Future Cars

I just watched Discovery Channel’s episode on Future Cars, and I’m so amazed on the car designers’ visions of the future. The feature presented the sort of ‘brand new DNA’ for automobiles, wherein there is a convergence of revolutionary technology and artistry for the cars in the future. How would you react on a future car that has no engines, no drivers, no limits and no steering wheel? I think this one is so amazing, indeed, the future never ceases to surprise us.

So what would they look like? The cars. For one thing, the shape is different, but it doesn’t defy the conventions, after all, according to Tom Peters, ‘if you understand classic design, then you’ll understand future design’. Right. There is that unusual blend of form and function and convenient fluid efficiency. The visibility is unpredictable, converging high fashion and high technology. I think these changes are so cool – the car upgrades, model changes, the idea of ‘no-steering-wheel’ – and probably just joysticks to manipulate the car. The GM gathered all the best car designers to design on that skateboard: no engine, and petroleum-free, wherein these designers can attach different shape bodies, attach car parts in different positions – well, to put it simply, they can do anything above the skateboard. The designers came out with really unique revolutionary ideas.

The idea that the future car would be ‘drive by wire’ thus eliminating mechanical linkages and is flexible, totally interests me. Not only that – the future car would have minimum weight and perfect aerodynamics, low resistance mobility, and very efficient. Moreover, the cars would have totally different wheels – new wheels that would eliminate the potential ‘flats’.

I just love the show. So cool!

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Changi Airport Terminal 3

I just watched my favorite show in Discovery Channel – Man Made Marvels featuring Singapore’s Changi Airport. I just love the show because it showcased detailed information in building this cool airport’s terminal 3 – radical roof design that opens up at certain time of the day, and about improving the whole runways without disrupting the busiest airport in Southeast Asia. The fact that the terminal 3 airport’s roof is the biggest heaviest roof there is, surely, this airport is a man made marvel. This one, is simply, a battle of ‘air supremacy’.

In the Southeast Island states, Singapore is considered as an economic giant. Its success lies in its location where it’s sort of, a crossing point between two worlds. This made the place Asia’s first aviation hub, which can accommodate a staggering more than 10 000 people.

Of course, there are rivals in terminal efficiencies. Along with South Korea, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Singapore can accommodate more passengers there is, and it is equally important to design the new terminal with a maximum capacity in mind to meet rising demands.

Terminal 3 is the largest terminal with stunningly designs: spacious walls of glass and a giant see-through roof, plus the captivating indoor greenery of bold designs of grass, greenery and natural lighting! But everything that is in there didn’t just materialize out in thin air. Terminal 3 is more like 63 soccer fields in size that can cater to more than 20 million. To top it all off, it can accommodate the world’s passenger jet, the Airbus A380. There are surely challenges that needed to be dealt with. At the heart of the airport are vital runways that can’t be shut down when the construction of the largest and heaviest roof begins. It is a dangerous process, and definitely, there are issues of safety in here.

The ingenious dominant design of the terminal three is made possible through the Lee Harryman, the Project Manager of CPG Consultants, the same design firm who worked Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 and 3. It is very crucial to build these for seven years in timely cost-effective manner. Even more crucial is building the heaviest roof, that would certainly make up the airport’s distinctive element – unique skylights to let the

natural lighting come through the whole building. It would minimize electricity use, surely.

Building the roof is a colossal task, mainly because it is heavy, of about 74,000 tons in weight. It would be a challenge to build this through cranes, as cranes may not be able to handle the whole foundation. So the solution is to prefabricate the roof in ten sections, and install the trusses one by one through a special ingenious method – transferring the trusses with the use of ten hydraulic jets, working exactly in the same pace, and mind you, the whole job really demands accuracy and precision.

One of the outstanding features about the roof is that it’s flat, which makes it differ from those conventional roofs out there. But with this design comes another stumbling block for the engineers: there should be an efficient draining system for the flat roof. Engineers need to face the forces of nature: the country’s tropical climate and its fierce tropical typhoons that could pose serious damage for the roof. Surely the flat roof stands out with its design, but it’s no good if it would collapse in immense strain due to the extreme rainfall conditions. But using advance technology and engineering, the designers manage to come up super efficient draining systems for the terminal. So cool!

