This one’s for the geeks – new Flywheel design

I started work on Innerscape* again today, and have 14 hand-scribbled pages of notes, and possible plot directions to show for it. On page 15, I started wondering what kind of redundant systems a facility like Innerscape would need [to ensure neither the AI, nor the residents’ life support systems ever broke down]. And that led me to flywheels.

For those who don’t know what a flywheel is, let me show you a very simple example of a flywheel at work.

We’ve all played bought such toys for our kids, but I know I never really knew why they worked. This next video is longer, but about 3/4 of the way through you get to see a nice, clear demonstration of what a flywheel in a vehicle is actually doing.

But in principle, much larger flywheels could also be used to store intermittent energy – say from solar or a wind turbine. The problem has been in the implementation, and cost.

This article in Scientific American talks about a new invention that gets around one of the major obstacles to using flywheel technology for large scale energy storage. For the non-geeks, just accept that this invention could make large scale energy storage a reality.

So, extrapolating from that Scientific American article, I think that in about 80 years, this flywheel design, or something similar, will be commonplace.  After all, think about how far computer technology has come since the 1980’s when personal computers arrived.

If I’m right, flywheel technology would be a necessary component of any highly redundant back up system.  Which means Innerscape would definitely have it.  Neat huh?

Okay, I know this post probably bored you all to tears, but I’m excited! One of the joys  of writing sci-fi is the ability to second guess the future. The year 2100 may prove me completely wrong, but you must admit, my guess is at least possible. 🙂

*You can find the beginning of the Innerscape story under Categories/nano 2012 excerpts



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

14 responses to “This one’s for the geeks – new Flywheel design

  • EllaDee

    I’m accepting your word that the new invention could make large scale energy storage a reality, and that it is exciting… I think I must be almost completely right-brained except for basic language and problem solving. Certainly I have little aptitude for logic, critical thinking, numbers and not a lot for reasoning. I’ve never been interested in how magic tricks work, and if someting falls apart and has to be put back together, it’s a drama not an exciting challenge. However, I’m good at unravelling knots. As for flywheels I’ll wait to read the fruits of your endeavours 🙂


    • acflory

      lol – don’t worry! All this research is to ensure some whiz kid out there doesn’t read it and fall over laughing at my ignorance! There won’t be any blueprints in the story. 😉


  • metan

    Not bored at all! I’m with Candy, readily fixable tech has to be the way for future facilities to operate. Relying only on the computer for the tech to keep the air breathable? I think we all know how badly that could go…. Eeeek!


  • davidprosser

    I’m going to say something now that will shock you, yes, Shock you. I’m not a geek ! Even so, I more or less understood you and I liked it. Well, anything that gets you back to Innerscape is bound to find favour with me.
    ( I’m sure I’ve seen an Aussie TV series with that name).

    In view of what I’ve been forced to admit though you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that ‘geooorge’s’ statement, (Unless you are Carmack. you’d then be able to do a real time code in 4KB for the whole thing…) made absolutely no sense to me at all. I thought a Carmack was a chocolate bar ( sorry Caramac, too good to miss). Unless of course we have an alien presence amongst us and he’s talking to other aliens in Venusian or something.

    xxx Massive Hugs xxxxx


    • geooorge

      Hehehe 😀 John Carmack is considered a great programmer that can think really clever and efficient programs. Plus, he has his own space rocket company as a hobby (yeah) so he should also be mechanically inclined as well.


    • acflory

      lmao ! I’m not surprised David. George is a true geek and a whiz kid to boot. 4KB is a tiny amount in computing terms. Most software is hugely bloated – i.e. much bigger than 4KB. So, anyone who can dash off code that works in such a small package is a … genius. 😀


  • geooorge

    Nice! A mechanical solution to something. I was beginning to think that this thing is slowly going away and withering since you mostly see computerized/electronic solutions to issues.

    I love any and all kinds of solutions, but i think that a purely mechanical one would make you more … sly? No. wrong word. I mean that with code you’ll have to make it lean and mean, but computing limitations are being lifted and if it doesn’t work you’ll alter your code. But a mechanical one needs to work with as few parts as possible and designed in a way that won’t burden the rest of the system. (Unless you are Carmack. you’d then be able to do a real time code in 4KB for the whole thing…)


    • acflory

      lol – My Dad was a mechanical engineer who loved innovating processes using the laws of physics. I know I’m a bit biased but to me his innovations always looked so simple and elegant. They worked because physics said they would.

      I think sometimes modern tech can mask poor design because you can ‘fix’ it. I guess that’s why I like this solution so much. Not sure I completely understand it but… 😉


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