Forty years ago, Drs. Fred Fisher and Fred Spiess of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography invented a special research station for studying how sound waves travel in rough seas. Called FLIP, the result was this motorless "instrument platform" that is towed to open sea, then partially filled with water so it jacknives into a vertical position. Dipping 300 feet down, the boat is more stable than ships that bob on top of waves, which has enabled important deep-sea research on "[t]he way water circulates, how storm waves are formed, how seismic waves move, how heat is exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the sound made underwater by marine animals."
The vessel goes from horizontal to vertical in just under a half hour, and as decks become bulkheads (or walls become floors) up to 16 crew memebers can go about their work using furnishings like sinks and tables that rotate with the change. Don't miss the site's animation, video, and even a project where kids can make their own model FLIP.
(Via the Daily Irrelevant.)