2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Emergencies

A firefighting helmet that incorporates ultrasound and vibrational forehead pads could hel...

Firefighters can quite often find themselves in smoke-filled rooms, where it’s impossible to see more than a few inches in any direction. Not wanting those firefighters to run into walls, researchers at the University of Sheffield have created a prototype helmet that vibrates against the wearer’s forehead, letting them know the location of nearby obstacles.  Read More

A custom-fit Varstiff wrist brace could be applied and removed in seconds, yet remain rigi...

Items such as the traditional cervical collar, used by emergency medical technicians to immobilize the heads and necks of accident victims, may soon be getting some competition. Developed by Spanish research center Tecnalia, Varstiff is a textile material that is ordinarily soft and malleable, but that achieves a hardness equivalent to that of rigid plastic once a vacuum is applied.  Read More

Extra Fuel provides motorists with fuel to prevent stranding (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you live in the country or take long road trips, having the fuel light start flashing when you’re miles from anywhere can be a white-knuckle event. It’s tempting to carry a can of extra fuel in the boot for such emergencies, but gasoline is extremely flammable and vents off dangerous gases if it gets warm, so it’s not exactly a safe option. Extra Fuel is an alternative to conventional gasoline that will run any petrol engine, yet is safe to take along.  Read More

MIT's wearable mapping device

A number of research institutions are currently developing systems in which autonomous robots could be sent into places such as burning buildings, to create a map of the floor plan for use by waiting emergency response teams. Unfortunately, for now, we still have to rely on humans to perform that sort of dangerous reconnaissance work. New technology being developed by MIT, however, kind of splits the difference. It’s a wearable device that creates a digital map in real time, as the person who’s wearing it walks through a building.  Read More

The Tsunami Survival Pod is a watertight, crush-proof capsule designed to allow its users ...

Australian houseboat builder Matt Duncan was stunned when he saw footage of the Japanese tsunami on television. He was so taken aback, in fact, that he decided to do something to help people survive future tsunamis. The result is his Tsunami Survival Pod (TSP), and you can buy one of your own for AUS$8,500, or about US$8,900.  Read More

The SOS in a Box solar generator kit is designed with emergency and off-grid scenarios in ...

Sun Flare Systems is a Canadian company that has developed a solar-powered backup generator. Designed to provide power in cases of outage and disaster, the patent-pending SOS in a Box kit is basically a small, portable power plant that includes a backup generator, flexible high-efficiency solar panels, and a charge controller. Sun Flare says its solar generation package is the first FAA and Airline Approved generator of its kind.  Read More

The Signal crew surfs powder in roped 'Snurfer' fashion Photo: Erin Paul Hines

Part Swiss Army knife, part splitboard and part old school powder surfer, the Signal Snowboard Survivor Split snowboard is a one-of-a-kind, experimental board that equips you with all kinds of tools for the backcountry - it can cut wood, start a fire and shovel snow.  Read More

SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, is being developed to help put out fi...

If there's one thing that you don't want happening on board a ship, it's a fire. People on board burning ships can't simply run out onto the streets, as they hopefully could in the case of a structural fire, plus many people caught belowdecks don't have windows nearby to climb out of. Then, there's also the fact that crew members fighting such fires have to work in narrow, claustrophobic passageways, instead of wide-open roads. Given that fires are particularly possible on military ships, due to attacks by enemy forces, America's Naval Research Laboratory is now developing a special something to help fight fires at sea - it's called SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot.  Read More

Air Danshin's seismic isolation system airlifts homes to protect them during earthquakes

When you live in a country as seismically active as Japan, thinking about earthquakes (and tsunamis) probably occupies a good deal of your time. Inventor Shoichi Sakamoto took it a step further. He decided to do something about it and invented a technology, remarkably simple in concept, to protect homes from the devastating shaking - an airlift system capable of automatically raising and isolating the whole house until the temblor stops.  Read More

Airlite snowshoes inflate and keep you from sinking into snow

Trudging through knee- or thigh-deep snow is far more tiring - not to mention freezing - than walking on solid ground. If you find yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm without snowshoes, you could get into trouble quickly. Airlite inflatable snowshoes give you a lightweight emergency back-up, that lets you walk atop the snow and get out safe and sound.  Read More

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