Every month, Inventors Digest celebrates emerging inventions and innovations in its Under the Radar section.
Cane You See Me?
These days it seems everybody’s in a hurry. Heretofore blind people have been hindered from walking at a brisk clip for fear of a misstep.
Dr. Cang Ye and colleagues at the University of Arkansas aim to fix that with a cane that uses a three-dimensional imaging sensor to create a detailed model of the user’s environment.
Using Flash LADAR (laser detection and ranging), the system identifies obstacles and/or hazards and then alerts a user with auditory cues.
Johnny Smith’s patent-pending Hammer Bumper turns framing hammers into non-marking mallets for those delicate jobs.
Smith, a carpenter from Fairmount, Ind., took the silver medal in the construction category at the 2008 INPEX tradeshow. The product recently hit the market.
Texas cop Ron Daniels invented the Ultimate Lock, a stout home-protection device that can withstand more than 4,000 pounds of force.
Made with help of the NASA Space Technology Alliance Program, the lock includes a panic “lockout” feature that renders any key useless.
Daniels says the lock can’t be kicked in, rammed, bumped or picked.
There’s no arguing over who gets the biggest slice with inventor and restaurateur Greg Getzinger’s Portion PadL. It ensures each slice is equal.
The Portion PadL is a pizza cutting and serving board designed for frozen and homemade pizzas. The design allows for easy retrieval from ovens. The centering grooves fit most common frozen pizza sizes. And the beveled edge of the rocker knife offers easy cutting.
Getzinger landed a deal with Schwan’s Food Service, which projects buying 10,000 Portion PadLs this year.
Orbital Technologies, a private Russian company, plans to build, launch and operate what might become the first commercial space station.
Orbital envisions the station will be used by professional crews and corporate researchers, as well as private folks searching for cosmic getaways.
The station would have a crew capability of seven people, measure just 706 cubic feet and feature four cabins. Large portholes providing a view of Earth are planned.
Orbital Technologies says it has already signed cooperation agreements with RSC Energia and the Russian Federal Space Agency for the project. It also claims that funding is already in place and plans to launch the first module of the station by 2016.
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Editor’s note: This article appears in the December 2010 print edition.