Messages announced over train station loudspeakers are notorious for being unintelligible. It can also be difficult to understand announcements made in airports, at conferences, or in any number of other busy public spaces. Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology is trying to do something about it, however. It's developed new audio-enhancement software, which might even find use in smartphones.
Homescreen Media of Australia has introduced a fire-resistant bag called the Hovervault, to help prevent property damage from battery fires that might occur during the charging, transporting and storing of hoverboards. Made of fiberglass composite materials, the Hovervault is designed to contain a fire in the event of a malfunctioning hoverboard battery.
Austrian startup Fontus is developing a novel water bottle that is vaporware in just about every sense of the phrase. Not only does it not yet exist in the marketplace, but it is claimed to literally pull water vapor out of the air to fill itself.
Anyone who's dealing with the current snowstorm in the US will know that clearing snow is hard work and futile if there's another dump. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Chris Tuan may have put an end to the need to shovel snow, however. His conductive concrete simply melts any snow that lands.
The recently-released Jurni and G-RO suitcases are designed to make travelling easier. So too is the new Néit case, but it's also aimed at making life easier once you reach your destination. It can be both collapsed and hung in a wardrobe, so as not to take up too much storage space.
We're not sure it says great things about our society, but we've been seeing more and more casual bulletproof clothing in recent years. BulletSafe is working to become a key player in that market. In December 2014, it launched a Kickstarter for what it calls the "world's first bulletproof baseball cap." Just over a year later, it's turning its attention to a bulletproof T-shirt. If your company softball team happens to play in a free-fire zone, you know who to call for uniforms.
A little over a year ago, Pavegen's kinetic energy-harvesting tiles were installed at a soccer pitch in Rio. The movement of players across the tiles is used to generate electricity and power the pitch's floodlights. Now, a second such pitch has been created in Lagos, Nigeria.
Wheelchair users have had to live with the fact that stairs, sharp curbs and doorsteps either required assistance to maneuver, or made access to some locations impossible. The TopChair-S, however, is designed to change that. It's an electric wheelchair designed to safely maneuver over such obstacles, utilizing caterpillar-like tracks in addition to wheels for greater maneuverability and independence.
Remember when Google Street View only allowed you to explore streets? Since its launch in 2007, the service has been expanded to include things like coral reefs, hiking trails and the Amazon River. In its latest "off-road" adventure, however, Google Maps has thought smaller – it's used miniaturized Street View cameras to visually map a model railroad.
Suppose you had a tablet that only displayed one line of text at a time. It would be pretty frustrating, but it's a limitation that blind users of braille-displaying devices are faced with constantly. Thanks to new technology being developed at the University of Michigan, however, full-page refreshable braille tablets could soon be on their way.