This week on WDD’s HotSpot:
- Third Eye Design is running a kickstarter campaign for HelSTAR, a wireless, helmet brake and turn signal system, designed to make riders more visible. Studies around the world share the same findings: the main reason motorcyclists get hit is because they aren’t seen, and they predominantly get hit from behind because motorcycle brake lights have a low placement, which means being approached by a car or truck while stopped in traffic is one of the most dangerous situations a rider can encounter. With HelSTAR, a secondary brake and turn signal is placed in the line of sight of following motorists. It uses state-of-the-art LEDs that tell motorists around you when you’re braking or turning—and really gets their attention. It installs easily on any motorcycle and any helmet. The chipset is fully programmable and simply updated to add features (like brake modulation).
- Force Impact Technologies has developed a mouthguard for athletes that provides a comprehensive approach to identify, document, and respond to potential head injuries in sporting activities. The FITGuard measures linear and angular acceleration, and then processes those inputs through a proprietary algorithm to determine the severity of an impact. It can be programmed with the user’s age, gender, and weight, to customize the risk thresholds for the wearer. If certain thresholds are breached, LEDs embedded in the front of the mouthguard illuminate to indicate when a user should be removed from play. The LEDs have a blue indication for a “medium” force impact and a red indication for a “severe” force impact, and they provide an instant, visual, indication to coaches and officials, that a player should be removed from the field. The FITGuard also uses Bluetooth technology to transmit impact data to a FIT smartphone application. After a severe impact, the FIT application prompts individuals to perform an Acute Concussion Evaluation (A.C.E.) for the player that has been removed for play.
- A team of researchers in Italy are expanding the reach of optical fiber sensors “to the hills” by embedding them in shallow trenches within slopes to detect and monitor both large landslides and slow slope movements. This new technology can detect small shifts in soil slopes, and thus can detect the onset of landslides. Usually, electrical sensors have been used for monitoring landslides, but these sensors are easily damaged. Optical fiber sensors are more robust, economical and sensitive. This is where the new technology could make a difference.
- Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory are developing a new system to help make health diagnostics a lot easier, more accurate, and considerably less invasive than blood screening. The patch uses paper microfluidics to wick sweat from the skin through a membrane that selects for a specific ion, such as sodium. Onboard circuitry calculates the ion concentration and sends the data to a smartphone. The electronics within the patch are externally powered, as in an RFID chip. The paper in the patch wicks sweat in a tree-root pattern, maximizing the collection area while minimizing the volume of paper. The researchers built a sodium sensor, voltage meter, communications antenna, microfluidics and a controller chip onto the patch that is externally powered by the smartphone.
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