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   Undertoad  Tuesday Sep 30 01:10 PM

9/30/2003: A walk on the water

This is the Neva River in st. Petersburg, and they organized a "Walks on the River" event as part of celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.

That's all well and good, but the point is... I want one! Finally we get to be the hamsters in the little hamster ball!

Plus, we get to walk on the water, which ought to be a cool new way to get to work. Unfortunately one couldn't use it to get to work if work was upstream...

Bonus: it would be weather-resistant, as long as it didn't get a hole somewhere. Hmm, you'd have to carry a patch pack and not wear anything sharp.

bmgb  Tuesday Sep 30 01:17 PM

That's cool as hell. In New Zealand, they do that "zorbing" thing where they get in a big ball and roll down hills.

pdaoust  Tuesday Sep 30 01:23 PM

he couldn't escape...

the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was.... THE PRISONER!!! he's been caught again...

Elspode  Tuesday Sep 30 01:49 PM

One of my favorite shows from adolescence.

Beletseri  Tuesday Sep 30 02:26 PM

Yeah, how do you get out? Or air get in? And it sure looks like you would have to work really hard to get anywhere you wanted to go in any wind. I can see being tumbled to hell and back in a decent wind

Torrere  Tuesday Sep 30 03:57 PM

me want!

I think that that would be so incredibly fun.

Undertoad  Tuesday Sep 30 04:15 PM

Y'know, B, I think that's it, I think that would happen... and in fact now that I look at the pic more closely, this guy must be tied to something somewhere. He's holding on to a rope thingy with his right hand. So maybe you can't generate enough force to counteract the current...

dave  Tuesday Sep 30 04:35 PM

The biggest problem, I would think, would be the total lack of friction with which to move forward.

glatt  Tuesday Sep 30 04:45 PM

Neat picture.

I think Undetoad is right. I think the ball is attached to something. It looks like on the outside of the ball, there is a light line that goes from the dot diagonally down to the lower left.

Also, when I saw this thing, I immediately thought that it was a potential death trap. Because the ball is not rigid, the weight of the occupant pushing against the water surface is basically pressurizing the ball. If the ball is puntured, the air will escape, and the plastic skin will conform to the shape of the occupant, kind of like a sleeping bag. The occupant will be entagled, won't be able to swim, and will sink like a rock. The plastic skin would also then cover over the face, causing suffocation. A pretty scary way to go. I would hope anyone going into one of these things would have a sheathed diver's knife on thier belt to cut them out of the mess if it ever popped.

End of safety rant.

wolf  Tuesday Sep 30 08:17 PM

Re: he couldn't escape...

Originally posted by pdaoust
the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was.... THE PRISONER!!! he's been caught again...
Somebody beat me to it ...


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Sep 30 09:05 PM

He needs some tread/paddles to get anywhere.

BuckshotJones  Thursday Oct 2 09:44 PM

Possibly the plastic ball is formed with rigid plastic (a form of PVC possibly?). But then arises the question of a hole: can water get into the ball? How does air get in?

Probably ten years ago, I saw a TV program that showed some guys going over 10ft (3m) waterfalls inside these huge hamster balls. And it seemed to work pretty well. Does anyone remember that?

quzah  Friday Oct 3 04:46 PM

I believe he's holding on to the inner axes. Like an axel through the middle of the ball. Probably some form of rope. Like so:


The guys stands up, holding onto a rope of some sort which attaches to each of the smaller circles on each side of the wheel. This forms an axel which gives it an upright position.

If you look closely at the ball itself, it's segmented as a beach ball would be. Where normally a beachball has segments of different color with perhaps a white circle on the "top" and "bottom". In this case, the "top" and "bottom" are really the left and right side.

This keeps it level, him holding onto the ropes making up the axes, and gives him a "foreward" and "backwards" so he can move. He can likely also lean towards one of the "sides" to stear it sort of in that direction.

Since it is fairly smooth outside, I doubt it goes much of anywhere fast.

I'd venture a guess that he gets into the ball at one of the two "sides". They probably expand, or rather close, like a "Glad bag(TM)" would.


alien  Thursday Oct 9 09:10 AM


xoxoxoBruce  Monday Aug 14 11:42 PM

It seems it only three years to become popular in China. I'm thinking the "filled with oxygen" is a translating error.

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