kjorn wrote:Fabric will have changed -- a lot. Much stronger and lighter - carbon nano tubes are almost indestructable. Graphene can also be woven like thread, yet it conducts electricity - so giant kite sized displays (think LED but better) would be possible. Or you could make them so thin they'd be almost invisible. Like cellophane.
Currently fabric is produced in sheets, then cut into 2D panels and sewn into a 3D shape. I expect 3D shapes will be manufactured - maybe even whole kites just from a single sheet. The bladders laminated onto it somehow. Then you could buy a 3D fabric loom, download a kite 3D model and hit 'print' and out it'd pop.
If you ever watch a sea gull in high winds, it folds and tucks its wings in. The wing hinges at the elbow and wrist, the feathers slide over each other. Kites don't do this, but I think with a bit of engineering they could. So as you sheet out, the kite folds into a low aspect wing. Then as you sheet in it unfolds into a high aspect wing. Feathered kites - they'd be hard to rip. (Foils almost do this at the moment - they bend and warp with the bridle)
If you could make the LE tube ridged and light, then you could evacuate all the gas from it. The vacuum inside would be lighter than air and would float. Not sure how you could make the LE go from [floppy and easy to fit into a bag] to hard - but it can't be impossible. If it were made from some sort of artificial muscle that a small jolt of electricity would make it spring into shape... pump the gas out... kite floats up into the air.
I expect the software that kite designers use will get better at full simulation of a kite. Currently there seems to be a lot of trial and error designing a new kite.
Also, sensors everywhere. All over your body, in the kite and bar and lines. See how the GoPro is getting cheaper and 'smart phones' are getting tougher and will soon be water proof. Those Google Glasses will show all sorts of interesting overlays as you kite around. Hight of jumps, squall warnings, wind speed from other kiters around you (as all kites will be networked together - sharing info)
Kites powering ships? Self launching kites - computers flying them and never crashing the kite?
I am with you and BWD...but I think it will take a bit longer than 10 years.
Download designs and get them printed...yeah I said print your kite not sew.
Do you think Graphene wil be at that point then? Did you see how many patents were taken out on graphene applications???
It would be awesome, I am guessing a little too expensive..but. I am not sure if you need to actually weave it in? Just make the material ultra thin..it would be see through....it will weight nothing, and be ultra strong? Use it as a fricking screen and modulate it from the bar.
How about a mix of shape memory polymer and graphene? Ultimate combo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape_memory_polymer
Though I still think it might take a bit more than 10 yrs.
Display your own images on the kite. Kite shape / size. Change it as needed. It displays your mood as you are kiting.
On the fly changable designs, depending on what currents you send to the kite. Depending on if you are in waves or racing.
One size fits almost all.