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Digital cloud set to hover above 2012 Olympics (images)

A structure with two towers connected by "bubbles" is planned to broadcast real-time data and images high above London.

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Candace Lombardi
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Olympics showpiece

A team of architects and engineers partnering with Google unveiled on Monday a "="" rel="follow">planned showpiece structure for the London 2012 Olympics called the Cloud. The structure design is a collection of inflatable spheres supported by slender white towers.

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Gossamer structure

The gossamer structure is meant to be a physical manifestation of the digital cloud. And it would, in fact, be a digital cloud that collects and broadcasts real-time data related to ongoing Olympic events, worldwide news and weather info, and practical city info for visitors. Money to build the Cloud will be raised via sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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Inflatable 'bubbles'

The Cloud's "bubbles" are inflatable, transparent, three-dimensional screens laced with LEDs.
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For visitors

Visitors can ascend to bubble level by walking or biking up a spiral walkway. They would also have access to elevators with regenerative braking.
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Self-powered with solar

The Cloud would be self-powered with photovoltaic panels.
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A closer look

From within the main tower, visitors would have a closer look at the bubbles broadcasting ongoing events in real time. They could also look down on the city and the Olympic events taking place in buildings below.
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Sound below

While the images on the bubble screens would float high above the spectators, the sound would be broadcast at ground level.
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The team

The Cloud's extensive team includes Tomas Saraceno, artist; Alex Haw, digital designer; Joerg Schleich, lightweight-structures expert; Arup; Agence Ter; Studio FM; Google; GMJ Design; and a group from MIT's Senseable City Laboratory. The MIT Senseable City Laboratory team led by Carlo Ratti, includes Assaf Biderman, Mauro Martino, E Roon Kang, Walter Nicolino and Giovanni de Niederhausern. The author Umberto Eco is an adviser.

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