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Pedal-powered

Aircraft

Gamera II team smashes previous best human-powered helicopter flight time

For over 30 years, the US$250,000 cash prize for the American Helicopter Society's Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition prize has looked decidedly secure, but Gamera II has changed all that. Last week, Clark School of Engineering team pilots came so close to breaking one of the competition's major milestones that they could virtually smell it. Ph.D. candidate from Kyle Gluesenkamp from the School's mechanical engineering department, hand-cranking and pedaling like his life depended on it, managed to keep the huge quad-rotor craft aloft for 50 seconds, an impressive new world record that's currently awaiting validation by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA).Read More

Aircraft

Maryland team readies Gamera II for next human-powered helicopter record

Last July, the frantic pumping of upper and lower limbs of intrepid pilot Judy Wexler managed to keep the huge Gamera human-powered helicopter in the air for a record-breaking 11.4 seconds. The student team from the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland's Department of Aerospace Engineering has since been busy refining and redesigning the craft for another stab at the elusive US$250,000 American Helicopter Society's Sikorsky Prize. Gamera II has been built for longer flight duration and is lighter and tougher than its predecessor, with improved transmission and enhanced rotor design. The new x-shaped craft is set to take off next week for its first test runs and the team is confident that existing record times will be smashed... but will it nab the ultimate prize?Read More

Marine

One-of-a-kind pedal-powered "super sea kayak" can be yours for $84,000

Canadian adventurer Greg Kolodziejzyk is certainly no slouch ... among other things, he has set the 24-hour endurance records for riding human-powered vehicles on both land and water. In 2010, he announced his plan to pedal an offshore-capable custom-built boat from British Columbia to Hawaii. After a series of open-water trials, however, he decided against the 3,000-mile (4,828-km) endeavor. The boat, called WiTHiN, is nonetheless quite the feat of engineering – and it's now up for sale, should you have the cash.Read More

Electronics

Charge your phone using pedal power with the K-TOR Power Box

K-TOR has added a new portable charging device to its lineup. The new Power Box puts your legs to work toward converting kinetic energy to electricity. Use it enough and you might just get your weekly workout. It is quite simply a pedal-powered generator equipped with a dual-pronged outlet so that you can plug in an AC adapter and charge your device directly from your leg power. The box works for devices rated 20W and below, including low-power netbooks, tablets, smartphones, video devices and portable game systems. Read More

Aircraft

Human-powered Gamera helicopter hovers its way into the record books

A biology student has just hovered her way into the record books in a four-rotor, human-powered helicopter named after a giant flying turtle from Japanese kaiju movies. Gamera was built to try and claim the American Helicopter Society's Sikorsky Prize, that was set up in 1980 and has yet to be claimed. The team's first flights in May resulted in a 4.2-second U.S. national record, and now the record page has had to be rewritten again after the young pilot's frantic combination of hand and foot pedaling action kept Gamera in the air for nearly three times longer, during the recent summer flight sessions.Read More

Marine

Yogakayak takes a new position on kayaking

Inexpensive sit-on-top kayaks are great fun for the beach and the lake, although many people maintain that the conventional legs-in-front kayaking position is hard on the back. Not only is a kneeling position said to be healthier, but proponents of the C1 style of whitewater paddling (in which the paddler kneels in a specialized whitewater kayak) also state that it allows for better control of the boat. With these claims in mind, Quebec City inventor Pierre Parant created the Yogakayak. Read More

Around The Home

The R2B2 pedal-powered kitchen appliance concept

Christoph Thetard has developed a mechanical flywheel drive to power a set of kitchen appliances for his Diploma in Product Design at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. The kitchen machine, coffee grinder and hand blender chosen for this device would under normal circumstances need to be plugged into an electrical wall socket, but there's no electricity needed for R2B2. Pumping the pedal spins the flywheel, which in turn provides the energy needed to operate the three cooking aids.Read More

Urban Transport

smart ebike with 4-level electric boost and regenerative braking

If you were wondering about the other two-wheeled vehicle pictured with the smart e-scooter at the Paris Motor Show, then read on. The company has also announced a pedal-powered bicycle with electric assist named e-bike which shares regenerative braking technology and similar smartphone integration with its cousin. When the e-bike reaches a certain speed, the hub motor cuts out and the bike is driven by leg-work only.Read More

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