The idea is to have a very wide base, like 150 feet, so that you did not tip much in the waves. The living area would be below where the weights are in the model in the center.
- Material issues - plastic for the balls, aluminum, steel, or wood for the compression members. These might be truss or pipe shapes.
- Tension members could be plastic rope or steel cable
- Would use kite and sea anchor for movement on migration
Energy Generation and Storage
If we had 6 legs instead of 3 as in the model and let the legs flex up and down, we could use that motion to drive pumps that pumped air into the balls. Then we could run a propeller or generator from the compressed air.
- It is very wide compared to boats and so should be very stable
- No active ballast controls so no chance of that going wrong
- Should have a gentle motion on normal days but significant response to large waves.
- This should be one of the cheapest designs. It's very simple. Although it is as wide as a large cruise ship, most of the area is just cables over open space.
- Looks nice. Could have walkways going down to each of the 3 balls and a platform and big umbrella on each. Could be very pretty.
- Can make individual family sized units. Could have cable under a line of these so they floated together if you connected a sea anchor at one end and a large kite at the other.
- Since it floats up and down with waves like a boat, should be reasonable to dock a boat next to it. Probably have a small dock mounted on the wall so it could float up and down a bit relative to the wall. Need a walkway from house to where boat will dock.
- Free Floating
- Yes, could anchor also.
- Scales up or down in size (height, diameter).
- Could be made to fold up with balls detaching or come apart with each leg and ball as a separate unit. Then it
could be transported by truck or barge easily.
- Very shallow draft.
Video of 6-foot model
First two are slowed down by a factor of 4 (should be 5 but don't see how to do that in Windows Movie Maker): <youtube v="RWY7mcRwg8g" />
<youtube v="7sEPFt8JS7Y" />
<youtube v="YNbmb0vLN9g" />
You could have net under the whole structure, attached to the 3 corners, to make a place for aquaculture. Fresh water fish farms use automatic feeders where the fish bump something and then get a piece of food. With these no food is wasted. Don't know if salt water farms use these but I expect they could.
One possible problem is that moving through the water would be harder with a big net underwater.
I think 3 telephone poles could be used to make a prototype. I could make the balls out of foam and then cover them with fiberglass/apoxy.