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Inflatable

The European Union has invested in a project designed to keep damaged ships stable and afloat by means of airbag-like balloons. It is hoped that the new system, developed under the Su Sy project, will give emergency services extra time to evacuate stricken ships, minimizing the devastating losses of life synonymous with the sinking of cruise ships such as the Costa Concordia, and the South Korean ferry Sewol, which sank earlier this year. Read More
There probably aren't many domed concrete structures where you live, and there's a reason for that – they're difficult to build. Doing so usually requires the construction of a supporting wooden structure, that holds the concrete in place while it hardens. Now, however, a team at the Vienna University of Technology has devised a system that allows concrete shell structures to simply be "inflated" and cinched together with a steel cable. Read More
It's tough to slow down spacecraft descending through Mars' thin atmosphere at supersonic speeds, as they need to drop to a speed that allows them to land in one piece. This is why NASA is developing lightweight inflatable flying saucers that will fit around the outer rims of spacecraft such as human habitats, inflating as the habitats descend to permit a safe landing. The technology will allow astronauts to land bigger and heavier spacecraft on Mars without needing to carry massive atmospheric shields or huge amounts of extra fuel. Read More
Volvo isn't afraid to try new things with inflatables. Those things include its pedestrian airbag and now a child safety seat concept. The new concept has nothing to do with crash-activated airbag systems though, it's a child seat with a fully inflatable structure designed to make the seat lighter and more portable. Read More
Winds are stronger and steadier at higher altitudes, that’s why the Buoyant Air Turbine (BAT) from Altaeros is pushing to be the highest wind turbine in history. Already tested to 500 feet off the ground in 45 mph winds, this helium-filled shell with a wind turbine in the middle is soon shooting for a world record 1,000 ft float. Packing down into a shipping container for transport, the BAT is being proposed as a quickly deployable tethered power source for remote areas and emergency zones. Read More
Inflatable tents are nothing new, with offerings such as the Wedge, the Cave and the Kelty Mach 6 built around inflatable frames to speed up pitching times. But Utah-based start-up Aescent is turning things upside down with its four-man domed tent that features an inflatable mattress built into the base to provide a comfortable place to rest your weary bones after a day's hiking. Read More

Cultured arachnid fans are in for a treat with a new artwork from Vienna-based collective Numen. String is a 3D grid of ropes suspended within a huge inflated cube. Users can enter the exhibit and clamber their way around its intricate mesh in a blank and disorientating environment. Read More

Need to pump up a ball, bike tire or whatnot, but don't feel like doing a lot of manual pumping? You could take the item up to your local gas station and use its compressor, but Airman is hoping that you'll use its Airgun instead. Read More
There's a reason that they say the two good days of boat ownership are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. In addition to spending thousands on the boat itself, you're looking at dock fees, trailer equipment, boat parking at home, maintenance ... the expenses go on and on. Dutch outfit Aquacrafts employs inflatable design to help cut down on some of those expenses, offering a sailboat that's much easier to transport and store. The 3-in-1 boat can also float under man and motor power. Read More
The TIWAL 3.2 is an inflatable sailing dinghy that can be assembled or packed down into two bags in a little under 20 minutes. According to its creators, the dinghy is a "high performance" sailing vessel with a multi-purpose design that not only allows families and first time sailors to experience the joys of sailing in calm weather, but also lets expert sailors test their limits. Read More
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