By Doug MahoneyPosted 06.03.2010 at 5:19 pm 3 Comments
The Trend: Multifunction power tools that combine the mechanisms of two or more pieces of equipment into one professional-grade item
Why Now? Contractors and ambitious DIYers want to do projects more efficiently. And in many cases, toolmakers are taking advantage of the zip and design flexibility offered by compact 12-volt lithium-ion batteries. With less weight and space devoted to the power source, there's room for what users want at the business end.
Each month we look beyond the shelves of your local big-box store to dig up a dozen of the best new ideas in gear. This is the stuff that is better, faster, stronger, and does more than pretty much anything we've seen before it. Click the gallery thumbnails below to dive in:
By Alessandra CalderinPosted 06.01.2010 at 3:45 pm 0 Comments
These acrylic rods make up the Seed Cathedral, the centerpiece of the U.K. Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. Encased at the tip of each 25-foot-long rod are seeds provided by China's Kunming Institute of Botany. Sixty-six feet tall and consisting of 60,000 rods, the structure took about four months to install at a rate of approximately 536 rods a day. The theme of the U.K.
By Patrick Albertson Posted 06.01.2010 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments
When the World Cup kicks off in South Africa this month, the 69,070 soccer fans inside the new Cape Town Stadium will scream at the top of their lungs to urge on their favorite team. But thanks to some clever engineering, the people living nearby will hear hardly a peep.
In a small, sparsely furnished room, a young boy in a black T-shirt backs himself into a corner. He's cautious. Cameras capture his movements, and microphones record every sound. But this doesn't intimidate him; he doesn't even seem aware that he's being observed. His mom, sitting nearby, is not the object of his focus either. Brian (his name has been changed here to protect his privacy) is autistic, and he's staring across the room at a two-wheeled, gray, humanoid robot with big, cartoonish eyes.
Check out today's featured Invention Award winner, the Mini Infuser, a disposable infusion drug pump that may one day replace today's often-unreliable IVs.
Injecting hospital patients with medications is fraught with difficulties—with nurses filling hundreds of orders daily, delays and miscalculations are inevitable and costly. Mark Banister recognized the financial rewards of a solution that his business partner estimates could save $1 billion annually, and set out to design a disposable infusion drug pump to improve on mistake-prone IVs and complex mechanical pumps. Now he's about to start the process of getting FDA approval on his Mini Infuser, a device that drastically reduces room for human error by using a polymer he created to deliver correct dosages.
Check out today's featured Invention Award winner, OneBreath, a portable ventilator that saves more lives for less cost.
Four years ago, when Matthew Callaghan was a surgery intern at the University of California at San Francisco, the medical world was buzzing over the prospect of a global flu pandemic. One of the biggest potential problems was logistical: Because 95 percent of the ventilators in the U.S.—which keep critically ill patients breathing when their respiratory system is unable to function—are already in use, thousands of patients would die for lack of available life support. Ventilators cost hospitals from $3,000 up to $40,000 for state-of-the-art models, making it impractical for most hospitals and clinics to stockpile them for emergencies.
Check out today's featured Invention Award winner, Zoggles, a device designed to prevent fogging.
Valerie Palfy was at a four-way intersection near her home in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with no traffic lights when her windshield fogged up. While rolling the windows down to see her way across, she had a flash of inspiration. Why not come up with a way to prevent fog altogether? Ten years later, she's the co-inventor of Zoggles, the first system that predicts and prevents fogging on any surface.
Tired of constantly readjusting your guitar strings? Check out today's featured Invention Award winner, EverTune, a bridge that keeps your instrument continually in tune.
In a small engineering studio in Bronxville, New York, Cosmos Lyles and Paul Dowd eagerly take turns at the dry-erase board, sketching out diagrams of springs, levers and tension curves. This may not seem very rock 'n' roll, but what they're creating will let the musicians on their current client list, including Slash and Rob Zombie's guitarist John 5, shred harder than ever: a bridge that keeps the instrument continuously in tune.
This summer, Noah's Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, opens the country's only looping waterslide. The Scorpion's Tail gives you the thrills of a roller coaster without having to strap to a track (or wear a shirt)—and it uses sophisticated engineering to keep you secure as you slip any which way.
Riders stick to the walls because the loop travels a tilted angle, not a straight-up-and-down line that could drop people on their heads. Then there's the computerized control system, exit hatch and host of sensors to make sure riders splash out intact.