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Pervasive Lensing: Just Your Everyday Antigravity
Designing a World without Gravity (4)
Gregory Daigle (gdaigle)     Print Article 
Published 2006-01-09 12:54 (KST)   
Remarkable new technology can be viewed as mundane and treated quite ordinarily after only a few decades of use. The technology begins to blend into everyday life, becoming background rather than foreground. Finally, it begins to show up in the least expected places, even pervasively imbedded in everyday objects. For example: holograms on credit cards, solid state lasers (LEDs) in outdoor holiday lights and computer chips in refrigerators.

We've yet to see a verified demonstration of modified gravity (modG), but assuming it is successfully introduced, the technology will eventually become a part of the background.

In the first three parts of this series the gravity modifying device invented by Marcus Hollingshead was explained, and its potential for commuter gravityships and floating architecture discussed. All of this will become possible if the device셲 ability to "lens" gravity is real. But not all applications of gravity control have to be as attention-grabbing, or as trite, as flying cars.

This segment looks at the full range of gravity field effects claimed by Hollingshead and some of their potential applications. Information on the fields is sketchy, but we include a look at HAFF1 intersecting fields, HAFF3 (thrust/traction/propulsion) applications, HAFF4 (atomic suppression), HAFF6 (standing/membrane/shearing) and HAFF7 (optics). HAFF2 and HAFF5 have not been described or attributed to specific applications and their nature has not been made public.

Key to HAFF field types
©2006 Gregory Daigle
Each of the application areas described below is followed by a small icon indicating the suggested field type involved. The application areas all have some social or economic benefit. Some of their uses may be annoying, but they are not purposefully abusive. Part 5, the final submission in this series, will explore some of the potential abuses.


Transient Advertising
HAFF Fields

HAFF1 - Intersecting fields:
- A way through HAFF6 fields producing no obvious interference with each other.

HAFF3 - Thrust, traction and propulsion fields:
- Only fields produced during motion
- Produce lateral force
- Accelerates up to 4.5G
- Objects exhibit inertia-less turns.

HAFF4 - Suppression fields:
- Suppresses all normal atomic motion and chemical reaction without cooling.

HAFF6 - Standing, membrane and shearing fields:
- Reduces temperatures to approximately 100K (-173C).
- Produces a vacuum around the RP (the central core of the device).
- Forms a shield barrier that can be physically felt and hit.
- Membrane tunable for specific porosity.
- Fields can be shaped

HAFF7 - Optical fields:
- Suitable for 3D displays, modeling optics.

Descriptions are from various sources including: Marcus HAFF Notes [pdf download], Bob Drive Records (you must be registered with the online group to access the document).
- The science fiction film "Minority Report" depicted biometric-based advertising systems based upon personal retinal scans. It was invasive, persistent and terribly annoying. Gravity platform billboards might not be as annoying but would be similarly persistent by enabling the billboard to relocate. It would travel to the areas most visited by its target customers. So billboards well positioned along roadsides during rush-hour traffic jams might seek out their audiences downtown during the work day.


Medical Therapies
- Bed sores can lead to life-threatening conditions for quadriplegics, such as the condition that led to the death of actor Christopher Reeves. Microgravity, produced by inverting traction fields, has the potential to prevent bed sores and aid in the healing of severe burns through reducing patient weight. Placing the full weight of a body on second and third degree burns is not only painful but also retards healing and contributes to breaks in the skin, which are potential sites of infection.

- NASA scientists have established that long periods of weightlessness produce medical complications. Astronauts are known to lose bone mass and experience muscle atrophy while in weightless conditions and suffer from weakened immune systems. Though muscle atrophy can be blocked by disrupting gene activity associated with it, the weakening of the body's immune system and its resultant lower ability to fight off infection provides a challenge for long-duration space flights. The use of artificial gravity for lengthy space flights would help astronauts maintain their health during transits.

- Applying a traction or thrust field to produce mechanical loading above 1G could also have benefits. Hypergravity is already known to increase the proliferation of bone cells through increased gene expression as well as mineralization and bone growth. This could be an excellent tool for athletic conditioning as well as physical rehabilitation. It might also be beneficial for reversing osteoporosis and in decreasing the healing time for broken bones, yet the potential for damage to other tissues will require monitoring.


