Be a Tiger

The ultimate balloon-o-gram

So, this Japanese company called Babot has made a new advance in the oft-neglected field of balloon technology. Their concept is intriguing: By putting extra flaps of skin in joints on the balloon, and using computer-controlled gusts to change the pressure inside, you can make it move. The description from Babot’s site is thus …

The internal pressure fluctuation of the structure can be controlled into a small rate during the expansion, large motion for expanding the structure can be quickly and smoothly achieved by small force, and therefore, the large motion can quickly respond to a control signal from the computer, and can play a powerful presence.

… though I suspect that text may suffer a bit from mangled translation. Anyway, I was particularly thrilled to see that to highlight their technology, they’d made a moving balloon of … an octopus! Check here for a movie of it in action.

(Thanks to John T. Unger for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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