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Friday, April 14, 2017

Inventions in Oceania: The Underwater City


For Oceania to be a fully functioning city, I had to come up with several futuristic inventions. The inventions in the novel may be possible in the future or entirely improbable. Some of them aren’t very different from what other sci-fi authors have dreamed up such as holograms and other holographic things. Yet others I specifically dreamed up for Oceania. In this blog post, I will be highlighting some of the general inventions I came up with for the story along with a quote from where it appears in the book.


As far as the city itself is concerned, two inventions I came up with were crucial for its existence. The two inventions are the SPLRS and the protective dome of the city.


“Those are called SPLRS, which stands for Solar Panel Light Reflecting Sheets.”
-Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City

SPLRS

The SPLRS were designed to allow Oceania to be a self-sustaining city, meaning that it would be able to grow its own food. Since sunlight is one of the key ingredients for plant growth, some type of invention would have to allow sunlight to reach the depths of the sea. Housed in a protective pipe from sea level to Oceania, they plunge into the depths for over 3,000 meters  (10,000 feet). The SPLRS—or Solar Panel Light Reflecting Sheets—were built with rising sea levels and turbulent ocean waves in mind. They tower several feet beyond sea level with an outer covering that shields their existence from both aerial and ocean view. An outer barrier also protects it from being driven into by any watercraft. SPLRS bounce light off their panels without reducing any power of the sunlight. Centered directly in the middle of the city, the light it reflects is bounced down from the surface of the ocean to the second sublevel of the city known as the greenhouse sublevel. From there, the sunlight is then distributed throughout the entire level to facilitate the photosynthesis of the plants growing in the sublevel. Unlike the arboretum where all the trees are in the city, the greenhouse level holds the fruits, vegetables, and grains produced in the city as well as some livestock. All of this needed the SPLRS in order to exist.



“The light emanated from a gigantic dome that sat upon what looked like a rocky seafloor.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

Oceania’s Protective Dome

The outer dome protecting the underwater city had to be an invention of its own. (If you’ve read my blog post on the research I conducted for Oceania, you’ll know why. If not, you can read the first part here.) Made of a man-made material, it is durable enough to withstand centuries worth of the immense pressure of the deep sea. Although translucent, it is made up of three hulls. The outermost one is thick and durable to keep up against the pressure outside. The middle layer holds extra protection and the projection screens that can mimic the sky on land. The innermost one sustains the artificial atmosphere of the city, which is maintained by internal systems. The dome has a cloaking layer to keep the lights of the city from disturbing ocean life and can be dimmed or eliminated altogether by automatic or manual override. It is programmed to allow light to emit whenever one of Oceania’s seacraft is approaching or leaving the docking bay. After a time, the lights dim to the blackness of the surrounding sea to maintain a suitable environment for the abyss.



For communication devices, I figured that in the future they would be similar to the ones we have today except with more capabilities and more effective security measures. The Network, HoloNet, Omniphones, and C-coms are similar to things we have today with a few upgrades.


“We just call it the Network now. It’s much more than the World Wide Web ever was.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

Network

The “Network” is like the Internet but with an even higher capacity than the one in our world today. The Network is strictly divided between the education, informational, and every other section. It is easier to find reliable sources of information without limiting people’s sharing of their opinions, beliefs, and random musings. Still free, the Network connects everyone across the globe with higher security and network adaptability, meaning that it's able to sync with a variety of devices. Also, it’s purged of SPAM to create a safe online environment for everyone.



 “I don’t know you and thus don’t want you looking me up on the HoloNet.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

HoloNet

The HoloNet is the holographic extension of the Network that allows people to interact face-to-face with each other in cyberspace Unlike the Network, the HoloNet is purely social. In the digitalized world of the future, everyone has a secure private profile on the Network that allows them to connect with each other in a virtual world type setting. The HoloNet is a database and virtual social gathering center in one. The most basic form of the HoloNet is a profile sharing network of information about people like old style phone or address books and such would hold. To connect with other individuals one-on-one in a virtual setting, users have to give the person they wish to speak with a passcode. Like the Network, it’s also highly secured.



