Aug 282011

“I still feel like a kid,” says American scientist Doug Selsam. The 52-year-old sees the world with the eyes of a five-year-old and this childlikeness helps him ideate in uncommon ways. He came up with a revolutionary design of a wind turbine, after mulling hard over one question: “If Mother Nature grew a wind turbine, how would it look?” Consisting of multiple rotors fixed on a long shaft, it twists and turns in turbulent conditions and gives onlookers the sense of watching a flying serpent.

In fact, Selsam’s invention has been dubbed ‘Sky Serpent – Flying Wind Turbine’ and it will be featured in “Innovation Nation (on September 1, 8.30 p.m.) on Discovery Science.

Guided by this design, Selsam has created turbine models of varying sizes and the smaller ones — some of which can be handheld and operated — are out to prove that humungous wind turbines can be discarded in applications that require small amounts of electricity.

Selsam’s designs have been lapped up by homeowners and captains of small businesses and this response has encouraged the Californian to move in the direction of mass-marketing his turbines. On various scientific forums, he has demonstrated the effectiveness of the smaller turbines to harvest sufficient electricity for simple applications such as outdoor lighting. The versatility of the design also enables it to address greater power requirements. Huge turbines consisting of rotors with a seven-foot diameter are proof of this.

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