Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Health and Wellbeing

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

Little Miss Muffett was right!

January 31, 2006 … and we all thought it was just a silly Fairy Tale but Little Miss Muffett’s “curds and whey” might have been just the thing for her to eat if she was about to take on a spider. Researchers at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate (AFRL/HE) have partnered with GNC Corporation to determine if a specialized form of whey protein — a pure, natural, high-quality protein derived from cow’s milk during the process of making cheese — can help warfighters stay strong and alert during fatigue-inducing missions. Whey protein is popular in the physical fitness world as a supplement to boost muscle growth. It contains essential amino acids that the human body needs on a daily basis. Whey protein also contains high concentrations of numerous amino acids, which tests show enhance the process of muscle protein synthesis and muscle building. In its purest form, as whey protein isolates, it contains little to no fat, lactose or cholesterol.  Read More

Innovative Hand-Held Insulin Device Effectively Controls Diabetes and Provides Reliable an...

January 28, 2006 Pfizer’s Exubera (insulin human [rDNA origin]) Inhalation Powder has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Exubera was found in clinical trials to be as effective as short-acting insulin injections, and to significantly improve blood sugar control when added to diabetes pills. Exubera, which is expected to be available for patients by mid-year, is the first inhaled form of insulin and the first insulin option in the United States that does not need to be administered by injection. Pfizer is naturally hailing the new drug form as a breakthrough.  Read More

FIRCLE: software for managing the family

January 25, 2006 Any business school will tell you that “failing to plan” equates to “planning to fail.” We wholeheartedly accept this in business and our understanding of the science of business has come further in the last three decades than it did in the previous three millennia thanks to the computer’s myriad gifts being multiplied by the global network; the ability to collaborate, access and share information and to measure, analyse and improve systems. So why don’t we use computers to measure and improve our family lives? We’ve previously written about personal life-coaching software named Life Balance and EasyChild’s behaviour modification software system designed to monitor, assess and encourage children to succeed in life. Now there’s a new system which incorporates some of both of these products and much more for computerising and managing the family – it’s called Fircle and it’s an internet-based system containing a shared family calendar, children’s allowance and chore management, family rules (set your own and set penalties for transgressions), a family address book, personal journals, family voting on topics of your choice, ToDo lists and so much more. So much in fact, that it scared us …  Read More

Boomers fuel growth of technology-based home healthcare solutions

January 21, 2006 The baby boomers are heading for senior citizenship and the most populous generation in history is about to give life to yet new markets. The news this week that giant Dutch technology company Philips has purchased 'personal emergency response' company Lifeline is an indication of the growing importance of technology-based home healthcare solutions as the boomers seek to prolong their independence. Lifeline has over 30 years' experience of monitoring seniors living independently at home and has a broad presence in the North American market with a turnover of US$150 million growing at 15%. In addition to the strong growth offered by the underlying market, the new business will draw on Philips' strengths in technology and innovation to create new products and services in an area it has been studying and developing for many years. These new offerings will have a clear consumer focus that differentiates them from 'traditional' healthcare services paid for by insurers. Longer term, Lifeline will serve as a platform for a broader array of home healthcare solutions, such as Motiva, Philips pioneering interactive healthcare system.  Read More

New product reduces discoloration of dark under-eye circles

January 20, 2006 The desire to look and feel your best is universal, but with the baby boomer generation now entering senior citizen status, it is flexing its purchasing power on products that promise to reduce wrinkles, plump the lips, and "turn back the hands of time," and the professional skin care market is forecast to remain one of the fastest-growing sectors of the cosmetics and toiletries industry for some time. Interestingly, even with all of the anti-aging beauty products on the market, there has been one problem area that has persisted until now - dark under-eye circles. Now there’s a product that claims to fade these dark circles by using a series of natural enzymes that break down the blood around the tender under-eye area. Over time, Hydroxatone Revive aids in preventing blood leakage as it helps to strengthen the weakened capillaries while simultaneously reducing wrinkles, resulting in noticeably younger looking eyes.  Read More

