First Sea Tunnel to Link Two Continents
Engineers in Turkey work on the Marmaray Tunnel, which will run under the Bosphorus strait. The undersea rail will connect Halkali, Turkey, on the European side with Gebze, Turkey, on the Asian side.
Modes of transportation dominate this week's gallery of eye-pleasing technology. From bicycles strung up for the sake of art to the world's fastest passenger jet to a balloon ride designed to lift you to the edge of space, we can't help but marvel at what the future of transportation holds.
Above: Each year, Toronto holds a one-night arts festival called Nuit Blanche. A highlight this year was a sculpture from Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei. His Forever Bicycles installation featured 3,144 silver bikes stacked 30 feet high and 100 feet in length in the city's Nathan Phillips Square.
Flying cars are no longer a figment of fiction. Joining forces with road planes such as the Terrafugia and PAL-V is the Aeromobil 2.5, created by Stefan Klein, a designer who has worked on projects for Audi, BMW and Volkswagen at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. Klein tested his prototype at a Slovakian airport, demonstrating the vehicle can go 124 mph and has a range of 430 miles.
Swedish automaker Volvo announced that it's now working on a wireless inductive charger for electric vehicles. This kind of charging platform uses an electromagnetic field instead of a cord to recharge a car's battery. In tests, the company demonstrated that their C30 Electric car battery could be fully charged in 2.5 hours.
Zaha Hadid Architects
German shipbuilder Blohm + Voss hired architect Zaha Hadid to design this super yacht, which is actually a fleet of six vessels dubbed Unique Circle. Her concept consists of a 420-foot “mothership,” shown here, and five 295-foot ships.
World View Enterprises
Space tourism is gaining in popularity. World View Enterprises has now obtained US Federal Aviation Administration approval to give people balloon rides to the edge of space, 18.6 miles above the Earth. The ride will cost around $75,000 and should be available in 2016.
This Gulfstream G650 set a world record for the fastest westbound, around-the-world flight for civilian aircraft. It traveled 20,310 nautical miles in 41 hours and seven minutes, reaching a maximum speed of Mach 0.925.
At the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting & Exposition, Sikorsky and Boeing revealed the name of their new Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter tech: Defiant. Over the next twenty years, the helicopter will replace the current Apaches and Black Hawks helicopters.
Renzo Piano/ENEL Green Power
Italian architect Renzo Piano has won a prize for his compact, super-efficient wind turbine that's small enough to install in a backyard. Inspired by the aerodynamic flight of dragonflies, the two-bladed “Dragonfly Invisible Wind Turbine” captures the energy of breezes as slow as four miles per hour and is able to convert that motion into 55 kiloWatts of electricity. Currently the international renewable energy corporation ENEL Green Power is testing the wind turbine for possible use in its Green Power Plants.
UK-based company Pro-Teq has developed a coating that can be applied to any pavement. During the day, it absorbs sunlight and then at night, glows to create energy-free light that could be used to illuminate dark pathways for a low cost. It's also non-slip and water-resistant.
U.S. Army, Revision
The Army is testing a new helmet that resembles headgear from the “Halo” video game franchise. The HEaDS-UP system, developed by Revision, has a transparent ballistic visor, a mandible facemask to protect against 9 mm ammunition and display technologies that can be projected on the inside of the visor.
Turkey will on Tuesday unveil the world's first sea tunnel connecting two continents, fulfilling a sultan's dream 150 years ago, but also fueling recent anti-government sentiment for such mega projects.
"Our ancestors worked on (the project). It fell to us to realize it," said Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the rail tunnel under the Bosphorus linking the European and Asian sides of the bustling city of Istanbul.
The bold project was first imagined by a sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdoul Medjid, in 1860, but he lacked the technology and funds to take his idea further.
Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, revived the plan in 2004 as one of his grandiose construction projects for the city that also include a third airport, a parallel canal and a third bridge -- all denounced as "pharaonic" by his critics.
His ambitions were a source of unrest at the mass anti-government protests that swept the country in June, with local residents complaining that the premier's urban development plans were forcing people from their homes and destroying green spaces.
Although officially opening on Tuesday, the rail tunnel will not be fully operational.
"The part that is in service is very limited. All that has been delayed to much later," said Tayfun Kahraman, president of the Istanbul Chamber of Urban Planners. "We are wondering why this inauguration is happening so soon."
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be present at the official opening, as the Bank of Japan was the main funder contributing 735 million euros ($1 billion) to a project that has cost an estimated three billion euros.
Construction of the tunnel that runs 1.4 kilometers (0.8 miles) under the Bosphorus Strait had been scheduled to take four years but was delayed after a series of major archaeological discoveries.
Some 40,000 objects were excavated from the site, notably a cemetery of some 30 Byzantine ships, which is the largest known medieval fleet.
But these unexpected finds eventually frustrated Erdogan, who complained two years ago that artifacts were trumping his plans to transform Istanbul's cityscape.
"First (they said) there was archaeological stuff, then it was clay pots, then this, then that. Is any of this stuff more important than people?"
The tunnel is more than 50 meters (165 feet) below the seabed and in a region with strong seismic activity the immersed tube is supposed to be earthquake-proof.
Transport is a major problem in Istanbul, which has a population of over 15 million and each day two million cross the Bosphorus via two usually jammed bridges.
"While creating a transportation axis between the east and west points of the city, I believe it will soothe the problem... with 150,000 passenger capacity per hour," said Istanbul's mayor Kadir Topbas.
"It is an important project that the city needed... it will reduce greenhouse gases," added Kahraman.