Some of us might soon be living on artificial floating mega islands

It is one thing to come up with a wacky idea for transforming our cities or constructing the world’s greatest supervillain evil lair; another to have the expertise and inclination to actually research and build one for real. A new research project coming out of the Netherlands quite handily ticks both boxes. Developed by researchers at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN), their idea is to develop giant artificial islands like today’s floating docks — only on a much, much bigger scale. Like, several miles wide bigger.

And they may just pull it off, too.

“With the world’s increasing population there is not necessarily enough space in the cities, or close to the coast where a lot of people live and work,” Olaf Waals, project manager and the concept developer, told Digital Trends. “These are also areas that are susceptible to flooding with rising sea levels. We thought it was an interesting idea to look at the technical feasibility of building floating mega islands. There are lots of futuristic concepts out there for floating harbors, farms, or cities. We wanted to look at how realistic a proposition this actually is, and come up with a workable concept.”

Waals’ idea involves modular giant triangles which lock together to form sizeable land masses, up to 3.1 miles in width. At least in theory, it is a pretty nifty idea. Given that 70 percent of our planet is covered by water, floating mega islands offer a whole lot more space to play with. They could be used for housing and recreation, or for the generation and storage of sustainable energy technologies like offshore wind farms, tidal energy, and floating solar panels, or for floating farms for breeding fish and seaweed.

Right now, the MARIN team is busy running computer simulations and testing a physical scale model to try and better understand the environmental conditions such a mega island would have to contend with. These potential challenges involve working out how to develop structures that are strong and safe enough to withstand winds and currents; how best to connect them together and to the seabed; and the environmental impact a water-bound floating community would have on its surroundings.

With a consortium of around 20 companies and research institutes now attached, work on the project is set to continue for the next three years. And after that? Our childhood dream of a real-life Waterworld hopefully becomes a reality.

Is it too early to start an online petition to get Kevin Costner appointed as mayor of the first floating mega city? We think not!

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-balancing skates, tiny tripods, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in September 2018, from 'Spotlight’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Japanese billionaire faces tricky task of choosing 8 artists for his moon trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been named as SpaceX's first-ever paying passenger for a trip to the moon in 2023. He says he wants to take eight artists with him. But how will he choose them? And will they accept?
Smart Home

Who needs Stitch Fix? Maison Me uses A.I. to custom design clothing just for you

With backing from Google, a new Silicon Valley-based startup called Maison Me is offering A.I.-assisted, designed-to-order clothing. It's like a personal styling service on steroids.
Emerging Tech

The Flamethrower Diet is better than keto and I burned all this food to prove it

When I first caught word that Elon Musk's Boring Company was selling a fully-functional flamethrower, I knew right away that I wanted to use it as a replacement for all of my modern cooking appliances. Why use a microwave when you can use a…
Emerging Tech

Swiss researcher offers blueprints for animal-friendly autonomous machines

A scientist worries that our high-tech future fails to consider the well-being of other creatures: "Machine ethics has so far concentrated almost exclusively on automatic actions that affect people."
Computing

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.
Emerging Tech

Don’t be fooled — this automated system sneakily manipulates video content

In the vein of “deep fakes," Recycle-GAN, a new system from Carnegie Mellon University, presents another case for how difficult it will be to distinguish fiction from reality in the future.
Emerging Tech

Moxi the ‘friendly’ hospital robot wants to help nurses, not replace them

Moxi is a "friendly" hospital robot from Texas-based Diligent Robotics. The wheel-based bot, which begins trials this week, aims to free nurses from routine tasks so they can spend more time with patients.
Emerging Tech

How do 3D printers work? Here’s a super-simple breakdown

How do 3D printers work, exactly? If you ever wondered how these magical machines create 3D objects in a matter of hours, then look no further than this dead-simple breakdown of the four most common printing technologies.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Giant wind farm in Morocco will help mine cryptocurrency, conserve energy

One of the windiest parts of Morocco is set to get a $2 billion wind farm power plant, which could help power eco-friendly cryptocurrency mining in a more environmentally friendly way.