your eyes and hold your breath, you are about to take the ride of your
life and explore the far reaches of the cosmos.
How will you get there?
fantastic vehicle will transport you safely and comfortably across
space and time?
The GravityBowl is unlike any other
vehicle you've ever been in. Its omni-directional, meaning that is has
no front or back. It can move in any direction and smoothly transition
between directions. It can spin in place. It can spin while moving in a
straight line. Its computer-controlled micro-controllers allow for
complex waltz-like pre-programmed movement sequences.
When you see the
GravityBowl you will know that it is a vehicle designed for space
exploration. It is a large saucer shaped vehicle. Its sleek
outer surface is composed of highly polished aluminum with embedded LEDs that
display programmed light sequences. The undercarriage contains colored
fluorescent lights, creating a halo of light from beneath. The onboard
sound system plays sound effects corresponding to vehicle movement.
As you explore the Milky Way and the vast spaces beyond; do not worry, you
are not alone. The journey is as much an inward one as outward.
As you learn about the universe and meet denizens of other worlds you will
learn their culture and find travel companions. While the GravityBowl
travels outward, the interior of the GravityBowl has circular seating that faces
inward. As the GravityBowl travels from planet to planet, picking up
and dropping off creatures from other worlds, they will sit comfortably
facing each other during their journey encouraging passengers to explore
inward, to get to know each other and to understand the different communities
inhabiting our galaxy. Exploration is as much about interacting
with each other as it is interacting with the cosmos.
The GravityBowl is powered by three wheels, each driven by two electric
motors. Because it is electrically powered, passengers don't have to
cope with the noise and fumes associated with gas-powered vehicles. Its
nine rechargeable batteries are powered by generators back at its home camp
with roughly three hours of drive time between charges.
There are 10 microprocessors
on board - three in each wheel controller and one central unit coordinating
the motions. They all communicate using an RS485 serial link. This car is
driven using three e-tek motors for about 6 hp of continuous power. The
maximum loaded weight will be about 1300kg and we should be able to go from
0-10mph in around 3 seconds with a top speed of around 15mph. The drive system is designed to deliver
smooth low-speed control with manual overrides. Back-up mechanical steering is possible in
the event of complete electronic failure.
The GravityBowl is designed for safely. It is a very brightly lit, slow
moving vehicle. The vehicle sits very low to the ground (on 6-8 inches
from the Playa's surface) making it neigh-impossible to run over
anything. Only designated drivers that have been trained and practiced
with the vehicle’s control system will be allowed to drive the
GravityBowl. This consists of only a small set of individuals (five)
all of whom feel strongly about sobriety while driving.
The initial concept of the
GravityBowl was formed during BurningMan 2003. One of the treasured things about
BurningMan is the opportunity it provides to bond with strangers from all
walks of life, economic backgrounds and geographical homes. In the past the designers found themselves
torn between going out and exploring the amazing artwork of Black Rock City and spending intimate time in a chill space bonding with
new friends. GravityBowl was designed
to allow citizens to do both – travel the city and while at the same time
having an inwardly focused interactive experience with others.
During Burning Man the vehicle will be taken out
frequently with the goal of picking up random strangers - preferably one
individual at a time to encourage strangers to meet. Participants will be instructed the purpose
of the vehicle is to explore the inhabitants of the cosmos and encouraged to
interact and get to know one another.
This may involve driving out to the far out reaches of space (a quiet
piece of distant playa) and parking for a while to sit and chat. The more people we can introduce the