WNPR

On ICE: Intriguing Inventions to Make Life Better

Jun 16, 2015

Rich Hanley and I love to meet regularly so that we can let you know about interesting ideas and inventions we've been researching. Here's a list of some of the many interesting inventions we've found:

  1. The president of North American Business Strategy at Toyota says the company is all-in on hydrogen-powered cars. So are Tesla, Honda, Daimler, and General Motors. California, Japan and Germany are quickly building networks of hydrogen fueling stations in their regions. This is surprising since many assumed car-makers were backing away in favor of electric vehicles. Even President Obama's Energy Secretary said he didn't believe hydrogen was the future and slashed funding for it. (It was George W. Bush who said during his presidency that hydrogen is the future.) Stay tuned on this subject and watch your local car showrooms.
  2. At Cool Things we learned that Alpine Stars is making inflatable safety vests for people who drive motorcycles. The vest is said to sense danger and inflate seconds before a crash, protecting the chest and abdominal area. Don't forget to wear a helmet, though, since head injuries in motorcycle crashes often leave drivers mentally and physically impaired lifelong, if they survive the crashes.
  3. Poor posture? The company Lumo created a chip the size of your thumb to be clipped on your shirt; it analyzes neck and spinal positions and buzzes when you're in the wrong position.
  4. PillPack Inc. is making packets that contain all your medicine for each day. They hope to create a national service for pharmacies nationwide.
  5. Some experts say the planet is at its peak for numbers of cars, so commuting systems are becoming very important worldwide. Superpedestrian, located in Cambridge, Mass., is selling what it calls a Copenhagen Wheel to make bike commuting easier, especially in hilly cities. The standard-sized wheel has a battery-powered rechargeable motor that attaches to the back of your bike. The company says it raised a great deal of its funding from crowd-sourcing sites online.
  6. There is a nice-looking digitally smart air conditioner that pays attention to where you are and starts itself when you're headed home, saving on energy bills, according to the company, Quirky. Quirky is reportedly backed by G. E. 
  7. I held the free-throw record on my school basketball team, yet I couldn't hit the basket now, I'm sorry to say, if my life depended on it! But if you take your basketball seriously does, there is a high tech basketball that trains you to be better, patterned on what the pros use. It sells for around $200 at 94fifty.com.
  8. When two moms searched for inspiring female action figures for their daughters, they found none. (Barbie was their only choice.) They formed a company making action figures that portray women and girls as heroes, especially motivated by valuable character traits. Available online at I Am Elemental.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

GUEST:

  • Rich Hanley – professor of journalism, Quinnipiac University

MUSIC:

  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “Modul 15,” Nik Bärtsch's Ronin
  • “News from Verona Pt. 2,” Portico Quartet
  • “Central Nervous Piston,” El Ten Eleven

Lori Mack and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show.