Video Of The Day: Sunrise In Cloud City

Today’s Video of the Day could pass for footage from a futuristic sci-fi movie, but it was taken recently in Dubai by photographer Sebastian Opitz. Opitz’s surreal, almost comic book-like images were shot on a rare foggy morning as the sun rises. The time-lapse video was taken over four hours, at the end of which, the clouds seem to melt away, but the landscape still seems like a scene from the not-too-distant future.

Check out more of Sebastian Opitz’s gorgeous photography over on My Modern Metropolis.

Seen a video we should feature here? Leave us a link in the comments.

Mind-boggling futuristic mobile homes

Talk about mobile homes and all I think of is a caravan, and my newly discovered Mini-Motel. So when I came across this illustrative list of futuristic mobile homes, I was left slightly flabbergasted. You have:

  • The “M-ch”: A micro-compact home which is a little cube of a house you can take anywhere (but you would need a crane!). Suitable for 2 people, it’s enough to sleep, work and cook in. Oh and slightly more expensive than a tent (Euro 34,000+).
  • The SkiHaus: Built for exhausted skiers on high peaks, if you can organize for a helicopter with the snap of your fingers, you might want to look at the SkiHaus. It’s a lightweight, all-aluminum structure that weighs only 315 kg.
  • A Peak Lab: A cabin that can be hung outside a cliff.
  • The Point Lookout: A beach-hut on a tripod.
  • The M-Igloo: An mobile igloo style bedroom.
  • The Orb: A holiday park home for the younger “style conscious” generation. Apparently these houses even float!
  • The Lifepod: A green housing unit you can take anywhere as long as you have hauling power.
  • The Walking House (see image): Definitely my favorite, yes it gets up and walks! However this one is still a prototype – but not for long, I hope!

And there are even more types of these things that include SUV’s and shipping containers turned into homes and hotels. Have a look at the full list here.

The Future of Transportation in 1968

Tomorrow’s Transportation: New Systems for the Urban Future is a 100 page document submitted to the U.S. Congress by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.

Among its pages were a myriad of proposals to help curb growing urban problems like traffic congestion while promoting new technology in human transportation. Many of the ideas were good and made it off the drawing board and into cities. Many of the ideas were bad, and thankfully were never introduced. Here are a few that stick out:

The Dial-a-Bus — A cross between your standard bus and taxi, the proposed Dial-a-Bus system allowed individuals to call a service and schedule a bus pick up. Centralized computers would track the location of each bus, how many people were on-board, and the final destinations of each passenger. The closest bus would then be dispatched. This is a great idea, really, and it’s hard to wonder — with the Internet, GPS, and high gas prices — why something like this hasn’t taken off in areas where mass transit systems aren’t already in place.

Personal Rapid Transit — Think of this as a car, but on a track. Just like Disneyland! The Personal Rapid Transit idea proposed a network of rail-guided, private cars, each capable of transporting about what a regular sedan can. The system would be completely automated, with passengers entering in their final destination when entering the vehicle. I think I remember seeing this in some futuristic movie… Total Recall maybe, or Demolition Man. Regardless, it’s too much like a subway, and probably less efficient. While it would be pretty cool to zip around town in one of these, I don’t see any reason why this idea should have been implemented outside of theme parks. Sorry, PRT!

Dualmode Vehicle Systems

Dualmode Vehicle Systems
— This is essentially the same as the Personal Rapid Transit system, only the drivers in the Dualmode system can operate the vehicle on or off the track. This is much more appealing to us American drivers, because let’s face it: we all want to be in control; we love the freedom a vehicle offers. So this begs the question: why have a track at all? A few years back there was buzz about an automated highway system that used magnets embedded in the asphalt. Cars with the built-in sensor could jump on the highway and allow the car to drive itself. Whatever happened to that?

Automated Dualmode Bus — Groovy, man. The Automated Dualmode Bus is similar to the Dualmode Vehicle, only it holds more people. The idea behind the bus is on longer runs — between cities, for instance — the bus would operate on a track. On shorter, inner-city runs, the bus could be driven independent from the track. Once again, why have the track at all? This idea tried to combine the city bus with, say, Greyhound — but what’s wrong with having two independent carriers? This would be cool, I guess, but I can see why it was never adopted.

Pallet or Ferry System — To understand the idea of the pallet or ferry system, think of a freight train, where pallets are loaded onto flatbed train cars and ferried across the country. Instead of crates filled with goods, the pallet system loads cars onto a flatbed and shuttles them around town on tracks. Okay, seems straightforward enough. There are a few problems, however. First and foremost, how would you load the cars onto the flatbed? It seems like it would take much longer to wait in line to have your car loaded onto a train than to simply drive to your destination. This would make much more sense on longer trips, of course. Even so, I like this idea; there’s something about a land-based ferry that seems fun, especially if you could get out of your car and walk around on deck as the train made its way across the country.

To see the full document, in all of its glory, head to Tomorrow’s Transportation: New Systems for the Urban Future.