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This Is a Kite

(Photo: Wired)

Tomás Saraceno, an artist whose work we've featured previously, designed this kite called Solar Bell. He based his design on a flying machine concept conceived by Alexander Graham Bell:

You probably know Bell as the man who invented the telephone, but he was actually quite active in the early days of aviation when engineers were exploring how to make manned flight a reality. Bell’s tetrahedron-shaped kite concept looked to maximize surface area and minimize weight through the use of light, pyramid-shaped sails. The idea was to make a machine capable of carrying a man and a motor into flight, and though he did achieve that, Bell’s kite ultimately failed to inspire the future of manned flight. [...]

The Solar Bell you’re looking at stands 5 meters tall, but the current sculpture is just a stepping stone to Saraceno’s much more ambitious vision. Eventually he’d like to see the Solar Bell reach 60 meters high, effectively turning it into an observation deck that would flutter above land or water supported totally by the wind.The idea is that humans will be able to steer and manipulate the position of the structure based on the distribution of weight. “I want to see people going up in it, climbing in it, using it,” he said.

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