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China is preparing a project of a futuristic “smart” city without cars

China’s largest telecommunications company plans to build a futuristic smart city in the suburbs of Shenzhen, in the near future, which will be free of road transport. During the construction of the “Net City” they will adhere to the principles and norms of “green architecture”, which will contribute to the preservation of the environment not only in this part of the metropolis. As the organizers of this ecologically safe area promise, it will not become an isolated island only for the elite.

Net City will be built on a reclaimed land plot along Dachan Bay in Shenzhen, China.  |  Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

Net City will be built on a reclaimed land plot along Dachan Bay in Shenzhen, China. | Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

Internet giant Tencent has revealed plans to build a new sustainable futuristic city in the Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen. Soon, a unique “smart” city will appear in the south of China, which will become a dream come true not only for the leaders of the country’s largest telecommunications company, but also for the majority of the world’s inhabitants. According to the concept that has appeared, the city will combine the latest achievements of high technologies, education, environmental safety, complete energy self-sufficiency and an ideally comfortable urban environment.

China is planning to build a futuristic car-free smart city (Net City concept).  |  Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

China is planning to build a futuristic car-free smart city (Net City concept). | Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

This event was preceded by a competition for the creation of the best innovative project of the city of the future, which will be able to leave a minimum carbon footprint and at the same time will be as comfortable as possible for people to live. In 2019, the American company NBBJ, known for its non-standard solutions, won the competition. As the project leaders admit:

“We spent a lot of time trying to make the city as less vulnerable as possible and move away from the use of road transport as much as possible, focusing on creating a comfortable life for citizens.”

The conglomerate Tencent bought an unusable piece of land in Dachan Bay for $ 1.2 billion to build its city.  |  Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

The conglomerate Tencent bought an unusable piece of land in Dachan Bay for $ 1.2 billion to build its city. | Photo: eyeshenzhen.com/ © NBBJ.

“Net City” is the name given to the project, which will occupy an area of ​​2 sq. km at the mouth of the Pearl River, on lands that for many years were unsuitable for life or the development of agricultural land. Before the start of construction, large-scale reclamation measures will be carried out on this territory so that the allocated area is suitable for the construction and placement of the urban environment. According to the developers, the master plan gives priority to pedestrians with the most limited access to traditional types of vehicles.

Dozens of buildings from one to 30 storeys high will be designed by various architectural firms (“Net City” concept).  |  Photo: interestingengineering.com/ © NBBJ.

Dozens of buildings from one to 30 storeys high will be designed by various architectural firms (“Net City” concept). | Photo: interestingengineering.com/ © NBBJ.

Interesting fact: Despite the seeming diminutiveness, the area of ​​the “smart” city will correspond to the size of the tiny state of Monaco. It is planned that at least 80 thousand people will be able to live in this paradise. And if we compare it with the same dwarf country, then in the “Net City” there will be 2 times more inhabitants.

Green areas will decorate not only city squares, but also roofs and even walls of houses (“Net City” concept).  |  Photo: interestingengineering.com/ © NBBJ.

Green areas will decorate not only city squares, but also roofs and even walls of houses (“Net City” concept). | Photo: interestingengineering.com/ © NBBJ.

Despite loud statements about the rejection of the use of vehicles, some areas of the city in the city will have transport arteries that will connect with the metropolis and allow you to move between distant points. Only for organizing the traffic of buses, bicycles and individual vehicles a single “green corridor” will be created around which the main residential areas, business center and recreation areas will be located.

The wavy photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings imitate mountain peaks (concept

The wavy photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings imitate mountain peaks (concept “Net City”). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

The authors of the project report that most of the territory is given for the organization of parks, common recreation areas, but they plan to place numerous green areas on the roofs of buildings. Naturally, it will not do without the construction of a business center, educational institutions, residential areas, entertainment and recreation areas for citizens.

In

In “Net City” pedestrians will be a priority, and separate zones will be allocated for vehicles (concept “Net City”). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

Despite the fact that the creation of this “smart” city was conceived as a place of work, residence and social interaction of employees of the conglomeration Tencent, the developers hope that it will become a vital hub for all of Shenzhen. Moreover, all the conditions have been created for the maximum integration of the new community into the urban environment of the metropolis. An unusual town, created on previously unsuitable for life and construction lands, will be connected to the main part of Shenzhen by road bridges, ferries and subway lines.