“Don’t you have the technology on land for marine interspecies communication?”
-Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City

Interspecies Communication Device (ICD)

The Interspecies Communication Device (ICD) is a device that can be used in seamobiles or any other seacraft in Oceania. Like any translator app, it has a list of languages that can be interpreted. The ICD is integrated within the seamobiles allowing the riders to communicate with a variety of species just through typing a sentence which then gets translated into the animal’s language. The device can then emit sounds that mimic the same pitch and frequency used in the specific animal’s communication system. The ICD specializes in mammalian communication allowing the user to translate between cetacean, pinniped, and other marine mammal languages. The ICD that Dylan uses in the seamobile is an invention I came up with that has a very loose basis to something in real life. A marine scientist named Dr. Denise Herzing is currently working on dolphin-human interspecies communication in the Caribbean. Perhaps one day her research could be the basis of something similar to Oceania’s ICD.



“Standing up, I took out my omniphone and swept my fingertips across it to unlock the screen using my fingerprints.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

Omniphone

Omniphones are a merger between a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Their name actually means “all phone,” which is fitting because it can essentially do everything. It is comprised of half-physical and half-holographic parts and can fold out to create a larger screen and keyboard using holographic parts where the physical ones are absent. It can be a laptop or tablet in seconds and revert back to the size of a smartphone in the same amount of time. Omniphones can be used to connect to the Network and HoloNet as well as make non-visual phone calls and texts. Fully customizable, it comes in a variety of shades and two different sizes: one for adults and one for children. Due to insane inflation rates from today’s money to 2276, Allie’s omniphone cost $20,000, which would be comparable to someone spending $1,500 in today’s money. The size of an adult-size omniphone is 13.97 centimeters (5 ½ inches) long, 7.62 centimeters (3inches) wide, and 2.54 centimeters (1 inch) thick.



“…Dylan pressed a button on his shirt and a pocket appeared. Pulling out his communicator, he handed it over to me. ‘And we call ours c-coms.’”
-Allie and Dylan, Oceania: The Underwater City

C-coms

C-coms are Oceania’s counterpart of an omniphone. C-coms are housed inside of a black orb with only one button on it. Everything from the c-com is projected in a holographic display from holocalls to information. They are lightweight, durable, waterproof, and hold petabytes worth of information. They come in a variety of colors, but the most popular color is black. They can seamlessly interface with anything digital in Oceania. Due to the fact that c-coms are perfect spheres, they have a universal diameter of 11.43 centimeters (4 ½) inches.



Images of a C-com device
(not to scale)
Illustration by Eliza Taye


C-com with general holographic projection grid
Illustration by Eliza Taye


Although Oceania was a city designed to focus more on the pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of humanity, it had to have some type of professional sport. To create a one of a kind sport, I invented the aquadome.



“…the lights above the stands dimmed to black and the lights refocused on the interior of the aquadome.”
-Allie, Oceania: The Underwater City

Aquadome

In Oceania, most of the sports we enjoy today have receded into the virtual world. They are played through holographic projections or in the OVRR. The only physical sport they play is Aquaball. The aquadome was specially made for this sport and houses the four teams in the city. Formed by a dome, it is essentially the opposite of the protective dome that surrounds the city. The center of the arena is a dome filled with water in which the players compete. Outside the arena are the stands like any other stadium on land. To combat the annoying seats no one ever wants to sit in inside a stadium, each seat is equipped with a personal screen where the viewer can see the action up close if they don’t have a seat close enough to see the action. Otherwise, the aquadome is very much like a mixture of a hockey, soccer, and baseball stadium combined.



You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of next week’s post in which I will be highlighting special inventions that were crucial to the storyline in Oceania: The Underwater City. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

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