4 Global Innovations You Need to See Now
A Bicycle Made Of Cardboard (featured above)
Alfa bike I.G. Cardboard Technologies, Israel
Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni recently developed a low-cost, eco-friendly bike made almost entirely of recycled cardboard and rubber. Tight folding of the cardboard gives the frame sturdiness, and the material is treated with waterproof resin so the bike won't turn into mush when it rains. Gafni hopes to have the bikes in production by 2014, with a price of about $20 each.
- Cost: Izhar Gafni estimates each bike will cost just $9 to make. He plans to sell the bikes for about $20 each.
- Frame: Because of the tight folding of the cardboard, the lightweight bikes can support up to 495 pounds.
- Durability: The cardboard bikes are treated with waterproof resin, so that they can withstand rain. The bikes are also fireproof.
- Materials: Alfa bikes will be made of 99 percent recycled materials, including recycled car tires for wheels.
A Lamp Powered By Weights
Gravitylight therefore, United Kingdom
Turns out there's another green source of energy: gravity. Therefore, a product design firm in London, recently invented the GravityLight. Co-founder Martin Riddiford and designer Jim Reeves spent four years developing the light in their spare time. The hanging device hooks to a bag filled with 20 pounds of material, such as sand. Lifting the weight for a few seconds, then letting it drop, creates enough energy to power the light for 30 minutes. The team, which recently raised nearly $400,000 on Indiegogo, is producing more than 1,000 lamps to give away in India and Africa.
A Virtual Coach For Job Candidates
Jizen i-maginer, France
I-maginer, based in Nantes, France, is developing technology to help job candidates be less nervous during interviews. The company, which makes 3-D simulation software, recently created Jizen, a program that simulates a job interview. Jizen features a computer-generated interviewer who peppers the user with questions. As the interviewee responds, Jizen uses a webcam and wearable sensors to analyze the user's body language, facial expressions, breathing patterns, and heart rate. Afterward, the program shows users when they displayed signs of nervousness. I-maginer plans to launch similar simulations to aid with public speaking and stress management.
A Smart Wristwatch For The Hard Of Hearing
scs1000 moneual, South Korea
Moneual, an electronics manufacturer, has a new take on the smart watch. The company is making a device for the deaf that alerts the wearer about important sounds. The watch uses audio recognition to detect things such as ringing doorbells, crying babies, and dinging oven timers. Then, it vibrates and flashes a message on the LED display ("Honk! Honk!" for a car horn). The device, which is still in the prototype stage, won a "best of innovations" award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.