How can a country stimulate its economy? Some might create new jobs or encourage citizens to spend. Taiwan has decided to drum up some interest in one of its cities by placing a massive rubber duck in its harbor.
If you think that a giant inflatable rubber ducky is a silly way to bring in some extra money, think again. The 59 foot, 2,205 pound yellow duck was met by 200,000 eager onlookers at the shores of Kaohsiung’s harbor last week to welcome the custom inflatable. However, 24 hours later the larger than life rubber duck was gone.
The duck didn’t float away or deflate, it “swam” back to its coop to avoid being damaged by Typhoon Usagi. Two days later the duck resurfaced, with 100,000 spectators waiting to welcome it back. The inflatable creation is the brainchild of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. There have been other versions of the same inflatable duck in Hong Kong and Beijing before this one made Taiwan its home.
Taiwan officials are estimating that their giant bathtub buddy will attract more than 3 million visitors to Kaohsuing and generate over $30 million for local businesses in the process. While this may seem like a very unorthodox and somewhat crazy way to bring in more money, over a half a million people came to see the duck in the first three days. Hofman has also said recently that over 300 other cities have contacted him about bringing the big yellow ducky to their harbors.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are saying that they have developed an inflatable antenna made of Mylar for small satellites that can increase communications substantially.
The inflatable antenna works with existing CubeSats and is inflated once they are in orbit. The inflatable technology will allow CubeSats to transmit data back to Earth seven times farther than before. The antenna makes it possible to transmit from past the moon. The researchers tried two different designs for the antenna. After testing both the conical and cylindrical designs, they found that the cylindrical design outperformed the conical design. The cylindrical antenna was able to transmit data 10 times faster and seven times farther than the existing CubeSat antennae.
The reason the researchers developed an inflatable antenna is because large, far-ranging radio dishes are unable to be stored inside a CubeSat’s tight quarters. The inflatable design allows the antenna to be tucked away and inflated once it reaches orbit. One of the main issues the researchers faced was how to inflate the antenna once it is in space. At first they were going to install a system of pressure valves to inflate the antenna, but limited space wouldn’t allow it. Instead, they decided to use a sublimating powder, a chemical compound that transforms from a solid powder to gas when exposed to low pressure. Once the satellite reaches space, the difference in pressure triggers a chemical reaction and like magic the antenna is inflated.
The MIT team refined their design at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The innovative design addressed the main limitations of CubeSat communications: size, weight, and power. The inflatable antenna is a low-cost, economical solution to the current communications problem.
The world’s largest inflatable waterslide is making its first trip outside the United States. The Trippo will be blown up in New Zealand very soon and will remain there until March of next year. So if you are planning a trip to Tekapo Springs before March 2014, make sure you ride the Trippo!
If you have never seen the Trippo, it is 40 feet tall, 175 feet long, and has three separate slides! The Trippo is currently used by three other operators in the USA. It has already been an attraction at Myrtle Beach, where the fees to ride helped pay for the lifeguard services on the beach. The Trippo replaced the Hippo, which was retired due to wear and tear in 2012.
So what does it cost to buy the world’s largest inflatable waterslide? The Trippo comes with a price tag of $90,000. However, it was estimated that it paid for itself after only a few months and brought in around $150,000 in revenue.
WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather
This weekend in downtown Los Angeles, people can visit a giant inflatable structure you have to see to believe. Located in Grand Park, Exxopolis is an enormous inflatable structure that people can walk through. Made up of massive geometric sections, Exxopolis is art and an experience.
Exxopolis isn’t just some giant inflatable bounce house. It is an experience for the senses, with vibrant colors and music surrounding you as you walk through the structure. The designers describe the attraction as a “wondrous luminarium”. It is a 175 foot long, 95 foot wide maze-like structure with light, colors, and music. It was designed so that people of all ages could enjoy the Exxopolis experience.
Exxopolis was created by Architects of Air, an England based company. The main artist, Alan Parkinson, has been designing these structures he calls luminaria since 1992. The group has traveled to 38 countries to set up their exhibitions that are made of translucent colored plastic. The shapes used for the structures are modeled after Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals. Exxopolis is the 20th luminarium that has been created by the Architects of Air. It took six months and 55 people to build it. There are around 9,000 pieces that are joined together by zippers and it takes a full day to set up.
If you want to see Exxopolis for yourself, you can visit the display this weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then again between September 13-15th.