Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Mobility

A simple concept, the Flex Leg props your injured leg for more natural movement (Photo: Fl...

Sometimes the most advanced innovations are rooted in the simplest questions. In this case, the question was, "If we can help a person with no legs to run, why can’t we help a person with an injured leg to walk?" The answer was the Flex Leg.  Read More

Flashing arrows displayed on the road indicate the vehicle's future path

Amongst the modern furniture and “design-art” on display at this year’s Design Miami/ international design show visitors were also treated to the Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) vision for the future of urban mobility. Dubbed “Urban Future,” the international architectural firm’s installation, created with the cooperation of Audi, provided a glimpse of how its concept for the city street of the future that networks with vehicles and pedestrians might actually work.  Read More

Maj. Brian Egloff puts a sock on an 8-year-old Afghan boy to aid the fitting of the protot...

While we’ve covered many developments in the field of prosthetics, such high-tech advances are beyond the reach of those in the developing world where the rates of amputation due to war are highest. Now U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Afghanistan have developed a simple prototype prosthetic leg that can be constructed using local resources to allow the victims of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and land mines to get back on their feet quickly and cheaply.  Read More

The Re-Step system can help improve the wearer's mobility

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, making it more difficult for older people to walk will actually improve their mobility. Walking on unpredictable and uneven surfaces can improve balance and help reduce risk of falling. Working on this principle, researchers at Glasgow's University of Strathclyde in collaboration with Israeli medical products company Step of Mind Ltd. (SoM) have developed an innovative training shoe based on this principle called Re-Step that incorporates four motors on the bottom of each shoe to make it more difficult for the wearer to walk, therefore helping in rehabilitation from movement disorders such as those that result from stroke or brain trauma.  Read More

The no longer wheelchair-bound Hayden Allen puts REX through its paces

Seemingly simple things like talking to people at eye level and reaching things on shelves can be a huge drawback for those in wheelchairs. Sitting in a wheelchair for extended periods can also lead to the increased risk of certain infections and blood circulation problems. A robotic exoskeleton called REX puts wheelchair users back on their feet, enabling a person to stand, walk and go up and down stairs and slopes.  Read More

Peter Treadway sees the future of personal mobility as a motorized attachment to existing ...

Journeys from home to the nearest bus stop, train station or news stand may well prove too far for walking, but not really far enough to justify the expense of getting in the car. For those in-between journeys, you need a lightweight personal transport solution. Maybe something like the Treadway Mobility which has been entered into this year's James Dyson Awards competition. Designed to strap over existing footwear or to step into, the wearable motorized shoes could just be geeky enough for tech fans and cool enough for thrill-seeking teenagers. But not just yet.  Read More

Honda's Bodyweight Support Assist selected for NY innovation exhibition

Some of you may recall our piece on Honda's Body Support Assist prototype last year. As a quick update to that story, those of you in the New York area will get a chance to see it in person as a part of the "Why Design Now?" exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution.  Read More

HULC robotic exoskeleton to get fuel-cell Power Supply

HULC, the Lockheed Martin (LM) powered robotic exoskeleton is being extended in its range to support 72+ hour extended missions. LM is working with Protonex Technology Corporation to evaluate and develop fuel cell-based power solutions that can be carried by the HULC, while at the same time powering the exoskeleton and the soldier’s mission equipment during extended dismounted operations.  Read More

Older drivers - Safe or unsafe?

The world's population is aging rapidly, with implications in numerous areas, not the least of which is that the number of male drivers over the age of 70 will double in the next 20 years, and the number of female drivers over 70 will treble. Does this pose a greater risk on the roads? A new in-depth report released today by the UK's IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists contradicts the common assumption that older drivers are a danger on the roads, comprehensively proving that drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are indeed, considerably safer than younger drivers.  Read More

200 smart fortwo cars are on the streets of Austin as part of the car2go car sharing progr...

car2go, the innovative car sharing program first seen in Ulm, Germany, has launched in Austin, Texas. A joint partnership between the City of Austin and Daimler will initially see 200 smart fortwo vehicles made available 24/7 within the city to a select group of city employees and their relatives, with plans to increase the number of cars and make them accessible to all Austin residents and students in early 2010.  Read More

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