Space Sports at Space Ports
- Once space tourism is introduced at Virgin Galactic's spaceport later this decade, Space sports will quickly follow. The Zero Gravity Corporation is already offering parabolic low altitude flights where you can play dodge ball, tag and paraball (parabolic football) for short periods of time in zero-G.

Actually, sports approaching zero-G are fairly common today even without use of parabolic trajectories. There are several sites across the United States providing indoor skydiving sports using vertical wind tunnels. Indoor skydiving gives participants a stationary wall upon which players could touch spots for points or insert objects into goal-pockets, making a good approximation of true zero-G sports.

Using modG microgravity would allow terrestrial zero-G sports over longer durations and wider areas. So what are now brief experiences in confined aircraft or vertical wind tunnels may become full stadium sporting events.

- In addition to flying broomsticks and jalopies the Harry Potter books also introduced children and adults to Quidditch, the game for wizards played on flying broomsticks. No doubt a mock version of this fantasy game would be an early candidate for sports licensing once a modG version of the Nimbus 2000 broom becomes available. Those ill-tempered Bludgers could be a problem, though!


Rescue Me!
- Rescue and safety applications could come from almost any of the HAFF fields. For example, standing fields create high vacuums within their volume. Fire fighters would be able to remotely place and trigger a gravity-lens "bomb" able to extinguish fires by depriving combustion of oxygen. HAFF6 fields can also reduce temperature. A minimally operating field could project a protective low temperature barrier around fire rescuers, assuming they can maintain their own air supplies due to the vacuum produced.

- The lifting potential of modG is the most obvious usage for rescue operations near building wreckage. Microgravity generated from HAFF3 fields could be employed to lift the debris of collapsed buildings during searches for survivors. In combination with shearing fields to separate debris and standing fields to reinforce walls during excavation, you have a powerful set of tools for rescue operations.

- A small propulsive field modG device could be used to evacuate people from buildings. Evacuees could attach themselves via strap or other means. This could make possible extraction vests for occupants of tall buildings, ocean vessels in rough seas or soldiers in indefensible combat positions.


Walking on TipToes
- Standing fields can apply a pushing force at a distance. This would be useful for sweeping over lands containing mines or unexploded munitions after a military occupation. Arrays of such sweepers configured to pulse "fingers" of force deep into soil and sand could float over suspected minefields detonating and clearing large areas of explosives.

- Each year hundreds of people drown by falling through thin ice on lakes and rivers. Devices gauged to simulate the weight of people and vehicles could quickly traverse waterways and accurately assess the safety level for the public during winter months.


Industrial Gravity
- Suppression fields inhibit atomic motion and could be suitable for controlling the rate of chemical reactions in batch processes or refineries, especially when other controls are impractical or prohibitively expensive.

- The stasis effect of suppression fields could also constrain the shifting of liquids and granular materials during transport in semi-trucks and train cars. This would reduce the likelihood of spillage or accidents due to shifting loads.

- HAFF6 standing fields can create a vacuum by dispelling air molecules and other gases. This would be useful in any industrial process requiring vacuum environments such as metal deposition and coating or vacuum processing of food products.

- Standing fields could also be used in redirecting and controlling the flow of bulk materials at a distance, especially those unable to be supported by traditional off-feed tables or rollers. Examples include molten materials or very light/sticky materials.

- Shaped shearing and standing fields make good cutting, boring and shaping tools. They could be used to replace some common manufacturing techniques such as the shearing, explosive forming or punching of thin metal sheet (Hollingshead once relayed how his fields could punch through thin copper sheeting [pdf download]).

- Standing fields could also be deployed to isolate workers and materials from sparks, noxious gases and particulates, while membrane fields could be selectively tuned to block ultraviolet or other short wavelength radiation produced in arc welding.

- Hypergravity fields also have their uses in industry. Maintaining a contained and concentrated zone of compressed gases would aid in TIG welding and other fabrication techniques requiring the maintenance of inert gas atmospheres around a specific work zone.


Energy and Laboratory
- The compression of small gas bubbles with intense sound waves has been shown to produce temperatures of millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun. The technique is known as sonofusion. Combining sonofusion techniques with intense standing fields might help generate the compression forces needed to produce desktop fusion.

