impact by industry

Creating the discipline of gravity design

 

The first and perhaps most obvious outlet for generating gravity-like fields is for space travel.  If the expensive and environmentally hazardous use of chemical propellants continues it may limit the number of spaceports and undercut a vibrant space-economy.  Propellantless propulsion methods such as gravity-like field generation would circumvent those limitations.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Space applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surface to LEO

 

 

Raw materials

 

Iron

Water

Processed

Prefab structures

LEO

Remove debris

No space junk

Geosynchronous 

 

Satellites

Communications

Shields

Solar shading

Tug services

 

Travel to LEO

 

Maintenance

Orbital taxis

Imports

Ores

Processing

Table 1. Near Earth applications

 

Zero-g industrial fabrication facilities initially planned for the International Space Station could be achieved at a fraction of the cost here on earth.  The 2001 ESA report A World without Gravity” is an encompassing study on microgravity research that has occurred in orbit and includes a review of current and future explorations in space medicine, space biology, physical sciences and commercial spinoffs.  This compendium of research on biological and physical systems while in orbit sheds light on the potential terrestrial applications derived from those very short duration studies of microgravity.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Industrial applications

Manufacturing

Fabrication

Shearing

Bending

Punching

Shaping

Shipping

Granular materials

Grains

Gravels

Vacuumization

Metals

Coatings

Shielding

Processing plants

Foods

Fabrication plants

Clean surfaces

Containing gases

Welding

TIG/MIG

Glassless windows

Extreme environment

High temperature

Foil bodies

Aerodynamics

Airfoil

Hydrodynamics

Hydrofoil

Table 2. Industrial applications

 

Microgravity environments on earth could be employed to grow large defect-free silicon, germanium and even protein crystals in suitable zero-g clean-room laboratories.  As the demand continues to grow for defect-free semiconductors and thin sheets of remarkable new materials like graphene, microgravity facilities may become the new standard in environments for growing microelectronic substrates.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Laboratory

Growing crystals

Silicon crystals

Computer chips

Proteins

Prescription drugs

Zone refining

Immiscible alloys

New metal alloys

Centrifuging

Gaseous separation

CO2 separation

Isotope separation

Isotope markers

Gravity lensing

Gravito-optics

Telescopes

Table 3. Laboratory applications

 

Medical applications for gravity-like fields are also varied.  Using local gravity-like fields to counter the earth’s natural gravitational field to a fraction of its norma strength would lessen the weight (but not the mass) of the human body.  That capability would be useful for reducing pressure on the skin.

Industry

Application

Usage

Outcome

Medicine

Hypergravity

Therapy

Osteo therapy

Conditional

Sports

Rehabilitation

Microgravity

Skin treatments

Burns

Bed sores

Circulatory

Reduce pooling

Respiratory

Fluid removal

Variable environment

Conditioning

Space travel

Table 4. Medical applications

 

The construction industry could benefit in several ways.  Platforms with propulsion fields could hoist materials and rather than install thousands of square yards of plastic sheeting to protect workers from rain and cold weather, a wide-beamed field of sufficient size could keep workers dry and protect them from wind. Standing fields aimed skyward could act as “repulsive safety nets” to break falls from buildings, bridges and other structures.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Construction and Mining

Hoisting

Beams/sheets

Building construction

Bulk materials

Bridge repair

Excavation

Trenching

Wall supports

Mining

Tunnel supports

Flood

Flood abatement

Damming/dikes

Safety and Rescue

Rescue/recovery

Collapsed building

Victim removal

Skyscraper fire

Evacuation

Ice or water

Extraction

Table 5. Construction, Mining and Safety/Rescue applications

 

Second and third generations of material and digital technologies frequently find their way to consumer secondary markets. Once initial tooling for production is amortized the cost of production lowers to where it can also find its way to consumers in the form of graphite tennis rackets, sensors for running shoes and other applications.  These next generations of gravity-like field applications will introduce the technology into consumer markets fomenting a wider adaption of the technology into society.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Sports

 

 

Flying sports

 

 

Equipment

Quidditch

Arena

 

Paraball

Real “Asteroids”

Table 6. Sporting applications

 

In Chicago there are an estimated 10,000 surveillance cameras both private and public.  A 2002 working paper by UrbanEye estimated that the number of stationary surveillance cameras in private premises in London is around 500,000 and the total number of cameras in the UK is around 4,200,000.  Low-payload gravity-like field platforms might easily be outfitted as camera platforms that can be positioned in any location and at any elevation to fill in the gaps in stationary surveillance.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Security/Privacy

Platforms

Advertising

Smart billboards

Surveillance

Class G cameras

“Tinkerbots”

Table 7. Security/Privacy applications

 

As with any technology, the potential for misuse or abuse exists.  Physical conflicts between protesters and law enforcement have led to new technologies for dispersing mobs and groups of protesters.  Microwave pain-generating beams for ground-based and air-based active denial systems (ADS) employed for crowd control have been marketed for civilian use.

