A robber is cornered in a dead-end alley. He turns to face the police officer pursuing him, ready to fight. He pauses. The officer's left forearm is encased in ballistic nylon, and half a million volts arc menacingly between electrodes on his wrist. A green laser target lands on the robber's chest. He puts his hands up; it's a fight he can't win.
For police and corrections officers, preventing and defusing confrontations can save lives, and that's the premise behind the BodyGuard.
On a February night last year, Sean Monagle got the phone call he’d been waiting two months for: Some 100 urine samples from pregnant women were ready for his analysis. A technician delivered them to his dorm, and Monagle, then a senior at Johns Hopkins University, raced off to his lab. He knew this was his chance to test his potentially lifesaving invention.
One night in late 2009, Ming-Zher Poh and his roommate, Dan McDuff, asked some friends to sit in front of a laptop. Poh, an electrical- and medical-engineering graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was trying to transform the computer's webcam into a heart-rate monitor. He hoped that his software would allow doctors to check the vital signs of burn victims or babies without attaching uncomfortable clips, and that it would make it easier for adults to track their cardiovascular health over time.
Pad enables skiers and snowboarders to pull off tricks safely
By Ryan BradleyPosted 05.25.2011 at 10:00 am 0 Comments
Six years ago, Aaron Coret, a 20-year-old engineering student at the University of British Columbia and an aspiring pro snowboarder, launched from a 50-foot jump at Whistler Blackcomb. “I remember coming off the lip of the jump and dropping my shoulder too hard. Right then I knew that I had lost control,” he says. “The second I touched down, I lost feeling in my entire body. I slid 60 feet to the end of the landing and stared up at the sky, wondering what my life is going to be like now that everything had changed.”
Prosthetic hands typically come in three varieties: purely cosmetic models; hooks and other low-cost mechanical appendages that provide a limited range of motion; and electronic versions that better mimic natural hand movements yet can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Mark Stark’s prosthetic incorporates the best elements of each. Although its minimalist plastic assembly is nearly as light and inexpensive as a common steel hook, it looks and moves like a high-end electronic hand.
Chris Goggin doesn’t like the title “inventor,” despite the fact that nearly two dozen patents list him as one. He prefers “innovator.” Either way, the Wilmington, North Carolina, mechanical engineer and former product developer — his résumé includes military missile electronics, the George Foreman Spin Fryer, and fuel-tank mechanisms for the F-22 Raptor jet recognizes the need for a new device when he sees one. Two years ago, as more and more people began waking up with itchy, red welts on their body, he realized the world needed a cheap and effective way to detect bedbugs.
In the five years that Popular Science has run the Invention Awards, we’ve seen a lot of remarkable things come out of people’s garages. Some are designed to treat the sick or save the planet. Others are simply fun to play with. But no matter what the purpose, the brilliance of the inventions and the dedication of the individuals behind them are always inspiring.
Do you have an invention you KNOW will someday change the world? Have you been toiling for years in your basement, building prototype after prototype to PROVE that your idea works? If so, tell us about it! Enter the fifth annual PopSci Invention Awards.
We're looking for game-changing products that come from the passionate drive of independent inventors (rather than those born in the R&D labs of universities and corporations). PopSci editors will pick 10 inventions that best represent the spirit of homegrown ingenuity and solve real-world problems in a practical and innovative way. And we'll show them to our seven million readers in our June 2011 issue. Check out last year's amazing winners here, and find details for entry below.
Since 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has annually inducted an batch of men and women whose work promotes the progress of science, technology and the economy. Inventors are nominated by their peers and the public, and in turn chosen by a committee that includes representatives from national scientific and technical organizations. Past inductees include Robert M. Metcalfe, developer of Ethernet, and Emile Berliner, who invented microphone technology.