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GOOD Guide: R. Buckminster Fuller (3 of 6)

Where's My Floating City?: Fuller came up with thousands of ideas that never even got to the prototype stage.

Fuller came up with thousands of ideas that never even got to the prototype stage. They range from the incredibly practical to the amusingly utopian.


The Fog Gun

In Fuller's view, showers wasted an incredibly large amount of water. He noticed that while standing on the deck of a ship, sea spray was surprisingly effective at cleaning the skin. So he developed a "gun" to shoot a spray of atomized water droplets at the human body, dishes, or clothing. (Clean a family of four with one pint of water!) Naming it the "Fog Gun," he patented it as a pneumatic cleaning agent that "did away with plumbing's piped in water supply."

The Dymaxion Omni-Medium Transport

The Dymaxion car was just a test, produced to examine the behavior of a far more elaborate "twin-orientable, jet-stilts-flown, wingless flying device." Designed for air and marine travel, the Dymaxion omnitransport would "take off and land like an eagle or duck, without any prepared landing fields."

Floating Cities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development commissioned Fuller to design Triton, a prototype of a floating tetrahedronal city that could be replicated to house low-income families throughout the world. These structures would be anchored by bridges to major waterfront cities, built in shipyards, and melted down and recycled when they became obsolete. Though deemed "practical" and "water-worthy" by Navy inspectors, none was built.

Cloud Nines

Based on the premise that the weight of the enclosed air in a geodesic dome is 1,000 times greater than the weight of its structure, Fuller set forth the following hypothesis: "If the volume of air was heated only one degree, the sphere would begin to float." Cloud Nines were to be floating geodesic spheres as large as one mile in diameter. These would house thousands of people, with passengers moving from "cloud" to "cloud" or from "cloud" to ground, as the "clouds'' floated around the Earth or were anchored to mountaintops.

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