“Net City” will be connected to road bridges, water transport and metro lines (concept “Net City”). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

Given the changeable climate of the bay, the development team views the region as an organic ecosystem. Its clever design will transform it into a self-sufficient place to generate its own energy, recycle and reuse waste, produce its own food, and, ultimately, into a natural city-wide intelligent system with flexible interconnections. Such an ecological and innovative focus will have a beneficial effect not only on the preservation of the environment, but also significantly reduce the cost of maintaining all urban systems.

The main decoration of the city will be the “Catch the Wave” park located along the coast of the bay (“Net City” concept).  |  Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

The main decoration of the city will be the “Catch the Wave” park located along the coast of the bay (“Net City” concept). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

In this unique project, a special place was given to the embankment, which is a wavy green area in the form of a huge park. It is he who will be the connecting link between other areas of the metropolis and will become the central object of the city of the future. Along the entire length of the winding coast of the bay, tourists and locals can stroll and admire the opening views of the bay itself and the twinkling lights of the metropolis. At the same time, you can enjoy the fresh air and socializing.

All city squares are buried in greenery (“Net City” concept).  |  Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

All city squares are buried in greenery (“Net City” concept). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

Vacationers will especially appreciate the abundance of vegetation that can be observed throughout the entire length of this park and the entire city. Moreover, not only ground space will smell sweet, green roofs and vertical gardens on the walls of multi-level buildings will subtly fit into public spaces. And most importantly, the functions of the park space will be divided according to the goals of creating life, learning, interacting and working. At the southern tip, for example, are office buildings, to the east are commercial, entertainment and public spaces, and to the west and north are office properties mixed with residential high-rise buildings.

Walking areas near offices in the business district will encourage employees to have a balanced work and leisure time (Net City concept).  |  Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

Walking areas near offices in the business district will encourage employees to have a balanced work and leisure time (Net City concept). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

In general, the urban area promises to be ultra-modern and absolutely comfortable for people to live in.

“In today’s computerized world, we can build a city where work, life and play are closely intertwined and synergize with interactions between people.”– said Jonathan Ward, design partner at NBBJ.

The wetland area will soon become the city of the future (Net City concept).  |  Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

The wetland area will soon become the city of the future (Net City concept). | Photo: archiposition.com/ © NBBJ.

Reference: Preparatory work for the creation of the future city will begin by the end of 2020, but the first residents will appear in it no earlier than in 7 years.

Science & Technology

NTP nuclear rocket engine will take humans to Mars in just three months

Although the romance of the peaceful atom has subsided since the mid-1960s, the idea of ​​using nuclear reactors for “civilian” purposes is still regularly returned. The new nuclear rocket engine (NRM) will deliver a man to Mars much faster than is possible now.

The danger of cosmic radiation is much more serious than the risk of infection from an accident with such an engine. The most dangerous of all the constraining vectors for projects of sending people to other bodies in the solar system is cosmic radiation. Radiation from our star and galactic rays can seriously damage the health of the mission crew. Therefore, when planning flights to Mars, engineers and scientists try to reduce travel time as much as possible.

One promising way to get to the Red Planet in just three months could be a new NTP engine. Its concept was developed and submitted to NASA by Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies ( USNC-Tech ) from Seattle, USA. The name of the unit is simply deciphered – Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ( NTP ), that is, “thermal nuclear power plant”. The novelty differs from its previously created or invented counterparts in the most secure design.

A key component of USNC’s development is mid – grade uranium fuel “pellets”. They contain 5% to 20% of the highly reactive isotope U- 235 coated with zirconium carbide ceramics. This degree of enrichment lies roughly halfway between the “civilian” nuclear power plants and the military. The proprietary ceramic coating technology makes the tablets incredibly resistant to mechanical damage and extreme temperatures.

Schematic diagram of a thermal nuclear rocket engine / © Wikipedia |  Tokono
Schematic diagram of a thermal nuclear rocket engine / © Wikipedia | Tokono

The company promises that their fuel elements are significantly superior in these parameters to those currently used at nuclear power plants. As a result, the engine will have a higher specific impulse with a lower degree of uranium enrichment than in earlier versions of NRE. In addition to the flight to Mars, among the goals of the ambitious project are other missions within the solar system. The perspectives of the concept will soon be considered by specialists from NASA and the US Department of Defense ( DoD ). Perhaps departments will even allow its commercial use by private companies.

