• We all know that driving when sleepy is dangerous, and the statistics prove it. Drowsy driving accounts for more than 100,000 crashes a year and 1,500 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    Now three recent University of Pennsylvania mechanical engineering graduates are doing something about it.

    For their senior design project, Drew Karabinos, 23, Jason Gui, 23, and Jonathan Kern, 22, created Vigo, a wearable headset that uses an infrared sensor that tracks your alertness. Vigo works like any other Bluetooth headset and connects to your phone. When you’re about to nod off, Vigo jolts you awake, either with music, a flashing LED light or a gentle vibration.

    “When we were doing Senior Design and brainstorming [about] the problems we experience ourselves that we want to solve,” said Gui, “and we realized that getting drowsy when we didn’t want to be was a problem we all had.”

    Vigo is their answer. In addition to driving, it can be used to keep you awake

    Read More »from Wake Up! This Headset Alerts You When You’re Drowsy
  • What is the strongest smell you can think of?

    Two odors, qualitatively different, come to my mind: the assaulting smell that emanates from the garbage bins outside my building; and, on the opposite end of the smell spectrum, my Mom’s kitchen when she’s roasting chicken.

    The former is odious, the latter delicious. But which smell is stronger?

    It would be interesting to compare the two scientifically. After all, odor strength can have big consequences. Earlier this year, a judge in Los Angeles County ordered the makers of the beloved Sriracha hot sauce to suspend operations because of complaints made about its factory's stench.

    For a quantitative measurement, you can now turn to a tool called a field olfactometer. Also known as the Nasal Ranger, it’s a portable odor detecting device that measures odor strength. Just think of the possibilities!

    Created by St. Croix Sensory Inc. in Stillwater, Minn., the Nasal Ranger was first developed to help regulatory officials establish smell

    Read More »from What Is The Strongest Odor?
  • The paper airplane is more than a piece of folded paper that glides and turns before hitting the ground--it’s a classic part of growing up. We all made them, some that worked well and others that tanked immediately after takeoff.

    They’re a low-tech fixture in a high-tech world, so when inventor and pilot Shai Goitein created a module that turns the classic paper airplane into a Bluetooth-enabled smart phone-controlled paper airplane, he risked stomping on nostalgia.

    But the PowerUp 3.0 is so simple to understand that instead of messing with a classic they’ve brought renewed interest to the paper airplane, and just in time before every kid gives up their notepads for an iPad.

    The beauty is in the integration of the technology. You fold the paper airplane the same way you always have, and the technology fits in to make it fly. It’s like making a new friend, you want someone who complements your life and makes it more enjoyable.

    The PowerUp 3.0 includes one of the durable carbon fiber

    Read More »from A Paper Plane that Flies, not just Glides

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