Inflatable Lab Could Offer New Way To Explore The Arctic

Architectural firm Studio Les Bêtes has designed an interesting and unique approach for future explorers to potentially visit the North Pole. Their inflatable research lab, called the Arctic Drifter, would be built out of Hypalon air-bags, which high end inflatable boats use as well, and would quite literally roll across the arctic, ignoring water, ice, and crevasses in the process.

When fully inflated, the lab would be 15 meters in diameter, and could move through high winds and other inclement weather without much of a problem, while the researchers and explorers stay inside, warm and protected from the elements. When they want to go out, they simply deflate one of the air-bags, and exit the lab. The crew would stay inside a cabin that is connected to a roll cage that would keep their living quarters and equipment upright no matter which way the giant ball rolled.

While this looks like an interesting concept, there doesn’t really appear to be a way to direct the lab to move in any specific direction. As a mobile lab, it seems like this has some potential in some capacity, but it’s just not quite ready to be used in the field just yet. Still, kind of an interesting take on arctic exploration.

Thanks to Inhabitat for sharing this one.