American inventor Dean Kamen, who gave the world the Segway, is seeking a patent for an inflatable turbine with embedded LEDs running on wind power that could light up to display text or an image.
According to the patent, the inflatable wind turbine structure is made out of plastic fabric. They will be very light and easy to move around, meaning that they can be put on roofs that would otherwise be unable to support the weight of a wind turbine, or easily carried on trucks, to wherever the next hurricane or tornado is supposed to occur. Even positioned on electric cars the wind could power up the car. Currently wind turbines need ten times as much steel and concrete as a nuclear reactor to generate the same amount of power.
Previous inflatable wind turbines are designed to float at high altitudes to take advantage of faster wind speeds. But Kamen’s turbines would be more down-to-earth — mostly for use on top of buildings or on roadsides, Kamen said — so they can be used as advertising billboards. Powered by the turbine they’re embedded in, the lights could display content like images, messages, advertising, weather advisories and traffic delays.