Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 45

Our weekly round-up of thought-starters, opportunities & ideas...

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Water + Electricity = Hydra-Light

Whoever said water and electricity don't mix had clearly not crossed paths with Hydra-Light, the Australian specialist in lighting and charging products. The company has just launched a series of lanterns that are powered by water-activated hydracell energy cells that, when hydrated, instantly produce a steady flow of electric current.

Dunking the cells into (clean or dirty) water for 10 to 15 seconds can produce more than 100 hours of power for a lantern or a torch. This patent pending innovation has far reaching implications for users in developing countries, where the need for a convenient and consistent from of electricity remains.

Read more at goo.gl/mKTYC9

How can we shape a more sustainable energy future with simple consumer alternatives to single-use battery power?


High Flyer

Fancy a ride on an engine-less airplane? That is the proposition put forward by the team behind the Perlan Project, whose glider (Perlan II) seeks to ride "stratospheric mountain waves" -  wind currents that shoot straight up after hitting a mountain range. These currents are used to support the flight path in lieu of propulsion.

The team, led by NASA test pilot Einar Enevoldson and sponsored by Airbus, plan to trial the aircraft over Argentina's Patagonia region with ambitions to get to the edge of space (!). 

Read more at goo.gl/ZBvSoK

How could we better harness other natural sources of energy and momentum to replace conventional industrial power?


Smarty Pants

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Engineers at Vanderbilt University have unveiled a prototype for a powered undergarment that seeks to correct a wearer's posture and limit associated back pain - a condition estimated to cost $30 billion dollars a year to treat in the US, before lost productivity costs.

By using motion capture, force plates and electromyography, the team showed that the device reduced activity in the lower back extensor muscles by an average of 15 to 45 percent for each task test. They are now working on an idea to embed sensors into other attire and monitor physical stress in a broader extension of smart clothing. 

Read more at goo.gl/YwFMaJ

How could we integrate smart sensors into other everyday products to better track and pro-actively manage health and wellness?