Space trains. Flying monkey robots. Biomechanical cars that consume food and repair themselves (a literal muscle car, as it were).
All those things are closer to real life than you’d expect, thanks to Imaginactive.
The brainchild of ideator Charles Bombardier, Imaginactive is a a nonprofit organization that showcases futuristic vehicle concepts. New rides are debuted weekly on the org’s website, many of them collaborations between Bombardier and a team of industrial designers and inventors from around the globe.
“I wanted to ‘see’ my ideas, so I hired one designer to convert my idea into an image,” says Bombardier. “After I did a few of them, I got so hooked that I couldn’t stop, so I started publishing those on a website to share it with friends.”
With a look toward the future, we asked the mechanical engineer for three of his favorite concept vehicles and ideas.
Think snowmobiling or ATV-ing from the comfort of home, sans pollution. “It’s a VR powersport stimulator,” says the inventor. “It would be cool to explore new worlds with it.”
Basically, it’s TSA’s Precheck via escalator and conveyor belt. “Airports could really use this to save time,” says Bombardier, who got the idea from his wife — she wanted to “improve the screening process using existing technologies and infrastructures.”
Recently profiled in Wired, this driverless motorcycle — inspired by Tron’s Light Cycle and seemingly similar to Bombardier's previous Mozeca design (see top photo) — would be “handy to commute daily in Montreal.” The enclosed bike would seat two people facing each other.
While none of the concepts have been completed with the Montreal designer’s direct involvement, a scale model of the Nunavik Arctic Express was built, as were prototypes of the extreme Segway-esque Surfbal, the Iruka outdoor motor and Wingsurf hovercraft.
“My goal is to inspire people, including tinkerers, designers, engineers and policy makers,” says Bombardier. "I would like to build a positive view of our future and encourage the next generation to talk about the world they want to live in. And by sharing my ideas openly I am also asking indirectly to consumers a primordial question: Are you interested in this idea? If a concept gets lots of attention, it helps to convince investors to finance a prototype. In a way, it’s a step before crowdfunding.”