Industry

Application

Usage

Outcome

Dystopic Uses

Terrorism

Public venues

Crumple bombs

Criminal intent

Theft

Fence jumping

Limiting civil rights 

Crowd control

Suppression zones

Surveillance

Big brother

Zealotry

Fulfilling prophesy

Relocating shrines

Unfair business

Industry destruction

Monopoly

Harmful byproducts

Pollution

Unappealing uses

Sex trade

Table 8. Dystopic applications

 

Defense applications similarly will be controversial.  The use for non-lethal weaponry and to protect soldiers’ lives will likely drive usage. Unconventional applications could potentially benefit the military.  Hyper-gravity devices developing short intense bursts of attractive gravitational fields could be used in a “crumple effect” pulling structures in on themselves.  While the end result of demolition would be nearly the same as bombing structures, it would minimize collateral injuries produced by debris ejected during explosions.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Defense

War zones

Detention

Suppression fields

Surveillance/reconnaissance

Gravity drones

Post-combat

Clearing land mines

Table 9. Defense applications

 

The propulsive uses of gravity-like fields will make possible a new category of flying vehicle that does not fit neatly into any current statutes for aviation.  There are three common types of flying vehicles recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. government.  Hovercraft, fixed wing aircraft and rotorcraft describe most types of recognized non-sport aviation, though none describe a propellantless propulsion craft.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Transportation

Gravity-assisted

Load reduction

Suspension

Friction reduction

Drivetrains

Bearings

Flying

Private

Commuter

Recreation

Fleet

Multi-passenger

Heavy utility

Routes

Urban flyways

Commuter traffic

Delivery flyways

Goods shipped

Smart networks (ITS)

Safety

Piloted vehicles

Efficiency

Autonomous drones

Building accommodation 

Commuter vehicles

Parking

Workspace

Vehicle as work pod

Table 10. Transportation applications

 

The range of architectural possibilities are described by the term “gravitecture+”, borrowed from the work of Professor Shuhei Endo of Kobe University.  The original meaning of gravitecture being “architecture that goes gracefully with gravity.”  That seems appropriate for this new technological capability, with the “+” indicating the addition of gravity-like fields to go gracefully with architecture.  In this context it is used to denote implementations using gravity design to either augment or completely float structures.

Sector

Application

Usage

Outcome

Architecture

Gravity-assisted

Cantilever structures 

Balconies

Overlooks

Load reduction

Preservation

Reinforcement 

Earthquake proofing

Hurricane and tornado

Stabilization

Flood waters, tidal surges, tidal waves

Floating

Legal rights

Right to Light

Right to View (air rights)

Roaming Rights

Structures

Residential

Barges

Factories

Table 11. Architecture applications

 

Should a substantial population take advantage of the wonder-lust possible with floating architecture, real-time methods of collecting GIS (Geographic Information System) data for mapping and measuring dynamic populations in motion and over time would be required to track population drifts.  The MIT SENSEable City Laboratory  employs automatic data acquisition through mobile devices to study and predict the changes that cities undergo as interconnected computational elements become available almost everywhere.  Realtime data acquisition though such tools may become models for tracking dynamic changes in demographics.

Industry

Application

Usage

Outcome

Public Policy

Regulatory changes

Federal

Commerce

State

Transportation

Safety

Municipal

Gravity zoned

Citizenship

Residency

Roaming rights

Demographics

Z-axis GIS

Table 12. Public Policy Impacts

 

Residents of floating cities and islands in fiction are portrayed as rich and privileged (Jonathan Swift’s Laputa being a notable exception) living far above the common concerns of those living at lower elevations.  In the era of vast agricultural estates land owners watched over the field workers from the “main house” where they could survey their lands.

Industry

Application

Usage

Outcome

Social Impacts

Economic divides 

Housing

Vertical divide

Transportation

Roadway vs flyway

Table 13. Social impacts

 

In the English language gravity is a synonym for weightiness, importance, seriousness, severity, concern, consequence, hazardousness, perilousness, significance, urgency, graveness, gravitas, soberness, solemnity and somberness.  Its antonyms include levity, buoyancy, flightiness, frivolity, silliness, unimportance, inconsequentiality and light-heartedness.

Industry

Application

Usage

Outcome

Semantics

Common usages

Vocabulary

gravity terminology

New meanings

“uplifted” by gravity

Table 14. Sematic impacts

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