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Health and Wellbeing

Glasses with built-in hearing aid

April 11, 2006 A new and elegant hearing aid invisibly built into the arms of a pair of glasses will go on sale later this month in Holland. The Varibel hearing-glasses will offer hearing-impaired folk respite from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aid. In each leg of Varibel glasses frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. Tests have shown that the Varibel user can separate desired sounds from undesired background noise very effectively with the glasses’ technology, with the added bonus that natural sounds can still be heard.  Read More

StressEraser wins the Frost & Sullivan 2006 Technology Innovation Award

March 28, 2006 Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 Technology Innovation Award has been won by Helicor for developing the breakthrough StressEraser device technology we wrote up last August. Intended for use by licensed psychological and psychiatric health care professionals, this handheld relaxation-training device is able to provide effective relief from chronic stress at the physiological, mental, and emotional level. Each year Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company (or individual) that has carried out new research; which has resulted in innovation(s) that have or are expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture. This award recognizes the quality and depth of a company’s research and development program as well as the vision and risk-taking that enabled it to undertake such an endeavor.  Read More

The world’s most advanced toothbrush

March 27, 2006 More than two thirds of the world population uses a toothbrush, with half those users replacing their toothbrush at least once annually. No wonder then that the global toothbrush market is worth US$5 billion annually and there’s a constant search for an edge which might garner a few percentage points. Market leader Oral-B has been pushing the boundaries recently with its disposable battery-operated “manual” Pulsar and now it has gone several steps better with electric toothbrushes by adding a microprocessor and a bunch of extra functionality. As such, being the first toothbrush with a microprocessor, the Oral-B Triumph is arguably the world’s most advanced toothbrush.  Read More

GEL-BOT system provides energy AND hydration during endurance sports

March 23, 2006 The GEL-BOT water bottle system for endurance athletes is clever. It’s a sports bottle that provides access to both water and energy gel in one container and is hence perfect for cycling, running, triathlon or any sport where peak performance requires extensive refuelling and hydration. Athletes worldwide agree on the effectiveness of energy gels, but the combination of cumbersome packaging and the immediate need for water makes them difficult to use during activity. With GEL-BOT, athletes can drink water and imbibe energy gel from one bottle. The gel is housed inside the ENERGY-CORE, a piston-like device attached to the water bottle cap that is filled with gel before activity. It’s just the thing to enhance the high-tech persona at the gym too! Amazingly, the same company produces an interesting waterbottle and coffee press combination, presumably for geeks and sports where you aren’t penalised for a high caffeine blood level.  Read More

Horseback Riding Machine for US market

March 22, 2006 Twelve months ago, we wrote up the Joba Horseriding machine and created a massive rod for our own back. You see, the incredibly clever machine (extensive article and images here), like so many products developed, refined and tested on the Japanese domestic market, was not available beyond Japan’s shores – and we got hundreds of emails asking where it could be purchased outside Japan. The good news is that the renamed and further developed Joba had its US commercial debut at the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association annual convention yesterday as the Panasonic Core Trainer. The Core Trainer maximizes the strength of the core body's abdominal, oblique and low back muscles while minimizing joint stress, impact and aerobic demand. The killer app though, is that it is best suited for those who normally hate strenuous physical exercise – the user just “rides” the Core Trainer and gets fit without actually having to do anything. The machine brings many core health benefits, with tests in Japan showing that users begin burning far more calories after just three months using the machine. Compared to walking or swimming, the riding machine causes less physical stress to knees and other parts of the lower body. Logically, the Core Trainer will quickly become an essential component of any fitness club or home gym.  Read More

The airbag jacket for motorcycling, horseriding and power sports.

March 17, 2006 Motorcyclists have long been the most vulnerable road users because they do not have an effective barrier between themselves and other objects in an accident. A flurry of activity in motorcycle protective gear could change things. Honda recently showed its first air-bag on a motorcycle and manufacturers are developing a cross between the airbag and a protective jacket designed to protect the motorcycle rider's neck and spine in the event of an accident. One of the first to market with the new design is Hit-Air which sells a range of jackets and vests featuring airbag technology designed to keep riders safe and comfortable in a wide range of driving and climatic conditions. The jackets are already in use by police departments in Brazil, Italy, Japan and Spain and appear to offer significantly greater protection than a normal jacket. The inflatable vests are finding application in many other potentially dangerous activities such as horseriding and power sports.  Read More

World's First Kitchen Garden Appliance – the self-watering, self-feeding, fully automated ...

March 12, 2006 The advantages of having a garden close at hand are numerous – salads are tastiest when fresh ingredients are used, and any chef will tell you that freshly picked herbs add something extra to any preparation. Which makes the AeroGarden particularly relevant to the millions of people who live in a city apartment and don’t have access to a garden plot. Billed as the world's first kitchen garden appliance, the AeroGarden allows anyone to conveniently and affordably grow herbs, lettuce, tomatoes and more, all year-round, on their kitchen countertop, without dirt, bugs, weeding or mess. The AeroGarden uses NASA-proven, high-yield aeroponic technology and built-in grow lights to create a self-watering, self-feeding, fully automated indoor garden that grows plants faster and healthier than plants grown in soil.  Read More

Multiquick all-in-one food preparation and preservation system

March 9, 2006 We’ve all seen those formulaic television adverts espousing the cleverness of a revolutionary kitchen utensil that slices, dices and numerous accessories that offer so much more functionality. Unfortunately, the in-yer-face marketing style has given many such a clever invention a jaundiced look. Indeed, we had to put our prejudices aside to look at this item because it is the epitome of a “do everything really well” with a “but wait there’s more” killer app thrown in as a kicker. So we’ll be succinct and straight. The Braun Multiquick Fresh System is based around a high-performance, variable-speed, 400 watt, hand processor that chops, whisks, slices and dices. The system also comes with a FreshWare container that can go from the oven, to the microwave, to the freezer. The killer app though, is that the processor has a vacuum attachment and when you slot it into the hole in the container you can use it to remove the excess air. So it’s both a food preparation system and a food preservation system that will enable you to safely store food up to three times longer plus a range of other benefits which make it a genuine winner. We can’t think of any reason, given the price, why every kitchen couldn’t justify one of these!  Read More

How to get significantly smarter within a week

March 8, 2006 Fifty years ago the methods of preparing for sporting contests were positively backward compared to the event-specific preparation of today which involves dietary, physical and mental conditioning. Compare almost any measurable aspect of any sport and you’ll see that human performance has improved out of sight. So it’s logical that if we apply the same principles to improving our training and diet to improve the mind, it’s only a matter of time before we get smarter. Tests conducted for a new BBC (UK) television program entitled Get Smarter in a Week suggest that by healthy eating, physical activity, sound sleep and stimulating your mind with mental exercises, (such as playing Sudoku, remembering telephone numbers and taking a shower with your eyes closed) we can all get smarter by up to 40 per cent within seven days, not to mention be more confident and have better decision-making skills.  Read More

Artificial limbs that walk naturally

March 2, 2006 German scientists have developed a new type of prosthetic foot that imitates the natural walking motion so convincingly that you have to take a second look to realize its user is wearing a prosthesis. The foot is purely mechanical and entirely without elaborate electronics.  Read More

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