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Inflatable

— Space

NASA tests IRVE-3 inflatable heat shield in hypersonic flight

Legendary science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) scored another hit in the prediction department on Monday, July 23, 2012 when NASA tested an inflatable heat shield that he foresaw back in the 1980s. The test of the Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was launched by rocket into a suborbital trajectory from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA. The unmanned vehicle reached velocities of up to 7,600 mph (12,231 kph), yet was protected from atmospheric heating by the mushroom-shaped shield. Read More
— Automotive

Mercedes-Benz to introduce inflatable Beltbag seat-belt

We first saw Mercedes-Benz’s Beltbag in the company’s gadget-laden ESF2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle. Now the German automaker has announced the inflatable seat-belt strap is set to go into production and debut in an as yet unnamed luxury-class model. Mercedes is following in the footsteps of Ford, which introduced the first production inflatable seat-belts in the 2011 Explorer and now includes the technology in a number of models. Read More
— Space

NASA to test IRVE-3 inflatable reentry system

Your spacecraft is falling from the skies at an initial speed of Mach 25. Your reentry heat shield, that has to survive a 7,800 degrees Celsius (14,072° F) plasma shock, is a finely tuned hi-tech amalgam of refractory metals and carbides and reinforced carbon-carbon ablation materials. Care to replace your mighty heat shield with a balloon? Not likely! But that is exactly what NASA is considering. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Inflatable deep pressure vest gives you a hug, could help Autism sufferers

Autism sufferers can often experience high levels of anxiety caused by sensory overload. While some would-be solutions focus on removing this sensory stimulation and distraction (like the Study Nook) others aim at dealing with the stress caused. The Squease Vest is an inflatable vest which, it's claimed, can help to alleviate anxiety through deep body pressure. Read More
— Urban Transport

Giant plug for sealing off subway tunnels in a hurry

What’s the best way to plug a giant hole? Why with a giant plug, of course. That’s the thinking of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), which has created just such a giant plug to contain flooding or dangerous gases in mass transit tunnels. Measuring roughly 32 feet (9.7 m) long and with a diameter of 16 feet (4.9 m), the giant plug is an enormous inflatable cylinder that can be filled with air or water in minutes to quickly seal off a section of tunnel in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack. Read More
— Sports

One-of-a-kind inflatable snowboard from Signal Snowboards

In its Web series "Every Third Thursday," California-based snowboard company Signal Snowboards gets loose and creative in the shop and designs experimental one-offs that push the boundaries of what a snowboard is all about. Last month, the team made a surfboard-snowboard hybrid, and in the most recent installment, they created a snowboard that operates like a bike tire called "Air if you Dare." Read More
— Outdoors

The unique inflatable geodesic "Cave" tent provides stability and room to move

Camping can be fun but to be honest, tents are a pain. The romance of carrying your accommodations with you and the excitement of arriving at a new destination can both be swiftly tempered by reality. Erecting your tent using bent aluminum poles, bits of string, damp plastic sheeting and too few pegs becomes old very quickly. Add in pitch darkness and/or rain and the temptation to head for the nearest dodgy hotel can become irresistible. It doesn't have to be that way. Eight years ago two Stefan's from Germany had an idea for a better tent - and now it's here. Time to erect - 1 minute. Read More
— Robotics

Ant-Roach illustrates potential for inflatable robots

What weighs a little under 70 pounds, has six legs, and is full of air? No, it's not conjoined monkey triplets with gas - as you've doubtless already gathered from the picture, it's a walking inflatable robot known as Ant-Roach. Earning its name by looking like a cross between an anteater and a cockroach, the wonderfully-kooky beast is the creation of San Francisco-based engineering/design group Otherlab. Besides providing amusement, the device was built to showcase the high strength-to-weight ratios and carrying capacities that are possible with inflatable robots. Read More
— Architecture

The three-ingredient inflatable portable pavilion

This eye-catching pavilion is the result a collaboration between architectural firms Frentes and PAX.RQ, designed for this year's Mobilizarte Design Competition. Architects were given the challenge of creating a mobile cultural space that could be easily assembled, disassembled and transported for five years of use in ten different Brazilian cities. Comprised of three simple elements (scaffolding, prism towers and inflatable membrane) and transportable in two containers, the Mobile Cultural Mobilizarte takes five days to install and features an area size of 1,000 square meters (1,196 sq. yds.), expandable to 3,500 sq.m. (4,186 sq.yds.) – that's nearly as big as a football field. Read More
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