While many people fear the rays of the sun – which can lead to skin cancer and other nasty stuff, new research suggests that there is much good that comes to exposure to the sun. Not only does it provide a dose of vitamin D, but researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that exposure to the sun can increase the release of a compound called nitric oxide into the blood vessels. This compound can help lower blood pressure, and thus reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke.
While skin cancer is still a concern, the study noted that deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke are 60 to 100 times higher in northern Europe than those from skin cancers. Moreover Vitamin D can also help lower the risk of heart disease so perhaps a little tan can improve one’s health.
[Via Medical News Today: Sun Exposure Benefits May Outweigh Risks Say Scientists]
The surf isn’t the only thing that is up. Apparently so are the tariffs that U.S. surf board makers are now facing when selling American made products aboard. However, the United States allows foreigners to sell in the United States duty-free. The question, as asked on PBS Newshour – which first reported on this story – whether a response could in turn create a trade war.
Surfing was supposed to be about catching waves and good vibrations, but nothing about this story sounds like it.
[Via PBS Newshour: High Foreign Tariffs on US Surfboards: Should We Retaliate?]
The market for wearable health tracking devices is truly on the rise as these have attracted increased attention from health-conscious consumers. According to IHS iSuppli MEMS and Sensors Service revenue for MEMS sensors in wearable electronics and fitness monitoring is set to climb to $31.0 million this year and then jump 33 percent to $41.3 million in 2014.
“The biggest leap will occur in 2016 when annual revenue rises 50 percent to $91.5 million,” said Marwan Boustany, senior analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. “That means the market by then will have expanded by more than a factor of four from $20.8 million in 2011.” Read the rest of this entry »
Researchers have found that retro reflector technology could be used in detecting bioterrorism threats and diagnosing everyday infectious diseases. Scientists from the University of Texas and Sandia National Laboratories are developing an ultrasensitive, all-in-one device that utilizes retroreflectors to rapidly tell first-responders exactly which disease-causing microbe has been deployed in a bioterrorism attack.
These microfabricated retroreflectors were given a biochemical surface capable of detecting pathogens, effectively making them a lab-on-a-chip. These feature minute channels that can process small amounts of blood or other fluids, whereby a sample fluid containing bacteria could cause parts of the reflectors to go dark, thus signaling a positive test, whereas if the fluid sample was free of the bacteria or disease-causing virus, the reflectors would shine brightly.
This gives us something to reflect on.
[Via Science Daily: Safety Reflector Technology from Footwear Getting New Life in Detecting Bioterror Threats]
Tablets can do many things beyond playing Angry Birds and watching a movie. A team at the University of Notre Dame is developed a tablet-based test that can detect a concussion. Typically concussions, which should be treated as soon as possible, often are difficult to diagnose without a trip to the hospital.
This new software, which could certainly see use in sports, requires that the person recite a variety of words before they start playing and then again once there has been the potential of an injury occurring. The software works by analyzing the differences in how the words are said before-and-after, and looks for key indicators that could suggest a traumatic brain injury. These could include things such as distorted vowels, imprecise consonants even a hyper nasal sound. Unlike just asking an athlete if they are alright, this one can listen to how they say it. Video after the jump
While Amsterdam could arguably be the cycling capital of Europe the Mayor of London looks to develop a new €1 billion master bike plan aimed at revitalizing urban cycling. This plan backs Dutch style infrastructure with a strong commitment towards better cycling routes, traffic restrictions and even so-called “Little Holland” style developments. This is just some of what could occur via a 10-year plan that could see the majority of the new infrastructure built within the first four years.
“Both the Mayor and I pay tribute to the London Cyclists’ Campaign, journalists, bloggers and other campaigners for driving the issue so far up the political agenda,” says Andrew Gilligan, London’s newly appointed cycling commissioner. Read the rest of this entry »
Often times when a car hits a cyclist the driver claims that the bicycle came out of nowhere or just wasn’t seen. Imagine if the car had some form of radar that could help detect riders and react! Well, that’s exactly what Volvo has introduced with its update to the pedestrian detection system, which features a full auto brake trigger.
The pedestrian system has been in place since 2010, but now will alert drivers and react to bicycles as well. If an imminent impact with a rider or pedestrian is detected the driver will receive a red warning flash while the car will activate full breaking power. The technology will be available in the V40, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 from mid-May 2013. Video after the jump
Helmets are often called brain buckets, but the SMART is actually a cycling helmet that is pretty darn smart. While still under development via an Indiegogo project, its developers hope to create a cycling helmet with an integrated heart rate sensor.
Instead of wearing a heart rate monitor strap this system would provide real time, accurate monitoring via a sensor located in the helmet. This same type of sensors are currently used by fighter pilots and astronauts, and the developers have placed these in a Lazer Genesis helmet. The information gathered by the SMART sensor can be sent in real time to a mobile phone, sports watch or cycling computer via ANT+ and Bluetooth. Video after the jump
We’ve seen many attempts to recycle bikes and build new bikes for those in need, but one young inventor is looking to turn bicycle parts and creating durable, well-functioning prosthetic legs. 19-year old Parker Owen of Mobile, Alabama studied the diagram of a bicycle and created a method to create the “Cycle-Leg,” a low-cost prosthetic that could be used by those who couldn’t afford more expensive prosthetics. He hopes to create between 20-30 of these when he visits Honduras this winter.
[Via AL.com: Alabama student makes prosthetic leg from bicycle; will make more in Honduras]
Cars are often considered the enemy of cyclists but at this week’s 2013 National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists the advocacy group noted that it found common ground with the AAA – the Automobile Association of America.
“At first glance, it may seem surprising that AAA would be a leading voice at the National Bike Summit, one of the biggest bicycle advocacy events of the year,” said League President, Andy Clarke. “But AAA has become an important partner in our work to raise awareness about the benefits of biking, improve the safety of cyclists, and promote and protect the rights and responsibilities of all road users.”
To this end the AAA has debuted a new Share the Road Public Service Announcement (PSA) that highlights the dual identity of many road users: driver and cyclists. Hopefully this will result in real sharing of the road and mutual respect from both sides. Video after the jump
The League of American Bicyclists noted this month that women continue to be the driving force – and thus are doing the pedaling – to the forefront of the bicycle movement. According to a recent national poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, more than 80 percent of American women have a positive view of bicyclists and two-thirds think their community would be a better place to live if riding a bike were safer and more comfortable.
To this end the League will host the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, to united hundreds of leaders to showcase and build on that energy and momentum. The event will take place on March 4 in Washington, D.C. With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” this event will provide special focus on industry leaders, entrepreneurs and the economic impact of female bicyclists. Read the rest of this entry »
A consortium led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials is looking at creating custom-optimized ski sledges for use by the competitors in the cross-country and biathlon skiers competing in the 2014 Winter Paralympics. This could involve filming the competitors as they go through their racing motions on a standard sledge, and where the data is utilized to create a bio-mechanical model of the athlete to create a customized sledge. Will this give certain athletes an edge? Perhaps, but it could also just increase the spirit of competition.
[Via Fraunhofer Media Release: Optimized custom-made ski sledges]
Much has been made about concussions and football helmets, but now the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences is looking to expand its ground-breaking research to include hockey, baseball, softball and lacrosse. The five year plan will look to rate helmets worn in those sports and determine the ability the helmets have to lessen the likelihood of a concussion resulting from head impact.
The ratings for the helmets will begin with hockey in the fall of this year, followed by youth football in 2015, and then baseball, softball and lacrosse in 2016.
[Via Product Design & Development: Sports Concussion-Risk Studies to Include Hockey and Baseball]