Bionic Dolphins And Whale Waldoes
The Bionic Dolphin is a remarkable submersible hydrofoil that can cruise across open water at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Underwater? No problem for the NoLand Bionic Dolphin, which can travel underwater at speeds of 40 miles per hour. It's starting to look like science fiction writer David Brin's whale waldoes might be possible.
(Bionic Dolphin at NextFest 2006)
I saw the Bionic Dolphin at NextFest 2006, a technology exposition hosted by Wired magazine in NYC's Javits Center. Surprisingly compact, the device is powered by a 425-horsepower Corvette engine (pictured below).
(This "dolphin" has a 425-hp engine under the hood)
The Bionic Dolphin is built to withstand rough seas; it's skin and structure are built of a composite of materials including Kevlar, used in bulletproof vests. The custom-built vehicle cost about $350,000 to build, but two-seater versions would probably sell for about $120,000 in production. Its inventor, Thomas "Doc" Rowe, hopes to place the vehicle in resorts by 2007.
If you are looking for even more extreme concepts for water gear, look no further than David Brin's whale waldo, from his 1979 novel Sundiver:
With a half muttered prayer to the Dreamer, he touched a switch releasing the amplifiers on both Makakai's waldo and his own, then cautiously turned his arms to set the fins into motion. He flexed his legs, the massive flukes thrust back jerkily in response, and his machine immediately rolled over and sank.
Jacob tried to correct but overcompensated, making the waldo tumble even worse. The beating of his fins momentarily made the area around him a churning mass of bubbles, until patiently, by trial and error, he got himself righted.
He pushed off again, carefully, to get some headway, then arched his back and kicked out. The waldo responded with a great tail-slashing leap into the air.
(Read more about Brin's whale waldoes)
Be sure to read the article about Robert Heinlein's waldo, the science-fictional origin of this real-world device.
If you are interested in unusual underwater vehicles, take a look at these:
Read more about the Bionic Dolphin. Thanks to reader Erik Nodacker for the story connection.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/29/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941
myCopter Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV)
Not quite as freewheeling as the sfnal version, but it might work.
Spam Autonomous Cars And Philip K. Dick
'The news vending machine, being homotropic, headed toward them...'- Philip K. Dick, 1963.
Toyota's Camatte Has William Gibson's Digital Hood
'That's a nice car out there," Rydell said...'- William Gibson, 1993.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones
Traffic is everywhere.
Palcohol Powdered Alcohol - Try Or Ban?
'I had a small can of powdered alcohol disguised as tooth powder...'
pd.id Personal Drink ID Device Like Dune 'Poison Snooper'
'The jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers)...'
Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'
Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'
Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'
Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'
EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?
Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'
MIT's Shape-Shifting Robot Materials
The T-100, an advanced prototype, is made of liquid metal. Not quite ready.
LS3 AlphaDog Robot Marine Corps Video
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...'
Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black
'Well, we have a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'
Remotely Operated Gardening Rover - Student's Space Agricultural Robot
'There were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.'
Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
Lando Calrissian, are you still available?
'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Mr. Sulu, take us out.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories