Volvo Creates Inflatable Child Car Seat Concept Design

inflatable car seatSwedish car maker Volvo has designed a concept for an inflatable car safety seat to be used by children. The car seat can be inflated in less than 40 seconds with a silent internal pump simply by pressing a button. It can be deflated in the same amount of time and stored in a backpack, making it easy to transport.

Volvo designed the inflatable car seat as an alternative to conventional child safety seats that are heavy and difficult to transport. When inflated, the car seat weighs 11 pounds, making it about half the weight of traditional children’s safety seats. The pump that is used to inflate the car seat is powered by electronics that are Bluetooth-enabled, which could allow parents to inflate or deflate the seat using a smartphone app.

The child safety seat is crafted with a drop-stitch fabric that was originally created by the military to be used in inflatable airplanes. That technology never materialized, but the fabric has been used for other applications, such as inflatable boats. The material can be inflated to a high enough pressure that it could provide protection in the event of a collision. The car seat has a five-point harness and is intended to be used by children up to three years old.

The inflatable car seat is currently in a proof-of-concept phase. It must be tested and meet government safety standards before it can be made commercially available. Volvo began designing child seats about 50 years ago and was behind early rear-facing child car seat designs.

Zero Shock Impact Prevention System Provides Safe Landings

Zero ShockZero Shock inflatable safety bags can withstand impacts to protect people from falls. They are an ideal solution for amusement parks, extreme sports, civilian rescues, and commercial building uses.

Zero Shock air bags are relatively small because the “fingers” act as shock absorbers. This makes them a good choice for places where a foam pit would normally be used, such as a gymnastics practice or competition area.

If you need an unusual shape that goes around obstacles or terrain, a Zero Shock inflatable bag can be customized to match your needs. The surface of the bag can undulate to take on any shape. People can safely land on any part of the bag, even the edge, without bounding off.

The pressure in the Zero Shock bag can be controlled to create a soft or firm landing. This makes it well suited for activities such as gymnastics or extreme sports.

A Zero Shock air bag can reset itself instantly since only a small amount of air is expelled by the “fingers” below the impact area. Because it resets immediately, a second person can land on the inflatable bag while the first person is still on it. This will not have any effect on the quality of the landing or cause either person to bounce off the bag. People can safely land as close as 24 inches apart.

The Zero Shock Impact Prevention System’s unique and customizable inflatable design can keep people safe in a variety of circumstances. If you need to ensure safety for visitors to an amusement park, participants in extreme sports, or victims in civilian rescues, it could be the perfect solution.

Engineers Design Inflatable Blimp to Generate Electricity

PowerShipCanadian company LTA Windpower has designed an inflatable wind turbine to generate electricity for remote areas that do not have access to a power grid.

The PowerShip looks like a blimp with wings and two spinning propellers. LTA Windpower’s engineers wanted to create an inflatable wind turbine that built upon existing technology by using elements and subsystems that have already been proven to work, such as airships, wings, and axial flow propeller turbines, with minor modifications.

The design of the PowerShip is based on a non-rigid airship. Rather than a typical gondola underneath, it has wings similar to those of an airplane. Each wing has a nacelle to generate electricity. The propellers are located on the trailing edges of the wings and face the rear of the inflatable wind turbine. This gives it an appearance resembling an airplane with a wide-bodied inflatable fuselage and large push propellers.

A tether is attached to the front center of the wing to anchor it to the ground. The PowerShip operates close to neutral buoyancy, making it unnecessary to have a winch on the ground to deploy or retrieve it. The PowerShip can operate without needing to be controlled by people on the ground.

LTA Windpower decided to use hydrogen rather than the helium typically used in balloons because hydrogen is cheaper and can be produced on-site by electrolyzing water using energy generated by the wind turbine. Since hydrogen is more flammable than helium, the engineers developed a specially designed envelope to prevent the hydrogen from igniting.

The PowerShip can be created at a larger scale to generate more electricity if necessary. Turbines up to 50 kW intended mostly to be used off-grid will use non-grid synchronous permanent magnet generators, storage batteries, and inverters. Larger units that can be connected to an electrical grid can utilize AC synchronous generators and blade-pitch adjustment.

Engineers Create Inflatable Space Habitat

BA-330Bigelow Aerospace has designed the BA-330, an inflatable space habitat that can be used in the future by governments, corporations, and private citizens to create research stations or space hotels.

The BA-330’s soft shell allows it to fit inside a small launch vehicle and be inflated in space. The soft shell is also better at reflecting debris and absorbing radiation than the International Space Station.

The BA-330 can be compressed to a diameter of 12 feet to be transported to space. The inflatable habitat measures 45 feet long and 22 feet in diameter and has an interior volume of 330 cubic meters when inflated. Bigelow has created a full-scale model and plans to create two real versions by 2017.

Three or four modules could be linked to create a space bigger than the International Space Station. While it took over 20 launches to construct the ISS, the BA-330 could be assembled in four or five trips.

BigelowThe interior of the model was designed by Boeing and includes hypothetical research equipment. In reality, the module could be customized to fit the needs of whatever company or agency intends to use it. The center of the habitat forms the solid part of the BA-330 and contains the life support and computer equipment, unlike the ISS, which has equipment along the walls.

White bags inside the inflatable habitat will store drinking water and waste water, and brown bags will be used to store food, clothing, and medical supplies. Putting more mass between the inside of the habitat and the outside environment will help to protect the occupants from radiation.

The habitat is designed to accommodate six people. It will have separate sleeping quarters for each occupant.

In space, moisture is released into the air through sweat and breathing. An air conditioning system condenses it and converts it into drinking water. A hydrolyzer separates water into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is pumped into the cabin, while hydrogen is used to fuel the inflatable habitat’s propulsion system.

Bigelow is also working on a smaller habitat, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), that will dock with the ISS in 2015 to conduct manned testing.