Smart helmet: The piece of wearable technology that could save your life

Over a ten year period in the US more than 44,000 motorcyclists have died after being involved in crashes while riding. Now the team behind new smart helmet technology is hoping it will save lives by automatically alerting emergency services when the rider is involved in a collision.

The headset, called the X-1 and developed by APEX, is a Bluetooth headset that sends out a distress signal when it senses a collision.

Using gyroscopes and accelerometers in modern smart-phones it detects rapid deceleration, change in position, G-forces and distance traveled in relation to time to detect when an accident has happened.

The headset works with a smartphone app which uses GPS navigation to send the rider’s position to the authorities also allows medical information to be stored and provided to emergency responders.

Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is part of the US Department of Transportation, show that while there has been a slight decrease in the number of motorcyclists dying each year the number is still high.

The most recent statistics show more than 4,600 motorcyclists died in 2011 – compared to 3,200 in 2002 – a further 81,000 were injured. This amounted to 14% of all traffic fatalities in the US during 2011.

Being able to alert emergency authorities as soon as a rider is involved in a crash or collision and speed up the time it takes for them to arrive could help to save lives.

The inventors behind the piece of tech are now trying to raise funds to further develop the product through a crowd-funded Indiegogo campaign.

They are looking to raise a total of $15,000 to help finalise the software design and fund the first run of production. The money will also help to ensure the device is patent protected and available to riders by the summer of this year.

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Writing on their funding page the founders say: “APEX is here for a singular purpose: to save the lives of riders everywhere. Having lost loved ones to fatal accidents, the founders of APEX have a personal stake in motorcycle safety.

“We realized there had to be a way to make the riding experience safer, without sacrificing what makes it so appealing to so many.”

The headset also uses Bluetooth technology to allow the rider to listen to music or call others using their phones.


Images courtesy of Apex Technologies 


Electric cars: Travel further and for longer with new powdery battery developments

A future where we see electric vehicles being able to travel for hours upon hours without needing to be charged is set to be more possible thanks to American scientists who have developed new battery technology.

Researchers have created lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial.

At present electric cars are struggling to take-over the commercial market partly due to how much energy their lithium-ion batteries can store, which puts some potential customers off.

The lithium-sulfur battery could provide an answer to this problem as it can hold four times as much energy than current lithium-ion batteries.

This would enable electric vehicles to drive farther on a single charge as well as being able to store more renewable energy.

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Scientist Jie Xiao, of the US Department of Energy, said: “Lithium-sulfur batteries have the potential to power tomorrow’s electric vehicles, but they need to last longer after each charge and be able to be repeatedly recharged.”

“Our metal organic framework may offer a new way to make that happen,” she added.

The researchers developed the batteries by adding the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery’s cathode, an positively charged electrode, to stop lithium-sulfur batteries from failing after very few charges.

Although one hurdle which still needs to be jumped is still increasing the lifespan of the batteries as they can’t be charged as many times as lithium-ion batteries.

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It is hoped that the battery advancement will help to convince consumers that electric cars are value for money.

In London, UK, the reluctance to own electric cars can be seen from charging points being unused despite a high cost of installing them.

Across the whole country £16m has been spent on installing the points, with more than half of this money being directed towards London’s charging points.

More than 1,000 of 1,3000 charging points on the city’s streets were not used over a three month period in 2013.

However it has to be remembered that the distance an electric car can travel on one charge is largely dependent on how it is being driven.

For example one Telsa Motors car that runs on an 85kWH battery can travel for 300 if it is constantly travelling at 55mph.

Telsa says on its website that driving range becomes predictable based on routine and driving style.


Image 2 courtesy of DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory