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Compressed Air

Bontrager's TLR Flash Charger pump

Tubeless tires are pretty much standard on higher-end mountain bikes now, due to their lower weight and rolling resistance, along with their ability to contain sealant. However, they do have one drawback – you need to use a CO2 cartridge or an air compressor to put the things on. Bontrager has set out to change that, with its TLR Flash Charger pump.  Read More

Peugeot's Hybrid 208 2L demonstrator car complements a gasoline-air powertrain with weight...

A car that runs on air? Peugeot is working on it. The French automaker revealed its Hybrid Air technology last year and will showcase the 208 Hybrid 2L Demonstrator car at the Paris Motor Show next month. The latest iteration of the Hybrid Air design complements the gasoline-air powertrain with weight- and drag-cutting measures to offer fuel economy in the range of 117 mpg (2 L/100km), which is well above the 81 mpg (2.9 L/100km) it was quoting last year.  Read More

The prototype soft exosuit in action

Powered exoskeletons show great promise both for augmenting the abilities of able-bodied users, and for rehabilitating the disabled. That said, they also tend to be hard-bodied contraptions that don’t look particularly comfortable (or light) to wear. Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute recently demonstrated what they hope will be a more user-friendly alternative – a “soft exosuit.”  Read More

PSA Peugeot Citroen's Hybrid Air technology that combines an ICE with compressed air energ...

Various compressed air-powered vehicles – of both the two- and four-wheeled variety – have graced our pages over the years, but with a few exceptions, such as Volvo’s Air Motion Concept, major automotive manufacturers have generally shied away from such technology. PSA Peugeot Citroen is bucking this trend with its “Hybrid Air” powertrain that addresses the limited range of compressed air energy storage technology by combining it with a gasoline powered internal combustion engine (ICE). The company plans to have Hybrid Air powered vehicles on the road by 2016.  Read More

MDI compressed-air technology is being developed in India by Tata Motors (pictured is MDI'...

Cars that run on compressed air sound like a fantastic idea on paper, but bringing this technology to the masses has proven, well, a difficult road to travel. There's some positive news on the air-car front though - auto giant Tata Motors, which holds the license to develop Motor Development International's (MDI) air engine technology in India, has announced that it has completed the proof of the technical concept and demonstration phase of its air-car program and is now moving toward a market ready product.  Read More

Engineering student Brady Morton uses the winch device to ascend a tower

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory wants to find a better way for airmen to scale tall structures or rock faces, so it did what just about anyone seeking new ideas does these days – it held a contest. Its 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge saw teams from 17 universities and three service academies showing off their wall-scaling systems, earlier this month at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. One of the teams, from Utah’s Brigham Young University, devised an impressive system that was inspired directly by Batman’s grappling hook-shooting, power winch-equipped gun.  Read More

ADAPTRAC is a frame-mounted compressed air system that allows mountain bikers to change th...

Like a lot of other factors involved in mountain biking, setting the air pressure of the tires is a matter of compromise. Keep them too soft, and you can’t go as fast as you’d like on smooth stretches of the trail – keep them too hard, and they’ll just bounce off of roots and rocks instead of gripping them. As it stands, most bikers go for a “Jack of all trades, master of none” setting, that allows for some traction and some speed. The folks at ADAPTRAC, however, apparently think that such a compromise shouldn’t have to be made. Their new system allows riders to inflate or deflate their tires as conditions dictate, while they’re riding.  Read More

When the Restube inflates, the user holds onto it to keep afloat

Most anyone that can swim can handle a float across the pool without significant risk of drowning, but being out on a large, open body of water like the ocean or a lake brings dangers to even the surest swimmer. While a personal flotation device (PFD) is a simple solution that will keep you afloat, it can be restricting and cumbersome to wear, making it uncomfortable for athletic activities like surfing or kiteboarding. The Restube gives you some of the life-saving power of a traditional flotation device without the unwanted bulk and discomfort.  Read More

Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine

Anyone who appreciates the precision art of engine design ought to get a kick out of this offering from a Spanish engineer named Patelo. Starting with hunks of aluminum, bronze and stainless steel, he spent over 1200 hours designing, milling, turning and drilling what he claims is "probably" the world's smallest V12 engine. Powered by compressed air injection (0.1kg/sq cm), this little marvel boasts a total displacement of 12 cubic centimeters from its twelve 11.3 mm diameter pistons and works like a charm. Best of all, you can see it come together in the detailed video that follows.  Read More

Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as ...

A vehicle that runs on air. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but energy is still needed to compress the air and the losses that go hand-in-hand with converting energy still have to be taken into account, just as in fossil fuel-based propulsion systems. Pros and cons aside, we still haven't seen air powered transport make an impact in the race to find economic, environmentally-friendly ways to get from A to B. Industrial Design student Dean Benstead thinks that compressed air does have a role to play in the future transport mix, and he's designed a working air-powered motorcycle prototype with a view to exploring the viability of the platform.  Read More

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