Tag: ‘Osaka’

Pimp my Dream Tanker

05 Sep 2006

Dream Tanker

The Dream Tanker, one of the largest liquified natural gas (LNG) tankers in the world, now travels in style. Comedian-turned-painter Jimmy Onishi and 40 elementary school students have designed monster-sized psychedelic murals for the ship's spherical tanks. The total area covered by the murals is large enough to cover 100 buses.

The 120,000-ton Dream Tanker, owned by an affiliate of Osaka Gas, measures 289.5 meters (950 feet) long and 49 meters (160 feet) wide. With 4 independent spherical tanks measuring 43 meters (140 feet) in diameter, the tanker can hold up to 67,000 tons of LNG.

Osaka Gas decided to decorate the tanker with graphics in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary. The company asked Kansai-area elementary school students to draw pictures, which Jimmy Onishi then incorporated into his giant images of a fish, crab, shrimp and turtle. Sumitomo 3M Ltd. then used computers to process the images and printed them onto a special adhesive film, which was attached to the tanks.

The total surface area of the images amounts to about 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet, or 1 acre), prompting Sumitomo 3M to submit an application to the Guinness Book of World Records to officially establish the work as the world's largest graphic design on a mode of transportation.

For more images, visit the official Dream Tanker website (Flash alert!). After you get past the Flash introduction, click on the second button on the right. That will take you to a control interface where you can zoom in on the ship and view it from different angles.

[Source: Garbagenews]

Robo-Fisher swims with (and cleans up after) the fishes

10 Mar 2006

Robo-FisherRobo-Fisher, a submersible robot designed to clean the floors of giant aquariums, is being developed by Osaka City University and eight private companies. Underwater operations were tested last week at a diver training pool in Osaka.

The 1-meter (3.3-ft.) long, 160-kilogram (350-lb.) robot features a water-pressure powered motor that relies on water fed through a hose connected to an electric pump outside the aquarium. Robo-Fisher directs a jet of water at the floor to free up detritus in the sand, which it then vacuums up and removes from the aquarium through a hose. The water-powered motor eliminates the danger of accidentally electrocuting the fish in the aquarium.

Researchers are developing Robo-Fisher with the cooperation of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which is known for its giant whale shark. The robot is also equipped with a small camera that can shoot video of the surrounding fish. In the future, aquarium visitors will be able to simulate the experience of walking underwater by operating the remote control camera and watching real-time video. There are also plans to broadcast live video over the Internet.

At present, divers use shovels to clean the aquarium floor four times a day.

[Source: Asahi Shimun]

Laser-powered aircraft tested at Osaka Dome

08 Mar 2006

Laser-powered aircraftAn unmanned aircraft powered by a ground-based laser was demonstrated at Osaka Dome on March 7. The aircraft is the work of a Kinki University research team led by Professor Nobuki Kawashima (aeronautical engineering). The researchers expect the aircraft to be used for gathering information in the event of a disaster.

The aircraft measures 78 cm (30 in.) long, weighs 800 grams (1.8 lbs.), and has wings like a kite. A disc-shaped solar panel attached underneath powers the propeller when struck by a ground-based laser.

A battery powered the aircraft’s propeller at takeoff, but once it reached an altitude of about 50 meters (165 feet) -- near the ceiling of the dome -- the aircraft switched to laser-powered flight. The laser remained on target (error less than 1 cm) throughout the 20-minute flight around the dome. Observers say the aircraft looked like a kite flying on a string of light.

Flight time with this technology is unlimited as long as the laser can reach the aircraft, as opposed to a 5-minute flight time when powered by battery. Researchers envision this type of aircraft being used to get an understanding of areas devastated by earthquake or flood, or to serve as flying communication relay stations. Leisure-related applications are also possible.

"We would like to extend the tracking distance and increase the size of the aircraft," says Kawashima. "Hopefully we can make it commercially available in about 2 or 3 years."

[Source: Asahi Shimbun]