Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Health and Wellbeing

The World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle

May 6, 2006 Use it or lose it is the message for brainpower, so next time you see someone doing a crossword, just bear in mind that mental agility exercises of all forms are good for the brain and they’re exercising an important part of the brain. Now, the retailers of this crossword puzzle are claiming this to be the world’s largest crossword puzzle. We can’t verify that but we’ll suspend disbelief that the world’s largest can be just 2.1 metres by 2.1 metres (49 square feet) – yes, it’s still big, but, … shouldn’t the world’s biggest be bigger? It has 91,000 squares and 28,000 clues and even the clue book runs 104 pages. At AUD$59.95 (US$46), it’s probably the ideal present for a crossword nutter, or someone intent on staving off Alzheimers.  Read More

Personal chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector

April 26, 2006 It might be handy to have one of these in the cupboard for a rainy day – or a really smoggy day if the smog, heaven forbid, should ever contain chemical warfare agent. The ChemRAE is a portable chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector available as stand-alone or as a wireless component of the AreaRAE rapid deployment hazardous environment detection platform produced by RAE Systems  Read More

The four-wheel drive hybrid wheelchair

April 20, 2006 Technology is beginning to yield many new and wonderous devices to make life better, safer and more fun, but few can compare to the life-enhancement offered by a new wheelchair which offers mobility-impaired and aged people an unprecedented level of freedom. It is comfortable, all-terrain and safe - a four-wheel drive wheelchair with hybrid motor and electronic assistance system has the immense potential to enable the physically disabled live more independent lives, to enable Octagenarians to bushwalk, and paraplegics . The innovative system even checks pulse rate and blood values and calls for help in emergencies.  Read More

Imitating Nature’s Scaffolding -scientists create artificial fibres that act as templates ...

April 19, 2006 A team of researchers at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have successfully created artificial fibres with nanometer-sized features that can be used to grow cells and tissue structures. These ‘fibrous scaffolds’ have been imbued with features of the natural extracellular matrix, the ground substance in which cells are embedded and a vital component in the engineering of human tissues.  Read More

Eyeglasses with adaptive focus

April 15, 2006 The end is nigh for bifocals, and not a moment too soon. Optical scientists at the University of Arizona have developed new switchable, flat, liquid crystal diffractive eyeglass lenses that can adaptively change their focusing power. The new technology will open the way for a new generation of "smart" eyeglasses with built-in automatic focus. In the foreseeable future, with this technology, you won't change prescription eyeglasses but will have your eyes tested and the optician will dial in a new prescription into the specs you already own. Indeed, we can even see the possibility of geeks doing their own eye tests and creating superglasses designed to focus perfectly depending on what you’re looking at.  Read More

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

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