17 November 2010

Transportation tech that isn't electric cars or higher speed rail

I'm always interested in transportation technology that would improve efficiency and that doesn't involve white elephant gimcrackery like the Chevy "Bastiat." Here's an interesting one:
Bng Bng | Cory Doctorow | Gengineered concrete-patching bacteria: BacillaFilla

"BacillaFilla," is the pet-name given by University of Newcastle researchers to a gengineered bacterium based on Bacillus subtilis that has been modified to fill and bond cracks in cement caused by earthquakes and other violence. The bacteria burrow into the concrete until they have filled all its cracks, then they politely turn into calcium carbonite and die.
I have no idea if this is a good method or not, but we are sorely in need of a quick solution for pavement patching. Imagine being able to resurface a roadway without shutting down lanes, or doing so for a matter of minutes rather than days.

I've been interested in rapid paving since I talked to someone a couple of years back who had done some work for a start-up which was developing a paving technique for the military.  The idea was that you could take this magic spray they created, and squirt it down on top of sand and loose gravel, and it would dry in under an hour to make an instant roadway or helicopter landing patch or some such.  (Additionally it was transparent, so it would still look like sand to a casual observer, but I don't see that aspect having much civilian use.)  I think of that spray every time I'm stuck in a traffic jam caused by a paving crew.

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