Watch: Floating city shaped like Manta Ray

Semester at Sea has a whole new meaning thanks to Jacques Rougerie.

The utopian French architect recently proposed a 3,000-foot-long floating city shaped like a Manta Ray that would serve as an international oceanographic university to study marine biodiversity. The City of Meriens would not only hold 7,000 students, researches and professors, it would do so with zero net energy consumption.   

Click here to watch the video of Meriens.

It’s not so wild to think that this radical design will serve as the catalyst for the floating residences and cruise ships of the future.

“Regarding the world of water vessel design, the City of Meriens will hopefully inspire designs that place the man in complete harmony with the sea,” Rougerie told Weather.com.

Click here to check out Autodesk’s Meriens model on Fusion 360, the software company’s next-gen 3D CAD/CAM.

Watch: 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam

It’s not yet feasible or cost effective to erect a 20-story building with a 3D printer, but printing a bridge is certainly a good start.

A Dutch startup is close to completing that exact feat.

MX3D will use its specialized printer to build a steel footbridge across an Amsterdam canal. Robotic arms will essentially draw 3D metal in midair to create a steel structure. If you can’t wrap your head around that right now, check out this video: 

Mounted with specially developed welding heads, the robots could be positioned in one of two ways on the bridge. One scenario would place two robots on the same side of the bridge but on opposite sides of the footpath. Alternatively, the robots could be placed at opposite banks and meet in the middle like the kiss scene in The Lady and the Tramp. The robots could print their own support structures as they move along or they could be mounted on moored barges in the canal.

“The final strategy has yet to be decided,” MX3D Co-founder and CTO Tim Geurtjens told us via email. “We will most likely reveal the final location of the bridge next month.”

The effort is a collaboration with Autodesk, the Dutch construction firm Heijmans and the Swiss robotics maker ABB.

Check out this story in The Economist for more information and see a collage of MX3D’s photos below.