"Desert Seal" Tent
The design for this inflatable tent is based on specific temperature found in extreme desert environments on Earth. During the day, as one rises higher above the ground, the temperature falls considerably. In response to this, an electric fan – powered by a flexible solar panel – blows cool air into the tent from above. Energy is also stored by batteries in order to supply warm air at night, when the temperature immediately above the ground drops markedly. During a bivouac, the tent is stabilized by a slight excess pressure internally as well as by the structure itself, which consists of inflatable tubes. Aluminium elements at the front and top hold the fan and air extract in position, while daytime heat is reflected away by the aluminium-coated outer skin. The structure, which can be rolled up completely for transportation, is inflated with a pump. The pegs are fixed in position, the inflatable mattress is inserted and the solar panel lashed in place. The concept is based on a technology-transfer programme of the European Space Agency (ESA). The small volume and low weight of pneumatic structures play a vital role in terms of transportation in space. Other important factors there are the exploitation of locally available resources and the creation of an agreeable internal climate in hostile surroundings. This high-tech tent has not managed to get as far as space yet, but it has at least made it into the MoMA collection.