The Forestlab is a research lab designed for canopy biology research. It would be used by scientists to study the plants and animals living inside the tree crowns of the world’s largest forests such as the Amazon.
Origin of the idea
I recently created a vehicle that looked like a mobile canopy raft. (See the Canopi concept) The idea was to use it to travel over a dense forest using the branches and leaves to support the vehicle. That project gave me the idea of working on a mobile research station instead. This would make it more convenient to study plants and creatures over longer periods of time.
How It Works
The Forestlab’s frame would be built of very light composite material. It would have large windows, which could be opened to collect samples. The structure would be powered by solar panels mounted directly on the frame’s side, and fuel cells could also provide additional heating and energy.
The whole structure would have a central pillar that would rest on the ground and absorb all the weight. A series of inflatable cushions would be fixed under and around the Forestlab to act as stabilisers.
On top of the lab, a huge hot air balloon could be inflated to raise the lab above the tree canopy and move it to another location. Five giant fans would be used to help raise the lab up by creating thrust.
These fans could also be used to move the vehicle sideways by using vectored thrust (diverting the air in a given direction) This operation could be done in less than a day and could be assisted by an helicopter or a thermal airship.
Each facility would be able to accommodate 8 occupants. People could also get onboard by using an electric hoist connected to the ground. Each facility would recycle its own waste and collect water from the rain and moisture on the structure.
What’s It’s used for
The Forestlab would be used to study forest across the world along with the animals and plants living in them. I think it would help accumulate data and create studies on climate change as well and the impact of humans on the forests. It could also be used as a hotel suite for wealthy donors interested in seeing nature up close; thus ‘sensibilizing’ them to the importance of protecting these vast ecosystems.
I would like to thank Boris Schwarzer, who created the renderings of the Forestlab. Boris is based in Michigan, U.S.A. He went to the College of Creative Studies. He also created the images of the CityJet urban Quad and the Snowrama II concepts for snowmobiles.