Gizmo of the Week: the US$44.40 wheelchair

January 19, 2006 It is estimated that there are more than 100 million people in the world who need a wheelchair but cannot afford one. Mechanical engineer Don Schoendorfer had a secure, highly-paid job when he decided he could make a difference during his short stay on the planet, forsaking his job and embarking on a quest to help all those people. Don’s goal is to distribute 20 million of the pictured wheelchairs by the year 2010. Don set up the Free Wheelchair Mission in California in 2001 as non-profit organization committed to providing the gift of mobility to the physically disabled poor in developing countries and has just manufactured its 100,000th wheelchair. The central seat is a plastic garden chair – the use of existing parts enables the wheelchair to be manufactured in China, shipped in knockdown form via container, assembled and delivered to needy people all over the world for a total factory-to-field price of US$44.40. The Free Wheelchair Mission creatively partners with like-minded international humanitarian and indigenous organizations and it also accepts donations. Just think how much difference US$44.40 can make to the life of one human being.  Read More

Personal cooling kits for extreme climatic conditions

January 2, 2006 The human body is a remarkable thing, as is evidenced by its ability to adapt to less than ideal conditions. The temperature in the cockpit of a Formula 1 racing car sometimes reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with the driver required to drive consistently within the 99th percentile of perfection for up to 90 minutes under this overwhelming heat stress whilst racing wheel-to-wheel, experiencing enormous G-forces and constantly processing large amounts of additional information. Now consider the equivalent stresses experienced by combat soldiers in Iraq. HMMWV crews in IRAQ are experiencing temperatures as much as 10 degrees more than this, for up to 12 hours at a time, while people are trying to kill them. The problem has been exacerbated in recent times by additional armour fitted to the HMMWV and has resulted in the rapid development of personal cooling kits. Each HMMWV cooling kit consists of four water-filled vests known as, Air Warrior Microclimatic Cooling Garments (MCGs). The vests fit over a soldier’s normal body armor and are connected via hoses to a vehicles’ on-board air conditioning system. One wonders if Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher might be able to squeese an extra tenth of a second here and there if they were fitted with such parephenalia.  Read More

Razorba - the shaver for backs!

December 13, 2005 Stand in front of the mirror when you get up tomorrow morning and you’ll notice more than a few reminders that man descended from the apes – an unhealthy disposition when threatened and a liberal sprinkling of hair are the most obvious. Males of the species range from growing hair on their heads to hair all over their body and personal grooming preferences often necessitate shaving some or all of this hair regularly. We’ve already covered the shaver designed specifically for shaving heads, and now there’s an equally ingenious shaving accessory for shaving your back – until now, everybody has had to employ the indulgence ofa friend to successfully shave their inaccessible regions. Now you need just slip their favourite razor into the Razorba and shave yourself. All of the alternatives have major drawbacks - chemicals (costs, needs volunteer, potential skin irritation), laser treatment (costs muchos, requires appointment), waxing (costs, hurts muchos) are the sum total of ways man has used technology to combat this age-old problem. So you can see why Razorba should be commended for a job well done!  Read More

New hangover cure could change the culture

December 9, 2005 The launch of a promising new hangover cure in Las Vegas next week marks an interesting time to reflect on man’s relationship with alcohol. Cheerz is a safe, natural nutrition supplement that has been clinically proven to combat hangover symptoms such as headaches and nausea by bolstering the body's ability to process acetaldehyde, alcohol's most toxic metabolite. The world per capita consumption of alcohol is higher than ever, having begun at the dawn of civilisation, with the Celts, Ancient Greeks, the Norse, Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans and Babylonians all producing, trading and consuming alcoholic drinks. The Romans and ancient Greeks both worshipped Gods of wine – Dionysus and Bacchus respectively. In different cultures, alcohol and its effects have been used medically, ritualistically and socially in many different ways to calm feuds, give courage in battle, seal pacts, celebrate festivals, and seduce lovers. The world has two billion alcohol drinkers of which 76.3 million have diagnosed alcohol use disorders. The global burden of alcohol consumption, is immense - causing 3.2% of deaths and 4.0% of the Disability-Adjusted Life Years lost along with widespread social, mental and emotional consequences. These are reflected, for example, as absenteeism or abuse in workplaces and in relationships. We attempted to estimate the number of hangovers and reduced productivity in the world each day and gave up – it’s a lot. Which all adds up to … bloody good idea! The vast majority are social drinkers who can now enjoy the desirable effects without the unhealthy toxicity. So if bartenders are going to ask customers to name their poison, maybe they should offer the antidote, too.  Read More

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