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Inventors and Remarkable People

May 7, 2005 Inflatable structures (aka airbeams) have developed rapidly in recent times, finding application in a variety of new engineering projects ranging from military tents in Iraq and Afghanistan to antennas in outer space. With necessity as the driving force, a team of engineers at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick forms the backbone of research into the technology. And the results have been spectacular - the technology has reduced the transportable weight of a tent by 66%, the transportable volume by 75% and the setup time by 50%. Read More
May 7, 2005 A new type of fibre-reinforced bendable concrete will be used for the first time in Michigan this summer. Developed by University of Michigan scientists, the new concrete looks like regular concrete, but is 500 times more resistant to cracking and 40 percent lighter in weight. Tiny fibres that comprise about 2 percent of the mixture's volume partly account for its performance. Also, the materials in the concrete itself are designed for maximum flexibility. Because of its long life, the Engineered Cement Composites (ECC) are expected to cost less in the long run, as well. Read More
UPDATED (NEW IMAGES) April 26, 2005 This Intelligent Waiting Room Chair is a seat for hospital, school and nursing home waiting rooms that folds down into a fully functional hospital bed when required - ideal for emergency situations and for areas where disaster may strike, the bed is, according to the judges of the Australian Design Awards who gave it a silver medal, "clever, simple, commercially viable, and integrates well into current systems." Most importantly, it was designed by a recent graduate who is now seeking to take the product to market. Read More
UPDATED April 26, 2005 (NEW IMAGES) Young designer Andy Wana has won the GOLD 2005 Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award, by reengineering the humble umbrella, creating a significantly different take on the umbrella than anything seen before. Wana’s design overcomes several of the design weaknesses of the traditional umbrella. ‘Lotus 23’ is a fully retractable umbrella, folding into a low profile handle. Built with flexible ribs that flow with the wind, it is more durable than conventional designs allowing it to withstand severe storms, provide increased shade and self clean meaning that it squeezes the water off before you enter a building. It’s also cheaper to manufacture. Read More
Yolk is a soft helmet designed to overcome the unfashionable image that helmets seem to have with the young-at-heart on the ski slopes of the world. ‘Yolk’ under regular use is flexible and conformable to the user’s head but when subjected to an impact it instantaneously forms a rigid shell dispersing and absorbing the energy . This is achieved utilising a semi- rigid liner and a Kevlar skin which is impregnated with a shear thickening fluid. ‘Yolk’ allows the user to plug in a two way radio, music player, or mobile phone to the integrated headphones and controls thereby creating a convenient and seamless transition. ‘Yolk’ can be fitted with of a choice of skins which can be stretched over the liner to match the user’s personal style. With similar safety standards across bike riding, inline skating, skateboarding, there are vast opportunities to develop different skins for these sports using the same liner. Read More
On April 19, 1965 Electronics Magazine published a paper by Gordon Moore in which he made a prediction about the semiconductor industry that has become the stuff of legend. Known as Moore’s Law, his prediction has enabled widespread proliferation of technology worldwide, and today has become shorthand for rapid technological change. That was forty years ago - Bill Gates was nine years old, Desktop PCs were still a long way off, and notebooks, PDAs and the internet had not been thought of. Moore predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would continue to double every year for the next decade. Although it was an observation rather than any attempt to formulate a scientific law, "Moore's Law" has proved remarkably accurate over the last 40 years. Read More
March 9, 2005 Mass media will celebrate its 400th birthday later this year when the newspaper, the first mass medium begins its fifth century of publication. The exact date of the first newspaper is not known, and was thought to have been during 1609 but recent evidence accepted by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) pinpoints the year in which Strasbourg's Johann Carolus began printing his handwritten newsletters as 1605. Though radio, television, and the internet have long threatened to usurp print's status as the primary mass medium, the fact remains that print still garners more than half of the world's advertising expenditure. Read More
November 3, 2004 Queensland inventor Mike Lewis has developed an impellor that uses the same principles as salmon, bath water and tornadoes, however his ground-breaking technology is revolutionising water sterilising and providing environmentally-friendly methods to clean up toxic damage. Mike's invention- Mixaerator- with the Twin Vortex Advantage (TVA) works using dual vortices, like the ones that occur when you pull the plug from the bath, or those found in the air currents of tornadoes. "Salmon use similar vortices to my machine. That's how they leap up water falls, their fins send out mini whirlpools that create immense force to push them up," Mike said. Read More
Just as the transistor and microelectronics transformed communications and human society in the 20th century, "light" transistors and microphotonics are about to revolutionise the way we communicate in the 21st century. We are on the verge of a new revolution in computing and communications thanks to the breakthrough advances by a Sydney based research team led by Professor Benjamin Eggleton. A Federation Fellow and Research Director of the CUDOS Centre for Ultra-high bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems, Professor Eggleton recently received the prestigious 2004 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year for his pioneering work in the field of optical physics and photonics. Optical fibres carry gigabytes of data across oceans and to our streets, hospitals, schools and businesses. Read More
Tim Berners-Lee took the disparate threads of the "Internet" and created the level playing field "World Wide Web", allowing browser based surfing of documents stored on servers all over the world for the first time... Read More
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