Boats are as old as human civilization, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improving the design. Case in point is the SkiSea, a new hull concept out of Australia that uses special skis to provide hydrofoil-like lift. SkiSea creator Trevor Payne says this approach allows for greater fuel economy, stability in rough waters, a shallow draught, and higher speeds while generating minimal wash or bow waves. Gizmag spoke with Payne about his design.
Living on a houseboat may seem very romantic, but the day-to-day misery of hauling water from shore and listening to the thump of the generator can soon take the icing off the cupcake. As a glimpse into what could be the future of aquatic living, two Fraunhofer Institutes and their partners are working on a self-sufficient floating home that creates its own water, electricity, and heat without looking like a works barge.
In the waters near Portsmouth Naval Base, a small black boat recently roared about with no one at the controls. It hadn't run amok after the pilot fell overboard, but was instead a demonstration of a new robotic system developed by ASV and BAE Systems. The technology package can be retrofitted to the Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB) used by the Royal Navy (RN) to turn them into high-speed, autonomous, unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance platforms.
Warships are only as effective as far as they can see, so DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift Of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort is aiming to extend their horizons by giving them a crow's nest 1,500 ft (457 m) tall by way of a towed parafoil. A TALONS prototype recently completed sea trials off the US East Coast as part of a project to provide ships of every size with better long-distance communications and situational awareness.
The crown-of-thorns starfish poses a major threat to the wellbeing of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Wild, uncontrollable outbreaks over the past few decades have seen the pests multiply to devour vast amounts of coral, and as it stands there's little that can be done. One method conservationists have used to some effect is injecting them with ox bile, but researchers have now discovered that a simple dose of vinegar can do much the same job, promising to significantly cut the cost of an expensive battle to rid a World Heritage Site of this damaging pest.
On Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Crown-of-thorns starfish is the scourge of the deep as it eats and destroys large swathes of coral and threatens the overall health of the reef. This starfish is proving difficult to find and eradicate with conventional methods, so Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot – dubbed the COTSbot – that's designed to automatically search out and destroy these aquatic pests.
The team at U-Boat Worx (UBW) has produced a number of futuristic-looking, submersible craft designs over the years, including the Ferrari-esque HP Sport Sub 2 and the superyacht-friendly Sub 3. The latest addition – the C-Researcher – is claimed to be the world’s first fully-transparent, 3-person underwater craft capable of diving to the formidable depth of 1,700 meters (5,577 feet).
At first look, the Tetra-POD is a large, capable ATV trailer that can haul gear, tools and debris as an open tub or an enclosed box. A closer inspection reveals that it's also a boat. With a few simple steps, the lid swings down to join the trailer body in creating a hull that can be motored out onto the open water.
Bulletproof vests are great if you happen to get shot, but what happens if you get shot on a boat and fall overboard or have to dive into choppy waters to escape a fire? Well, hopefully you're wearing the Flotation Armor Torso System (FATS) from BCB International. Not only does this vest protect you from bullets, it self-inflates to serve as a life vest.
Flotation vests save thousands of people from drowning every year, but they aren't of any use if they aren't actually worn. Despite their utility, many people choose not to wear such vests for reasons of comfort, fashion, or space, so Kingii is marketing what is calls the world’s smallest inflatable as an alternative. The focus of an Indiegogo campaign, the wrist-worn device is aimed at swimmers, surfers, sailors, and others who like getting their feet wet.