Never mind Roswell, UFOs are invading Osaka's canal systems - so they're already tougher than the hydrophobiac aliens from Signs. They're also better than War of the Worlds as these man-made space-ship-a-likes are immune to all Earthly bacteria, and are here to make things better for all of us.
The five-meter discs have been built by NTT Facilities to help clean up the cities canals. They've also taken the traditional Japanese technological route of starting with something functional and making it awesome. The brightly colored discs float along the canals (entirely solar powered) filtering over two thousand gallons of water a a day - and doing it in style. The cleaned and oxygenated water spouts out the top as a fountain, while batteries store some of the solar energy to light up LED arrays along the sides at night. Just to look awesome (and okay, maybe to help avoid collisions).
They're an awesome example of environmental improvement technology (though unfortunately not marketable just yet). Funded as part of the "Aquatic Metropolis" festival celebrating Osaka's waterways they simply aren't cost effective unless you count the PR factor. They're not self-maintaining either, with both expected to run down within the year. We can just call them PR-based prototypes and hope for more.
A hope which might be fulfilled - NTT Facilities have announced plans for more Solar UFOs in the Tokyo area (where we assume Godzilla will appear to attack the alien-iffic invaders). If the idea catches on, refinements and dropping costs could see these Earth-helping aliens in more waters around the world.
Posted by Luke McKinney
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