been used to erect the structure. Many green elements have been incorporated in the construction. The flooring is made from used materials. Solar panels have been installed to ensure utilization of renewable energy. The light transmitting solar panels sourced from Panasonic and Sanyo have been put up on the roof of the building as the skylight. Hence, the pavilion has been aptly dubbed as 'Future Seed.'

Via: Arch Daily/ Sgcarmart

Seven digital walls to interact with your surroundings

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 01:27 AM PST

Arjun Wadia:

Digital walls are an excellent medium of interaction through technology. This interface can be an ideal display for specific information, especially in spatial structures. Glittering high resolution LCD screens combined with user-movable features catches all the necessary attention. A digital wall can be used to display information in the most interactive ways through modish backgrounds and interactive content. It is captivating to the general audience and very easy to use. Considering specific examples, here's a list of the seven best interactive wall designs that can enhance every surrounding.

Shanghai Sphere 2046 combines personal mobility with mass transportation

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 01:21 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

In the year 2046, environmental challenges and increasing world population will change individual transportation tremendously within expanding city structures. With residential areas compacting to accommodate more and more people, mass transport systems and individual mobility will need to be organized in a way that can easily be integrated into the urban planning structure without incurring massive infrastructure expenditure. The Shanghai Sphere 2046 is one such vehicle concept that addresses the challenges of this future scenario and presents a solution for person mobility in the form of a sphere. Designed by German industrial designer Oliver May, the vehicle is based on a geometric solid structure. The vehicle will guarantee a stable ride via an electricity-driven powertrain that is gyro-stabilized for optimal performance.

Shanghai Sphere 2046
Shanghai Sphere 2046

To overcome the problems of instability caused by the act of balancing a sphere without wheels, the Shanghai Sphere 2046 uses a gyroscopic action provided by a spinning wheel. The unique corporate design of the city and the landmarks of Shanghai’s skyline provided the inspiration for the vehicle's unique silhouette. The underside of the exterior hull bears the ball bearings and the room for necessary functional parts is provided by the lightweight carbon fiber and titan structure.

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Shanghai Sphere 2046
Shanghai Sphere 2046 by Oliver May

Handheld units that accept augmented guidance from passengers will be used in addition with GPS to steer the vehicle that has been built to function without a dashboard or a steering wheel. The fusion of hull and rim creates a transparent doubled shell for the Shanghai Sphere 2046. The outer frame of the vehicle is based on technology from Tesla and can be used to generate additional power. This would allow the vehicle to increase its range when running low on battery charge.

The biggest design advantage for the four-seater Shanghai Sphere 2046 is that while it is designed to make individual travel more comfortable, many such units can be combined to make a linked chain to create a public transport system. These connected spheres can be mounted onto prefabricated construction components with a low friction surface and create a new holistic transportation system. By linking multiple vehicles via couplings, people traveling to the same destination can be transported more economically and efficiently.

This would allow cities to free up more public space and make public traveling more efficient and less space consuming. Since these vehicles run on electricity, they can also help cities meet their environmental goals and reduce dependence on traditional fuels.

Source: Michelin Challenge Design

Billboard House is a unique blend of outdoor media and housing

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 01:11 AM PST

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Billboards are a great way to advertize, which gives displayed products a great visibility and high consumer exposure. Giving this form of advertising an all new meaning is a great work done by the design team named Apostrophy. They have come up with the Billboard House, which has brought together the concept of housing and outdoor media.

Billboard house
Billboard house

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Billboard house
billboard house by apostrophy

Billboard House is a residential prototype, which is a multistory design that nicely rests on a trailer base. The roof of the design has been smothered with solar cells, which harness solar energy. The handrails feature hydroponic plants that act as a source of food for the owner. The functional design has been created keeping three kinds of users in mind: the client, the owner dweller and the billboard agency.

All the three will extract benefits from the design, which can be easily transported. The client will fetch advantage by placing advertisement on the billboard. Further, the owner dweller will fetch extra income that will come from the rent charged for advertising. On the other hand, the billboard agency will mint money, in the form of commissions, by coordinating between the client and the owner dweller.

Billboard House will prove to be an apt housing setup apart from acting as a great advertising platform. The setup can be altered as per the lifestyle and taste of the owner. The design of Billboard House has been shaped like a slim rectangle, which has a tri-vision billboard wedged on one of its face. The other side comprises of movable Thai-styled panels. Different types of patterns are created when these panels are moved.

All the surfaces have been used in an efficient way, making sure that available space is not wasted. Under furniture storage space will take care that all the items are nicely placed as this will accommodate stuff without consuming a lot of free space. A linear arrangement of functional units, like kitchen, home theater, bathroom and pantry, has been adopted, which have been placed against one wall. Billboard House is an ingenious structure, which is a great example of skilful designing.

Billboard houseBillboard house by apostrophy

Via: Designboom

e-runner Mini Sport EV adds fun to your ride

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 01:08 AM PST

Jaimin Bhavsar:

Tajima Motor Corporation has developed a Sport car named as e-runner Mini Sport EV. With the release of a zero-emission mini sports car, the corporation is ready to turn heads in the international market. In 2010, Sport EV was put in showcase for publicity and it will run on roads of Japan. The company added that the go-kart-looking electric vehicle will be available very shortly.

e-runner Mini Sport EV
e-runner Mini Sport EV

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e-runner Mini Sport EV
Tajima e-runner Mini Sport EV

Weight of this vehicle is 280 kilograms and it is 2.49 meters long, 1.29 meters wide and 1.09 meters high. It is powered by 40Ah lithium-ion polymer battery and could run 30 kilometers with a single charge. But if you think it is fragile for you then don't disappoint yourself because 80Ah and 120Ah versions are also available with better functionality.

