If you have been following Arktide on our Facebook or other social media over the last two weeks you have probably seen images of something like this. It is called the ArkPad, and it is the first (of soon-to-be several) completed designs by Arktide. If you have read our Evolution of Design series then you know that we have put in a lot of work since last year. This work has included jumping from design to design, redoing designs to increase living space, safety, or stability, and running through wave simulations on every possible design to be certain that it would be able to handle storm-like conditions. We initially addressed designs 1 through 7 in those blog posts. Then we finally arrived at our 8th design which has satisfied all of our requirements reasonably well.
The ArkPad is still in its early prototype stages and will continue to undergo many alterations before prototype construction begins, but we believe that construction will start in the next few months. When the prototype is finished Arktide will begin taking preorders for the ArkPad which will be fulfilled in our mass production stage.
The ArkPad is not what some people may think it is based on images alone, it is not the modular houses placed on top of the structure, it is the floating platform itself. The ArkPad can be compared more to developed land than to a house. Imagine a plot of land that has been leveled, had water, electricity, phone lines, and internet lines installed, has road access, and finally a foundation laid ready to build a house on. This is the ArkPad, the type of house you want to put on it is up to you. Provided the home weighs less than 9 metric tons you can place any type of structure that you want on top. This allows the end user maximum flexibility. You can even put no structure on top and simply use it as deck space. The ArkPad simply provides the foundation, fully stabilized, and capable of supporting the weight of a small home made of lightweight building materials. Multiple ArkPads can even be joined together to support larger homes with more interior floor space.
In our testing of this new structure, we have found that it is not difficult to alter the design for deep sea deployment, but doing so increases the draft considerably. Because of this, we will probably split the ArkPad into two different designs, one for coastal use (waves of less than 3 meters) and one for deep sea deployment.
Waves in coastal areas must be considerably smaller for the coastal ArkPad to be deployed, but in our testing, the deep sea version steamed through storm waves of 5 meters with ease, and even faired well in waves of 6 meters, though it would be dangerous for it to operate in those conditions.
Most storms near the equator have waves over 4 meters, meaning that the majority of the equator region in our Optimal Zones map will be a deployable region for the deep sea version of the ArkPad.
In our simulations, ArkPads subjected to 5-meter waves had a pitch of less than 2 degrees and negligible heave. They will come with mounting points for custom structures, or recommended modular homes that can be installed on any ArkPad and will be specially designed for a saltwater environment, and to maximize cost-effectiveness. Not only will ArkPads come with rainwater collection, desalinators, solar panels for electricity, and possibly compressed air energy storage (for nighttime use of stored electricity) but all of this and the house on top will be priced at a competitive cost with the modern US housing market.
Finally, in addition to the self-sufficiency that ArkPads will provide, in addition to the stability, freedom, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of this design, it will also be not only able to link together with other ArkPads (of the same type) but be able to share resources with the community. This opens up further resource flexibility. If one neighbor is low on water, and another one has extra, that extra water can be pumped to their neighbor’s house for a price. Some people could forgo solar panels in exchange for more deck space and simply buy electricity from their neighbors, or some could get their electricity from an OTEC system and their water from other neighbors with desalinators and not have to invest in any of that equipment themselves, thus lowering their own cost to move into a floating community. With resource sharing, we open the doors to true floating cities in which economies of scale can take over utilities and bring a lower cost of living to the whole community. With later models of the ArkPad, we may find ways to connect it to other types of seasteads as well.
The ArkPad will be one of the most flexible, most affordable, most durable, and most interoperable seastead designs in the world. The future of seasteading is on its way.