Meet the inflatable, 'invisible' bike helmet
August 17th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

Meet the inflatable, 'invisible' bike helmet

By Doug Gross, CNN

Hey, cyclists! Want to look more stylish while riding and still avoid the inconvenience of a cracked skull?

Then a pair of Swedish designers have got just the helmet for you - provided you're willing to fork over about $600 and aren't afraid of looking a little like a deployed airbag when you fall.

The newly released Hovding (no, Americans, that's not a futon from Ikea) is billed as The Invisible Bicycle Helmet. Begun in 2005 as a project for a master's-level industrial design course,  the blow-up helmet is housed in a pouch that, when wrapped around your neck, looks a little like a puffed-up ski-jacket collar. FULL POST

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Filed under: Design • entrepreneurs • Fashion • Innovation • Science • Tech • Uncategorized
Could lasers solve the military's friendly-fire problem?
August 9th, 2012
04:03 PM ET

Could lasers solve the military's friendly-fire problem?

By Maria LaMagna, Special to CNN

(CNN) - A member of Tom Potendyk's unit in Desert Storm was killed by friendly fire. Keith Kellogg also experienced a blue-on-blue killing while he was serving in Panama during Operation Just Cause.

Now, the pair are executives at Cubic, a company that has developed a device that could significantly reduce military deaths caused by friendly fire. Called the DCID-TALON, or Dismounted Combat ID with Target Location & Navigation, the device incorporates laser technology to combat a lack of situational awareness, which is one of the most common causes of friendly fire deaths.

The DCID-TALON works when its user spots a target in his or her scope. The shooter aims the device, which sends an encoded message by laser beam. If the target is friendly, the message will reflect off of the target’s retroreflectors (they are the size of a postage stamp and can be embedded in the soldier’s helmet and uniform; each soldier would be outfitted with multiple retroreflectors), and the device will display the word “friend.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Military • Science • Tech
Video urges Singapore couples to make babies - like, now
August 7th, 2012
04:36 PM ET

Video urges Singapore couples to make babies - like, now

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - This week's over-the-top marketing campaign is a YouTube video from Mentos that hopes to convince Singaporeans to get busy. Like literally. It asks them to "make a little human that looks like you and me" and "make Singapore's birthrate spike" on National Day, a Singaporean holiday, which will be celebrated on Thursday.

"This August the 9th, it's time to do our civic duty," a deep-voiced man says in the video, produced by an ad agency on behalf of Mentos mints. "And I'm not talking about speeches, fireworks or parades." (Woman in the background: "But I like that stuff.") "I'm talking about the stuff after that stuff. I'm talking about making a baby, baby. You ready?"

Just watch the thing: FULL POST

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Filed under: Internet • Social change
August 6th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Meet 'Mohawk Guy,' star of the Mars landing

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Forget Rick Moranis glasses, starchy button-ups and pocket protectors.

Meet the new generation at NASA: Bobak Ferdowsi, better known as "Mohawk Guy." Ferdowsi was spotted wearing a red-and-black mohawk with yellow stars dyed on the sides of his head during the U.S. space agency's overnight landing of its Mars rover, "Curiosity."

The Internet quickly turned him into a meme, superimposing text like "The Mohawk That Landed a Rover on Mars" and "Becomes an Internet sensation ... Too busy landing a robot on Mars to notice" over his images.

In case you'd forgotten, here's what the old guard at NASA looked like: FULL POST

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Filed under: Culture • Fashion • Science • Space
What if U.S. Olympic uniforms were designed by the masses?
August 3rd, 2012
02:39 PM ET

What if U.S. Olympic uniforms were designed by the masses?

Editor's note: Ben Kaufman is the CEO of Quirky.com, which helps inventors bring their ideas to the market. Kaufman is the subject of Sunday's episode of "The Next List," on CNN at 2 p.m. ET.

By Ben Kaufman, Special to CNN

I am headed to London on Friday. Yes, for the Olympics. This will be the first time for me and the feeling is kind of amazing.  Sure, I have always grown up looking forward to and watching the Olympics. But since the opening ceremonies last week and every moment since then, I feel something different.

Maybe its because I am 25 - making me about the age of many competitors. I look at these athletes and think about their commitment, dedication and powerful accomplishments. I think (and hope) that watching these marvels makes everyone think about their own potential and what could be. It’s inspiring to no end.

I think about the Quirky community and how there is something there that feels just a bit like the Olympics. There are these creative people from different countries bringing their best to one place and sharing it with the world, and some of them end up really winning. There’s definitely a little magic in that.

And then there is just Quirky - and the monumental game-changing things that I have seen since its launch. We have developed a brand new way of thinking about product development and made invention accessible. We have taken an industry, shaken it up and created this whole new kind of company that has never existed. This year, we started manufacturing in the United States and nothing makes me prouder.

I think about the impact Quirky is having on these U.S. manufacturers: creating jobs and revitalizing factories. I know it’s a drop in the bucket, but we are part of a group of companies who are going to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing industry. We did it with Crates and we will continue developing relationships and bringing more jobs home.

I will relish in the choices we made as a company as I sit and watch the Olympic games this weekend. In the coming years, I hope our uniforms will be made at home, too. Even better, maybe the Quirky community can come up with something great. How cool would that be? Maybe then we could see this headline: U.S. Olympic Uniforms Invented Together.

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Filed under: Future • Innovation • The Next List