- A uniformly accelerating system is considered equivalent to a local gravitational field according to Einstein's Principal of Equivalence. Under this principal the difference between centrifugal forces and gravity cannot be distinguished by an observer inside the system. Therefore any laboratory process requiring a centrifuge to separate or filter materials by their specific gravity could be reproduced by a gravity-lensing field. Such filtering could be applied to the bulk separation of liquids and gaseous aggregates by their specific gravity.

- Hollingshead reports that membrane fields can be tuned for selective porosity or permeability. They can be tuned for specific electromagnetic wavelengths as well as specific elements (though it is unclear if he is referring to the actual atoms or just their spectrographic signatures). This could enhance lab methods for selectively tuning light, or the filtering of chemical elements.

- HAFF7 forces influence the path of visual light and other electromagnetic waves. Optical fields could presumably be used to create and control virtual lens shapes. This would make possible new dynamic optics for microscopes, cameras or telescopes. Hollingshead also mentions 3D displays but doesn't indicate if it's the shape of the field itself that imparts the dimensionality or other 3D effects such as holography (see Gravitonics below).



Construction and Mining
- Construction would benefit from the ability to hoist large slabs of thin, fragile exterior stone such as limestone or soapstone.

- Standing fields could provide temporary support walls while digging wells or trenches. They could be erected quickly, keeping mine and tunnel workers safe from the occasional wall collapses that occur.

- Buildings equipped with emergency generators could insure their operation during adverse weather by surrounding them with standing fields impervious to flood waters. The more extensive use of standing fields to aid in the structural support of buildings exposed to high winds and earthquakes has already been discussed in Part 3 of this series.

- For several years the use of liquid crystal laminates in glass has given homeowners the ability to "tune" the opacity of their windows. Standing fields could be used to actually become the window, without any physical glass at all. And membrane fields could allow the windows to be "tuned" selectively for wavelength of light.


Giving Transportation a Lift
- The propulsion possibilities of gravityships has already been mentioned in Part 2. Even small modG devices could similarly provide lift-assist in dirigibles and maglev (magnetic levitation) trains. Used in the conventional family car they could reduce the friction on wheel bearings, lower operating temperatures and improve fuel efficiency.

- Another aspect of HAFF3 fields for propulsion is their ability to impart inertia-less turns if all of the mass is completely contained within their field. This would make possible platforms able to literally "turn on a dime". Why risk traffic accidents with police squad cars in high-speed pursuit when you can just follow the suspect vehicle with a camera platform capable of sharp turns reminiscent of "billiard ball" rebounds?

- Standing fields reportedly can be shaped. Such fields would be suitable for forming aerodynamic airfoils and shapes for submersibles. But since standing fields also expel air and produce low temperatures, creating a comfortable compartment for passengers requires additional engineering.

- HAFF1 intersecting fields are supposed to be able to intersect HAFF6 fields without destabilizing them. Intersecting fields could possibly be used to form an isolated pocket maintaining an inner atmosphere and temperature within a standing field, although at this juncture it is not certain.


Security
- Autonomous floating platforms could provide greater security by placing surveillance cameras wherever desired. These could be seen as additional intrusions into our private lives, however. Our assumptions of privacy have already been abrogated by street surveillance cameras and other security systems. Platforms merely continue the trend.

- The security of children is a constant concern of their parents. Technologies that can track and locate children today through GPS and Wi-Fi are passive systems. A modG platform that accompanies a child and acts as a Wi-Fi networked autonomous agent would provide a proactive level of security. Each platform could perform as a child's personal tinkerbell providing overhead light when it gets dark, surveilling the path ahead, or even becoming an umbrella when it rains.


Gravitonics?
- Gravity and electromagnetics are two of the four forces of nature. If gravity-lensing devices are found to manipulate gravity as easily as we currently manipulate electromagnetics (electricity, light), then might we look forward to a gravitational equivalent of electronics and photonics; perhaps gravitonics? Are there gravity applications analogous to transistors, lasers or holograms?


Related Articles
Designing a World Without Gravity
Where's My Flying Car?
Living in Airspace: Room With a View
Negative Outcomes: Gravitational Terrorism?



In Part 5, the final part of this series, we will review Negative Outcomes and a reality check on the claims by the inventor.

Gregory Daigle is a consultant in social technologies and e-learning, and a former professor of industrial design.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Gregory Daigle

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