The EV Mini Sport car comes equipped with a 0.59-kilowatt motor which is not much efficient. This motor enables this sports car reach top speed of 70 kilometers per hour. But it is a bit slow car that does not match sports car standards. Although both, its sleek design and environmental benefits are considered the major assets, its prohibitive price could stop a large number of fans from actually purchasing the zero-emission car.

Nevertheless, this mini sport car will available for $47,800 in US market, while the base model starts at $26,000. Buyers can then order separate batteries, exterior panels, lamps, and other accessories such as additional tires to enhance the looks of their car.

Via: Diginfo

iHome iDM5 Bluetooth Keyboard doubles as a speaker phone

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 01:03 AM PST

Dakshina Thakur:

Users who were feeling a dearth of positioning a comfortable keyboard next to their amazing iPad may simply put their feet up. iHome has finally designed their new iDM5 Bluetooth iPad Keyboard which meticulously conjugates the functionality of a speaker and phone in one form factor. Quite a lot more than anyone's run of the mill iPad keyboard, the creative solution amazingly merges many of the features that are rendered via separate devices.

iDM5 dock
iDM5 dock

Enclosed in a compact, lightweight chassis, the island-style keyboard enables users to conveniently connect it to any tablet and have iDM5 work as a Bluetooth speaker. In fact, the peripheral can even function seamlessly as a speaker phone to take phone calls. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

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iDM5 dock
iHome iDM5 Bluetooth keyboard iPad dock

Integrated with spacious QWERTY keys, the latest addition to iHome's clan also ensures easy typing for users who seek a blend of comfort and top-notch execution. The stylish looking Bluetooth-enabled piece of hardware gets settled in a sturdy, premium enclosure for an overall enhanced appeal. That certainly is a step-up from several standalone Bluetooth keyboards that have been buzzing the market.

Besides this, the model definitely pulls off well in delivering great sound quality through the embedded speakers. Users may appreciate the solid configuration and assimilation of robust components. Though the sound standard may not be as effectual as solely dedicated speaker docks, the neat iDM5 does manage to leave users impressed.

Some may even find the variant as one of the most effective accessories designed to leverage the productivity as well as performance facets. Be it scribbling down long emails, listening to music, staying connected or indulging in games, the Bluetooth keyboard scores well on every assignment. The new iHome iDM5 Bluetooth Keyboard, iPad dock is yet to receive an official word on its pricing point and availability.

Via: Electronista

Lagoon basin with fish to enliven your bathroom

Posted: 24 Jan 2012 12:53 AM PST

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Bathrooms, which were ignored in terms of styling a few years back, have become an attention grabbing zone, thanks to the glitzy accessories present in the market to ornament it. Kosta Boda, one of the leading brands of glassware and modern glass, has come up with an all new creation that will leave people in a state of complete surprise. Christened the Lagoon basin with fish, the new washbasin is sure to replace the plain looking sinks in the bathroom that are everything but attractive.

Unique Glass Sinks
Unique Glass Sinks

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Unique Glass Sink
Glass Sinks with Fish by Kjell Engman

The all new glass sink line has been created by a designer cum artist named Kjell Engman, who has presented glass in an all new fashion. The design of this amazing sink has fetched heavy inspiration from an aquarium, which is colorful and full of life at the same time. It looks like a frozen ice block and each sink has decorative air bubbles, which creates a pleasant image of water. The glass basin also consists of a fish, which has been frozen inside it. This gives it a little of color and makes the sink look all the more eye appealing.

The washbasin will be a perfect fit in a modern or contemporary setup. It has a unique style, which has been crafted with utmost care. The Lagoon basin with fish looks like a beautifully crafted show piece that has a height, width and volume measuring 500mm, 300mm and 103cl, respectively. So, install the sumptuous glass washbasin in your bathroom and give the area an all together fresh appeal.

Via: Trendir

Tab iPad stand provides the perfect balance in your life

Posted: 23 Jan 2012 10:53 PM PST

Sahil Khurana:

iPads have won many hearts and set people drooling in no time. There are many stands available for this sleek gadget, which help us place the iPad in a vertical as well as horizontal position. Provide the perfect partner to your iPad with the excellently designed Tab iPad stand that will support Apple tablets of both generations. The sleek iPad stand has been crafted out of a solid acrylic block and will grace your surroundings with its minimalistic yet trendy design.

Tab iPad stand
Tab iPad stand

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Tab iPad stand
Laser cut of solid acrylic, Plodes Tab is a beautifully minimal iPad stand for your iPad original or iPad2.

Measuring 3.5" in length and 11" wide, and all dressed up in black or white, the iPad stand will make its purchase all the more worthwhile. The attention-grabbing iPad stand boasts of a great glossy finish and has been created just for the users convenience. You can adjust the viewing angle of the Tab iPad Stand to 30 degrees and realign the viewing experience according to your eye levels and comfort. Flexibility is further personified as the stand has the capacity to be adjusted in any manner without much difficulty. This feature makes the stand an obvious and preferred choice for all kinds of events, trade shows, etc.

Tab iPad stand can be customized according to needs and fancies of the consumers. As this version takes care of the first two generations of the Apple devices, the third generation's stand design is still in the pipeline. Bring the amazing Tab iPad stand to your abode and see how you will never have to look down ever again.

Via: Plodes

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