Theoretically, NRE based on modern technologies can have a specific impulse (SR) seven times higher than that of chemical jet engines. And this is one of the key performance parameters. At the same time, unlike electric and plasma ones, the ID of a nuclear rocket engine is combined with high thrust. One of the limiting factors in the use of NRE, in addition to safety issues, are extremely high temperatures in the reactor core.

The higher the temperature of the gases flowing out of the engine, the more energy they have. And accordingly, they create traction. However, mankind has not yet come up with relatively inexpensive and safe materials that can withstand more than three thousand degrees Celsius without destruction. The solution created by USNC will operate at the limit of modern materials science (3000 ° C) and have a specific impulse twice that of the best liquid-propellant engines.

Tests of the first nuclear jet engine in 1967 / © NASA
Tests of the first nuclear jet engine in 1967 / © NASA

The official press release does not specify which working body will be used in NTP . Usually, in all NRE projects, the reactor core heats hydrogen, less often ammonia. But, since we are talking about a long-term mission, the creators could have chosen some other gas. Keeping liquid hydrogen on board for three months is no easy task. But you still need to invent something for the way back.

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Science & Technology

Scientist Peter Scott-Morgan is set to become “the world’s first complete cyborg”

Scientist and roboticist Peter Scott Morgan, who is using an advanced version of Stephen Hawking's communication system, built by Intel. INTEL

Two years ago scientist Peter Scott-Morgan was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and today he is still fighting for a new life, not just for survival.

This October, Dr. Scott-Morgan is on track to become the world’s first full-fledged cyborg, potentially giving him more years of life.

The world’s first complete cyborg

It was in 2017 that Dr. Peter Scott-Morgan (a brilliant robotics writer, scientific writer, and talented speaker) was diagnosed with degenerative motor neuron disease that ultimately paralyzed his entire body except his eyes.

The diagnosis is understandably grim, especially considering that he has only two years to live, but he has not given up the fight.

Teaming up with world-class organizations with expertise in artificial intelligence, Dr. Scott-Morgan is transforming himself into what he calls “the world’s first fully fledged cyborg.”

“And when I say ‘Cyborg’, I mean not just that some kind of payment will be implanted in me, I mean that I will become the most advanced human cybernetic organism ever created on Earth for 13.8 billion years. My body and brain will be irreversibly changed, ”says Dr. Scott-Morgan.

What does it mean to be human

According to Dr. Scott-Morgan, he will become part robot and part living organism. Moreover, the change will not be one-time, but with subsequent updates.

“I have more updates in the process than Microsoft ,” says Dr. Scott-Morgan.

AI-powered creative expression

The cyborg artist is a great example of the power of human-AI collaboration. AI uses the data that make up Peter’s digital portrait ( articles, videos, images, and social media ) and is trained to recognize key ideas, experiences, and images.

Peter will introduce a theme, AI will suggest composition, and Peter will apply images to suggest style and mood. Peter will direct the AI ​​to render a new digital image that none of them could create alone.

A unique blend of AI and human, reflects Peter’s creative and emotional self – a critical aspect of what it means to be human.

Peter 2.0

This October, Dr. Scott-Morgan will undergo what he calls the latest procedure that will transform him into “Complete Cyborg”.

October 9 he tweeted a photo of himself, writing the following:

“This is my last post as Peter 1.0. Tomorrow I will trade my vote for potentially decades of life as we complete the last medical procedure for my transition to Full Cyborg, in the month that I was told statistically I would be dead. I am not dying, I am transforming. ! Oh, how I LOVE science !!! “.

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Science & Technology

Japan has developed an inflatable scooter that weighs practically nothing

The University of Tokyo engineers have developed the Poimo inflatable electric scooter, which is created individually for each owner. It is enough to send your photo to the manufacturers – and a personal optimized model will be assembled for you.

The scooter is designed with a special program for the body size of a particular user and his specific fit. Moreover, each owner is free to make any changes to this model. If he makes any changes to the drawing, the program will automatically redesign the electric bike to maintain its strength, stability and controllability. When the model is finished and approved, it is handed over to the manufacturer.

Scooter Poimo

The scooter consists of seven separate inflatable sections that are constructed from durable fabric and sewn with straight stitch. It remains to add electronic components – in particular, a brushless motor and a lithium-ion battery. 

The finished electric scooter weighs about 9 kg and can travel at speeds up to 6 km / h (that is, slightly faster than a pedestrian). It can work for an hour on one charge.

This is how the current version of Poimo looks like in action:

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