December 7, 2006 Stride Rite
, the leading US children's footwear retailer and manufacturer, has begun a trial to evaluate a 3D foot gauge, a system designed to produce highly accurate foot measurements. Foot gauges were installed in three Stride Rite stores in the Boston area earlier this month following the signing of an evaluation contract with UK company QinetiQ
. Stride Rite has been making shoes in the US for over 85 years and operates a nationwide chain of nearly 450 stores. Last year we previewed Intellifit
, an ingenious measurment system for clothing that could revolutionise the global clothing market. The 3D foot gauge could have similar long-term effects on the footwear market.
December 7, 2006 The University of Portsmouth
has opened a UKP4.85million high-tech teaching facility with computerised mannequins to train the health-related scientist of tomorrow. The new facility - called the ExPERT Centre (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning) - features state of the art mannequins in two fully-kitted out simulation suites (operating theatre and hospital ward). The life-like mannequins - or human patient simulators - have computerised sensors that react to any treatment students apply.
December 5, 2006 A new "antimicrobial paint" developed at MIT can kill influenza viruses that land on surfaces coated with it, potentially offering a new weapon in the battle against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands a of people every year. Clearly, the new substance, could be applied to doorknobs or other surfaces where germs tend to accumulate, significantly aiding the fight against the spread of the flu.
December 4, 2006 World renowned chef Alain Ducasse
runs three gourmet restaurants: Plaza Athénée Restaurant in Paris, Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Essex House in New York and the famous Louis XV restaurant in Monaco. But this week the French master chef took his meals to an extraordinary new location when his meals were served to the astronauts living on board the International Space Station. Ducasse teamed up with ESA and the French National Centre for Space Studies, CNES, to create special gourmet food that could be used for celebratory meals in space, such as New Year, birthdays and the arrival of a new crew. Thirteen different recipes were available to the resident Expedition 14 crew, with dishes including typical Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, aubergine, quails, red tuna and swordfish.
December 4, 2006 Researchers at the German Institute for Condom Consultancy plan to launch a spray-on condom
– the Institute is currently conducting tests on a spray can into which the man inserts his penis which is then sprayed with latex from nozzles on all sides. The plan is to make the product ready for use in about five seconds and offer a more effective contraceptive that fits better than standard one-size fits all condoms and hence does not slip. Pre-market trials are underway to demonstrate the new latex condom is evenly spread when sprayed and to optimise the vulcanization process. The company is seeking Condom Testers
with a penis length from 9 to 12 cm and 15 to 20 cm. Men between 13 to 14 cm are apparently welcome too, so we presume there must be some other qualification ‘cos that includes just about everyone. We could think of worse jobs, and if any Gizmag readers get the gig, please don’t forget to send us your business card. Video (in German) here
November 21, 2006 When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go – particularly when you’ve had a bellyful of alcohol. Given that using alcohol to great excess is a modern rite of passage and deeply rooted tradition of most societies, and that more of it gets consumed in nightlife districts, such precincts are often an ugly sight the next morning, with urine, vomit and the occasional sleeping body often found in public places. Most modern cities have developed a night time economy which is positive for a city. On the other hand, one of the top three concerns resulting from a lively night time economy is related to street urination. More public toilets might meet the needs of the nightlife but they’re an eyesore for the residents, so the latest in high tech toilets
might be the ideal solution. In an effort to handle its night time public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing urinals that disappear below street level during the day according to John Chow
. The urinals are not new, having been introduced in Europe in 2000, but they are novel, disappearing during the day and popping out of the ground in the evening to meet the needs of the nocturnal. There are two variants of the now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t toilet, with and without privacy and a third which looks the same as the disappearing toilet but doesn’t disappear. Fortuitously, the Urilift is designed so that the punters can’t ride up and down in them or lock their friends inside for a laugh or anything other than just normal toilet business. Good idea though, as the design can also be used for regular temporary situations such as catering to the once-a-week needs of a crowded local market. Distributors can be found in all key Northern European markets but there’s an opportunity in almost all other areas - enquiries here
November 21, 2006 The day you are born, your birth certificate carries a detailed genetic profile showing your predisposition to allergies and certain diseases, your health risks and information useful to minimise your chances of falling sick. With all this information so early on, you and your health professional can take steps to minimise the effects of disease, before age-related illnesses begin to develop 60 years on. In the meantime, if you do fall sick, doctors can better diagnose and tailor treatment and drugs to your exact genetic profile, with a greater chance of success. The coming era of genetic medicine promises a revolution in health care, yet major obstacles remain, not least the complexity of extrapolating clinical practice from organic molecules. The INFOBIOMED team hopes to link biological and medical informatics in a bid to make genetic medicine a reality.
November 12, 2006 The discovery of unexpected magnetic interactions between ultrasmall specks of rust is leading scientists at Rice University
's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN)
to develop a revolutionary, low-cost technology for cleaning arsenic from drinking water. The technology holds promise for millions of people in India, Bangladesh and other developing countries where thousands of cases of arsenic poisoning each year are linked to poisoned wells.
November 12, 2006 Hospital clinicians know that the worst time to find out a defibrillator isn't working is during a cardiac arrest event. Which is why resuscitation device manufacturer ZOLL
will be introducing its new R Series defibrillator for hospitals at the 2006 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in Chicago today. The R Series extends testing beyond shock delivery and checks more than 40 measures of readiness, including the presence of the correct cables and electrodes, the type of electrode, and other important electronics, such as verifying the condition and expiration date of the electrode set. A simple green checkmark indicates that the R Series is fully ready for use. There's lots more to commend the R Series, but when a device is as mission-critical as a defibrillator, we like the idea that it's ready-to-go!
November 8, 2006 Whatever your opinion of head lice, it must be said that they are fair creatures as they do not discriminate by race, religion, gender or social status. Each year, somewhere between 6 million and 12 million Americans are infested with head lice, making children miss 12 million to 24 million school days, as lice have developed resistance to many of the currently used insecticide shampoos. Now biologists have invented a chemical-free, hairdryer-like device they have dubbed the LouseBuster which eradicates head lice infestations on children without the use of chemicals. A study published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics "shows our invention has considerable promise for curing head lice," says Dale Clayton, the University of Utah biology professor who led the research and co-invented the machine.