Sci-fi topic: Shall we one day be growing our boats?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by daiquiri, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I am putting this into the Boat Design section of the forum, but it could as well belong to the Boatbuilding section, because there is no clear line of distinction between the two processes in this story.

    It is about a dream I've had few nights ago. A dream so realistic that it took me the next few days to think it over and rationalize what I had seen.

    There was this boat, designed on the computer screen down to tiniest details. Not many details were necessary, however, because it had no fasteners, no cloth layers or welding lines. The boat appeared to be of organic nature, it's hull structure resembling a network of veins and tendons under an organic skin.
    The computer was placed in a corner of a big hall where, right in front of it, exactly the same boat (some 15 meters long) was apparently growing, nourished by many tiny pipes which carried the fluids with nutrient substances to the creature.

    At the end of the process, the nourishing system was disconnected and there was a monolithic hull in the middle of the hall, with skin and reinforcing tendons making a single, hard but flexible organic shell with somewhat rough finish but giving an impression of sturdiness, with no superfluous parts or materials. It was beautiful, and it was alive. It could change the shape upon command given by the computer at the console, like our body does.

    Now back to reality. The modern bio-engineering has made huge progress in the last decades. Laboratory technicians are experimenting the techniques for extra-corporal growing the organs and body parts. An example of the current efforts in that sense: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/40th-anniversary/Organs-Made-to-Order.html

    It makes me think that one day the scale of possible growable structures might increase and, who knows, perhaps the dream I've had could become true in some not-too-far future? The research on DNA mapping might allow us to study how a change of its single components affect the resulting characteristics of the final grown material. The 3D computer software could help us design and program the the growth of the structure from the scratch to the finished "thing".

    Just imagine the immensity of implications of this novel way of creating boats, houses, machines or any other artificial construction. No need for machines for complex metal working. The structures would be organic, eco-friendly and recyclable. Perhaps could even heal it's injuries (abrasions, punctures, other smaller damage), the way trees and animals do. No joints, fasteners, glued or welded parts. Shape-changing for different outside conditions, loads or speed regimes (in case of boats and planes).

    What do you folks think about it, and how far do you think the technology is from the times we'll be able to create anything similar?

    In the meanwhile, I've found this interesting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRDg4UB9Ajg , which shows how built-in and seamless structural reinforcements are already a reality, thanks to the 3D printing technology.

    Cheers :)
     
  2. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    yes, totally feasible I think, a living boat - could we bio-engineer a blue whale ?

    I have had visions of growing boat hulls the same way as shellfish grow shells - a fleshy mantle that secretes calcium over time.

    maybe trees that grow hollow or concave sections at the control of magnetic fields or light stimuli.

    The 3d printing will be the stage before though.

     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  3. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Some time ago I was thinking about metal whisker-reinforced resin structures, in which tiny metal whiskers would be mixed with an electrically-conductive resin into a semi-fluid mixture. The fluid would then be poured into a mold which has electrodes placed as required by the electric path one wants to create.

    A high-voltage current would then be released through the electrodes, creating sparks between adjacent single whiskers and welding them. At the end of the process the resin would be permeated with reinforcing metallic filaments which would follow the desired electric path, and thus could take any direction.

    How about that? :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    This guy fuses sand together in a similar process.

    How do you feel about ferro-cement ?




    and also in metal

     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  5. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    I think i would LOVE some of whatever youve been smoking... seriously :D
     
  6. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    All my own products. No external herbal aids necessary. ;)
     
  7. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Thanks for the videos, they are eye-opening. Just got another similar but completely different idea and I believe that I need a patent lawyer at this point. ;)
     
  8. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

  9. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Interesting. Both to learn that you are a fan of those sci-fi series :p and to learn that the idea of living (space)ships is not new.
    Actually, it might be few billions of years old. At least one of them we know very well, under the name SS Earth. ;)
    Cheers
     
  10. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Anything with Claudia Black in it gets my vote :p

    Some seriously weird/wacky ideas in that series made it great viewing...they must have been smokey some great stuff too when they wrote it :D
     
  11. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Why not?

    They are growing people, why not boats?
     
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Senior Member

    Cool videos, Watson!
     
  13. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    "Local Man "Grows His Own" Boat, Has To Destroy Living Room To Get It Out Of Hall, "He's a Genius" Wife Says, Seeks Divorce" ;)
     
  14. eyschulman
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    eyschulman Senior Member

    Why worry about growing boats if we are able to walk on water or remateriaise where ever we want.
     

  15. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Are we...? :confused:
     
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