Another superb thing about the airport is the glass walls. But the designers and engineers need to rethink the transparent design. So how would the glass deal with the sun’s unbearable heat? It may as well make the whole terminal 3 the world’s largest greenhouse there is. But the designer firm expert in glass mechanics and responsible for the glass walls, Hugh Doughton and Associates came out with really ingenious plans about the nature of the glass to be constructed. They came out with the idea of heat-eliminating glass, and this glass is tainted, embedded with dots to absorb heat, and finally selectively coated to be able to filter 70% of sun’s radiation. So the whole safety issue regarding the temperature of inside the terminal is readily solved. But aside from this, the engineers found out that when it comes to the terminal security weaknesses, the glass walls definitely pose threats of terrorism. So what the engineers and the designers did was to reinforce the glass design against bomb threats, as they found out that the glass entrance wall in the façade is the weakest in terms of security measures. So they built bullet-proof glass and they also put cable net walls that deflect 20 times and is safer against natural Continue reading

How Do They Do It?

It’s weird that I’m here at home doing nothing but stare at the ceiling for hours, while people around the world are doing something productive. This thought is intensified even more when I saw the back-to-back episodes of How Do They Do It in Discovery Channel last Sunday. I was impressed at the innovative technologies that they are using – that the other countries are currently using to do and create things that we encounter everyday, and I haven’t really thought about the how of it, not until I aw this. In fact, such things such as knives, forks, egg beaters or electric iron and how to make them never really came across in my mind.

Last Sunday’s episode of How Do They Do It featured how to transfer oil from the oil rig to the other parts across the globe. We all know that oil is an essential source of energy and this job is crucial especially if you are tasked to transfer lots and lots of barrels of oil by trans-oceanic transportation. But in the show it featured the Mighty Servant, a transporter that acts as a giant-ocean-going pick-up truck to sail the oil rig itself (20,000 tons of oil rig, I think) to the other parts of the world. It is very risky due to the natural occurrences of typhoon or other weather disruptions. What I saw was when the workers there were transferring the oil rig to the Mighty Servant, they were extra careful because the ship might become unstable because of the heavy weight of the load. This is a very crucial task, because they have to be accurate on the position where the oil rig should be. If the lift is successful, then the Mighty Servant will have its 5-week voyage across the globe to the other parts of the world.

Discovery channel also featured electric shaver from the Braun company inGermany. This is a very convenient especially for men because it provides a skin smooth shave for their mustache. The most critical considerations about this product are the blade and the protective foil, because the safety starts there. So critical that some parts have to be microscopically engineered, and should undergo photoelectric plating to produce a photographic image that would be used as a template. Then, in the fully operated assembly line, parts of it are brought together. After that, the new products need to undergo testing to assure that they are safe.

Next top, we got transporter, the SPMT (if I’m not mistaken) from Fagioli. It weighs over 15,000 tons, has 16 wheels and can move to 5km/hr. This man made marvel is used to transport the turbine from the production area inMilanto the power station inArizona. It is highly maneuverable and very accurate in terms of distances. It has hydraulic suspension system and it can weigh materials up to 570 tons. The Fagioli people transferred it by lifting it and loading it to the 150-meter long barge and it took a painstakingly 30 minutes. Then, after checking and double checking its precise position, the journey of 10,000 km starts from there toAmerica.

The most interesting feature above all was the fire-proof race suit that a racer should use when he or she is into drag racing. This will protect the driver (of the Fire Force car) from any possible explosion due to the jet because of the use of highly expensive fuel. The Fire Force car can run in 700km/hr in 5 seconds, and even uses a pair of parachutes to slow it down. It takes two days to complete a suit that would insulate the driver’s skin and at the same time would also gave him comfort. The first thing to do is to make create a design that would serve as the template. Then you cut out the fabric, and with this, they used computer-controlled cutting machine. Amazing. The fabric would protect the driver not only from the fire but its three-layered fabric would also protect him from the radiant heat. They used fire-resistant thread, of which I never knew existed, I was really impressed. After it, one can now put the logo design in front. Then the suits are tested to ensure its safety.

It’s incredible, when Discovery channel featured these amazing products. With technology, such things are really possible.


Steel Power

I just recently watched Discovery channel’s episode of Megastructures, featuring the Beijing International Airport, and I love it!

I’m really amazed on how the other countries progress in terms of their engineering technologies.Sometimes, I would imagine myself standing before a scene of a huge bare landscape – me wearing a yellow hard hat, and holding a piece of welded metal and witnessing other people driving bulldozers all over the place.It had always been my childhood dream, riding those engines, manipulating buttons, building bridges, riveting metals… constructing and deconstructing things literally (the later part is quite literary, *smirks) etc…

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Hangzhou Bay Bridge

I still continue my craze over constructions and new man-made buildings by watching episodes in Discovery Channel.Well, my summer break is mostly spent watching TV and reading books, other times, I study Japanese language on my own to drive off boredom.This time, as I was tuning into different channels, I watched the Discovery channel’s feature on building the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the world’s largest trans-oceanic bridge, connecting two prime places in China in stuttering 36 kilometers long. Continue reading