Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Inventions from the hurricane

Every disaster spawns inventions and this latest Hurricane was no exception. Those I feature here were in process already, spawned by previous disasters but they will ring true to anyone in New York who recently had to deal with flooding and disrupted subway service.

How about a balloon that opens within a subway tunnel to block the water flow enough to allow any leakage to be pumped out?

 An  inflatable device that could save tunnels from flooding. By  
As shown in this article, this project has been around for a few years with successes and failures but it recently got new life after many of NYC subways were inundated and millions of commuters were shuttled onto ferries and buses.

A bigger potential problem deals with rising sea levels and the fact that Manhattan is barely above current sea levels. How do you protect a whole metropolis?

The Netherlands has been struggling with this problem for its entire existence. Here are the flood gates that close periodically to protect Rotterdam from the ravages of the North Sea:
Tineke Dijkstra/Hollandse Hoogte
London has gates to protect from surges up the Thames:
A flood barrier on the Thames by
Read more in this recent Times article.

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