Our friends down at the Shanghaiist reminded us of Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde's idea of creating a giant vacuum cleaner to suck Beijing's air clean that we reported on last October.

What we didn't know and learned (courtesy of an article in the Scientific American this week) is that such a contraption is not just a cockamamie idea – it is actually going to be installed in a park in Beijing some time this year. According to the Scientific American:

Roosegaarde, who uses technology to make big artistic statements about the environment, came up with the idea of using it to tackle the smog problem in Beijing, and he pitched it to then-Mayor Guo Jinlong last year. After a March trade meeting with Xi Jinping, China’s president, and two subsequent meetings with Beijing authorities – who have budgeted USD 2.4 billion to address the smog problem in various ways – Roosegaarde and ENS have agreed to install one of their smog-busting machines in a municipal park there sometime in the next year.

The machine will "resemble a medieval Chinese palace" with the added bonus of having laser beams shooting out of it – their invisibility demonstrating particle-free air to ogling onlookers (who hopefully will not be accidentally blinded in the process).

But before you get too excited, the nine-metric ton behemoth is only going to be able to clean "a dome-shaped area 30 meters in diameter to a height of about five meters". To put that in perspective, that's about 10% of the area of an average FIFA football pitch. Well ... it's a start?

Presumably it will go head-to-head with the idea posed by one architecture firm just to build giant bubbles over everything a la The Simpsons Movie.

Okay, now for the cockamamie part: Roosegaarde also wants to create diamond rings from the compressed smog particles, with each gem representing the pollution from one cubic kilometer of bad Beijing air. We can't think of a better way of saying "I love you" Beijing-style than a ring made of smog.

Those of you with VPNs can have a quick look at a more detailed rendering of one version of the device here.

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog