Things whose existence is surprising. 1: FLIP

by Nathaniel Virgo

Sometimes you come across something which you never would have thought would exist.  I thought it would be fun to blog about such things as I come across them.  The first example in this series is this:

It’s a ship called FLIP.  The acronym stands for “Floating Instrument Platform”, but it also rather neatly describes what it’s designed to do: its entire 108m hull flips 90˚ in the water so that it’s standing on one end.  It does this because it’s a research vessel designed to study waves, and this gives it the vertical stability it needs in order to make its measurements, as well as being able to survive enormous waves.  Perhaps the coolest thing about it is the way everything is designed so that it can be used in both orientations – rooms have horizontal and vertical doors, and all the kitchen stuff rotates so that nothing gets spilt. It’s real Tracy Island stuff. More information about the boat can be found here.  (I came across this on this BBC programme about waves, which is intersting-ish.)

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