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Amazon has tried to patent all kinds of crazy ideas, like drone motherships, a way to return gifts before you get them, and an airbag for your phone

Now, it's successfully patented a way to store packages underwater. We've got no idea if this is anything more than some Amazon engineers spitballing, but it does look cool.

Cruise on through this gallery for the basics of how it could work.

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

OK, so we've got some packages at the bottom of a pool, with conveyor belts up top. Hopefully they're waterproof...

First step: Amazon fires an acoustic signal (sound waves) into the pool, to tell the desired package it's time to come out.

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Each package is (theoretically) equipped with with tanks of compressed air and ballast -- much like a submarine -- plus a flexible bladder on top of the package that expands into a balloon when compressed air is pumped in. 

When the hydrophone hears Amazon's sound waves through the water...

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

...out pops the balloon.

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Now that it's got an inflated balloon, the package rises to the top of the pool.

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

There, jets of compressed air (or another similar propulsion mechanism) guide the package to the conveyor belt at the exit, where an arm (or gate) shuts behind it to ensure it doesn't fall out.

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

The packages might be your typical rectangular boxes...

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Or they might be this fancy new cut-corner model that Amazon envisions. 

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Amazon is also thinking further ahead -- for instance, how would a week's worth of shipments fit into a pool and come out in the right order?

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

What if there were even more packages -- could Amazon stack them by submerging them at different depths?

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Would this system work underneath a public body of water, like a lake, instead of a dedicated storage facility? (The patent argues it could, perhaps with signal towers installed.)

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Or would it make more sense to store both the packages and the body of water underground?

Caption by / Photo by USPTO

Amazon didn't explain why storing packages underwater was a good idea, but we assume it's all part of some grand plan. No matter which way the company goes -- if it chooses to go this way at all -- it's amusing to think we might some day open a box that'd been stored underwater.

via Dezeen

Caption by / Photo by USPTO
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