What Is This?

An escaped amusement park water ride boat? A crashed, insectoid UFO that's stuck struggling on its back, turtle-style? A conveniently all-powerful plot device in a Hollywood summer action movie?

This 4.5-metre-wide, solar-panel-adorned disc is a floating water purifier, to be plopped into the canals in the Japanese city of Osaka, and into the moat around the city's centerpiece castle. Designed by NTT, these "floating UFOs" can filter about 9000 litres of water in the six hours a day they'll be operational, all the while spewing the newly cleaned and oxygenated water out of a little spout in its back, presumably because these things have the potential to be kind of unsettling, and everything with a blowhole is automatically charming. It's true! Check!

At night, they'll just sort of float along, creepily—they've got batteries for when the sun hides out, but only to power the device's LED lights. [Asahi via Pink Tentacle—Second image from Mainichi Daily]

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