Inflatable Sleeper Scarf for Weary Travelers

Sleeper ScarfThe Sleeper Scarf solves the problem of getting rest on a flight and beats the uncomfortable pillows offered by many airlines. The scarf allows passengers to take naps or get a good night’s rest while traveling.

The Sleeper Scarf is a large, soft infinity scarf that has a zippered pocket to store an inflatable neck pillow. The scarf can be worn with the pillow deflated, and then it can be inflated when it is time to take a nap. The pillow and pocket are not obvious if the pillow is deflated. It is the first scarf with a built-in pocket that can conceal an inflatable pillow.

The scarf has a U-shaped pocket around the neck to hold the pillow in place. The Sleeper Scarf comes with either an easy-inflate neck pillow or a traditional inflatable pillow. The user can unwrap the scarf, unzip the back pocket, open the valve, and blow to inflate the scarf. The pillow can be deflated by pressing a button. The neck pillow can also be removed so that the scarf can be worn without it.

The Sleeper Scarf was created by Tiffany Paul of San Francisco, California. The scarf is 77 inches long and is 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex. It can easily be folded up to fit in a suitcase.

The scarf is functional and fashionable and can be used on planes, trains, buses, and cars. It can keep the wearer warm in an over-air-conditioned airplane and is lightweight enough to be worn year-round. The scarf is only available online and comes in pink, turquoise, gray, and black.

Airboard Inflatable Sled for Winter Fun

Airboard inflatable sledThe Airboard inflatable sled lets riders race down snow-covered hills at maximum speeds of 77 miles per hour. The board originated in Europe and was just introduced in the United States this winter.

The Airboard weighs six pounds and is made of durable urethane-coated nylon. It can be inflated with an included hand pump. I-beams in the body provide shock resistance. The Airboard has reinforced runners on the bottom to prevent it from getting punctured by rough terrain and to make it slide better. The valve has been engineered to resist damage from the cold that could cause it to leak, which allows the inflatable sled to stay rigid even after multiple downhill runs.

The version of the Airboard designed for adults can transport a person weighing up to 300 pounds, even over jumps. The rider lies on his or her chest and holds on tight while racing downhill. The ribbed underbelly allows the rider to steer and stop by shifting weight.

The Airboard offers a smoother ride than a wooden toboggan, which makes the rider feel the impact of every landing. The inflatable Airboard is easier to transport in a car when it is deflated and easier to transport to the top of a hill than a toboggan.

The Airboard is the first all mountain bodyboard for snow. It provides riders with the comfort, stopping ability, and control at high speeds that they need to cover the same terrain as skiers and snowboarders. It is the only lift-bound sled in the world and is popular in terrain parks, backcountry, and racing events.

D-air Ski Inflatable Suit Protects Racers

D-air Ski inflatable suitDownhill skiing is a dangerous sport. Racers often jump hundreds of feet in the air and can reach speeds over 100 miles per hour. This can result in frequent and potentially catastrophic injuries.

According to a 2010 paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Sports Medicine, an alpine skier has about a 30 percent chance of being injured in a given season. Ten percent of those injuries require over a month to recover.

Motorsport company Dainese has developed the D-air Ski to protect skiers. The inflatable suit covers a ski racer’s torso and shoulders and can inflate in 100 milliseconds if it senses a crash.

The D-air Ski is based on a system that Dainese developed for motorcycle racing. The International Ski Federation, ski racing’s governing body, asked Dainese in 2012 to adapt its motorcycle racing suit for ski racing. It was approved on January 1, and racers from several countries, including the United States, will be able to wear it at the World Championships.

The D-air Ski has three gyroscopes, three accelerometers, and a GPS unit to help it predict when a skier is about to crash. A replaceable cold-gas canister inflates the suit if it senses that a crash is imminent. The system is powered by a lithium-ion battery. Everything except the airbag itself is packed into a hardened pocket on the back protector. A USB port can download run data.

Dainese tested the suit on skiers from the Canadian and Italian national teams and collected data from test runs. They developed an algorithm that analyzes a skier’s acceleration and body position to tell when a skier is about to crash. The system will not inflate if a skier loses an edge and slides to a stop, but it will if it detects that the skier is starting to tumble.

Unlike car airbags, which deflate almost immediately, the D-air Ski stays inflated for up to 10 seconds, which allows it to protect the skier until he or she stops. The system can absorb up to 60 percent of the impact from a crash. While the D-air Ski cannot prevent all skiing injuries, such as those that are caused when a skier catches a ski edge on the snow, it can protect skiers from many injuries caused by crashes.

Dainese says the unit will not affect a skier’s aerodynamics. The company says it has never had a false positive inflation, but it tested the suit to make sure it would not obstruct a skier if it did malfunction.

Engineers Create Stick-on Inflatable Pouches for Robots

inflatable robot actuatorsRyuma Niiyama from the University of Tokyo and colleagues from MIT have collaborated to produce a new way to create simple robots from everyday objects. They have designed stick-on inflatable pouches that expand, contract, and bend when filled with air. They can be used to bring origami creations to life, close drawers, and make small robots move without the need for motors or electronics.

The inflatable pouch motors are called free-form planar soft actuators. The actuators are printed on a custom-built fabrication machine that consists of a 3-axis CNC machine that holds a rod that can be heated. The iron is moved over two sheets of thermoplastic to bond them. The bonding leaves patterns of interlocking, inflatable pouches. They can also be made with a 3D printer.

A tube with a syringe on one end can be used to inflate and deflate the actuator. They require only tubing and a steady supply of air, which can be generated with a powered compressor or hand pump.

The researchers who developed the inflatable pouches believe they could be used to make simple robots that could perform household tasks, such as folding laundry. If they broke, owners could simply print new inflatable pouches as replacement parts.

The researchers conducted a study to find out how people with no robotics experience could use the actuators. They taught 40 children how to fold origami and use the sticky actuators and then had them develop their own creations. The children enjoyed the activity and found it challenging.