Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Health and Wellbeing

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

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) - a breakthrough in brain science

February 13, 2006 Everyone knows about brain scanning, but most of us have never heard of a new technology called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Non invasive and painless, it can temporarily inactivate an area of the human brain to let brain scientists study the effect. Twenty years ago we began the scientific dream of peering into the human brain while it is working. Brain scanning devices such as fMRI and PET scans can pinpoint precisely which brain regions are active as people respond to stimuli (including brands and advertisements) or as they go about making decisions (including brand choices). It is fascinating to see just what areas of the brain light up in response to a stimulus or a particular decision task but still we have to ask, what exactly can we conclude from this? Because an area of the brain lights up doesn’t mean that it is causal in that behaviour or decision. After all, ice cream sales correlate with drownings but they don’t cause them. You cannot conclude causality from correlation because there is no way of knowing if some other, unaccounted-for variable (like weather) may be involved. To sort out causality you need to be able to do experimentation.  Read More

Drug-Free Solution from for insomnia sufferers

February 12, 2006 Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. Many of these people do not seek help for their sleep problems, while others rely on medications to help them sleep. Unfortunately, most of these approaches are not long-term solutions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a State-of-the-Science statement concluding that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective long-term treatments for chronic insomnia. In the past, insomnia sufferers have not had the option of behavioral therapy in the comfort of their homes. A new product called SleepKey is designed to bridge this gap by delivering CBT as a self-help modality.  Read More

The programmable vibrator for long-distance lovers

February 9, 2006 Je Joue is the world's first programmable vibrator - a non-penetrative vibrator controlled by digital files called Grooves, which instruct its soft massage pad to move in an infinitely variable number of patterns, creating a foreplay-like experience. Accordingly, long-distance lovers can now email their partners a sensual Valentine's Day treat - their own personal 'pleasure programme'. During the development process of JeJoue, the product was tested by 150 women – 90% said they would buy one, 75% said it was better than any other toy, and 24% said it was better than their partner.  Read More

Potential HIV-AIDS cure - drug found to kill multiple HIV strains

February 9, 2006 Vanderbilt University, Brigham Young University and Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals have announced that one of a family of compounds, called Ceragenins (or CSAs) shows potent virucidal activity in in vitro laboratory tests against multiple strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. CSAs were invented by Dr. Paul D. Savage of Brigham Young University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and exclusively licensed to Ceragenix. In data previously presented by Dr. Savage and other researchers, CSAs have been shown to have broad spectrum antibacterial activity. Dr. Derya Unutmaz, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tested several CSAs in his laboratory for their ability to kill HIV directly and whilst cautious, acknowledged that CSAs could be the breakthrough technology to combat HIV/AIDS researchers the world has been waiting for.  Read More

New Invention “Powers” TVs with exercise.

January 31, 2006 We’re not sure if this is a good idea, or akin to signing up for a tour of duty with a society of flagellant monks. The EnterTrainer Cardio-TV-Trainer is a wireless device that converts any exercise machine and TV, video game or stereo into an interactive workout system. The EnterTrainer combines a wireless heart monitor and a universal remote control and maintains the correct volume for the device you wish to watch/play/listen to when your heart is working in the target zone you have set. Too low or too high and the volume is lowered until you get your heart pumping in the right zone again. At US99 it’s not all that expensive compared to most wrist-worn heart rate monitors but then again, they can be used to monitor your heart rate anywhere whereas this is location-specific. For some people, the Entertrainer will be very useful, but most will probably find it a little one-dimensional and we figure it’ll get used for a while and unhooked so you can use the game console, telly or stereo in its normal mode … and maybe never get hooked up again. The company is also set to release an “iTrainer” Cardio Training Headphones for use with iPods. In our mind, the idea behind compelling and usable exer-tainment devices is to enrol and reward the participant, not to punish. But if you have an overweight child who watches too much telly, it might be ideal. See what we mean … oh no, not another wicked thought.  Read More

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