Ford Increases Availability of Inflatable Seatbelts in their Vehicles

Inflatable Seatbelt

Automobile companies are always in a battle to come up with the newest features for their vehicles. First came in dash-GPS, then back-up cameras, and now inflatable seatbelts. Ford is releasing its backseat inflatable seatbelts on several more of its 2014 vehicles as an option.

Ford first offered its safety first inflatable feature with the 2011 Explorer. Their inflatable belt combines a shoulder seatbelt and a tubular-shaped airbag that inflates upon impact. During a crash, sensors determine when the inflatable belt should be deployed and when signaled, the belt is rapidly inflated with compressed gas. Obviously the main focus of this optional feature is safety. The safety technical leader from Ford said this about the inflatable seatbelt;

“The inflatable belt is designed to help reduce head, neck, and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries.”

This inflatable technology is now available as an option on several of Ford’s vehicles, including the Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi, Flex, and Taurus. For everyday use, the inflatable belts operate like conventional safety belts and are compatible with car seats and boosters. During a crash, the inflatable belt helps distribute the crash forces across more of the passenger’s torso, up to five times more than a traditional belt.

The inflatable belt option costs $190 extra, a big discount in comparison to the Explorer’s option price of $595. With more car buyers focusing on safety, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if more people start purchasing the inflatable belt option and more car companies begin creating their own version of the technology for their vehicles.

Windcatcher Inflation System Helps save your Breath


If you have ever gone camping and had to blow up an inflatable mattress, you know that it takes forever to manually force enough air inside to get it fully inflated. Then once you do get it inflated, you feel light headed from exasperating all your breath. If that wasn’t bad enough, in the middle of the night your mattress slowly deflates while you sleep. One man’s new invention, the Windcatcher, eliminates all of those problems.

Imagine if it only took a few breaths to blow up the air mattress and your lips never had to touch a tiny valve. Wouldn’t it be great if air didn’t escape during the night, but deflates in seconds awindcatcher systemnd can be rolled up for easy transportation? Ryan Frayne spent over a year developing his Windcatcher system that does all of those things.

When you inflate other air mattresses, you are directly transferring air from your lungs to the inflatable product. The Windcatchers unique design allows you to take advantage of the air around you in combination with your breath to quickly inflate it. There is a large opening at the end of the Windcatcher that you blow into. When you do this, a stream of fast moving, low pressure air is created. High pressure air is attracted to low pressure areas and is pulled inside the mattress. Frayne says that the volume of air entering the Windcatcher is at least 10 to 15 times greater than that leaving your lungs. The valve is a one way valve, holding in the air you blow as it is inflated. Once fully inflated, the valve rolls up and is secured using Velcro straps that ensures no air will leak out.

The Windcatcher is great for many different events. While it is the perfect fit for campers, it is also great for a place to sit at the park, an outdoor concert, or an emergency sleeping spot at the airport if your flight gets cancelled. The Windcatcher also deflates in a matter of seconds and can be rolled up to around the size of a water bottle, making it extremely portable. Check out Frayne’s pitch video for his product below that they are using on their Kickstarter campaign.

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Stay in the World’s First Inflatable Hotel Room!

Inflatable Hotel Room

Ever wonder what it would be like to sleep in an inflatable room suspended in the air? Well, if you have this dream and an extra fifty grand laying around, you can! Only for a limited time, a hotel in Denver is offering up a one-night stay package where you can stay in an inflatable room hoisted 22 feet in the air.

You can’t smoke in this room and there is a weight limit of 450 pounds. The room was developed by architect Alex Schweder and is five by seven feet. The luxury see-through room is hoisted above a van by way of a scissor-lift. It was a part of the Biennial of the Americas Festival of Arts in Denver, traveling to different parking lots. The room comes equipped with a chemical toilet, shower, sink, inflatable bed and inflatable roomcouch, and curtains. Shweder said this about his high-price room;

“It’s a very small room, but a very special room. You’re always on the top floor.”

The room is now being offered by the Curtis hotel, who sponsored the piece. They call the aluminum and inflated vinyl room “the hotel rehearsal”. For only $50,000, you get a one-night stay in the most unique hotel room in the world. With the hotel room package you also receive, a diamond pendant and earrings, two iPod Nanos, and a dance party for 100 people in a ballroom of the Curtis hotel. The only thing you won’t find in the inflatable room that every hotel room has, an alcohol stocked mini fridge. No alcohol is allowed in the room, to deter guests from turning it into a bounce house.

Schweder spent two nights himself in the room and made a few design changes. Staff at the Curtis say that at least one person has already inquired about the inflatable hotel room package. The hotel says that most of the money will go towards insurance on the room, but customers will also be supporting the future of the Biennial of the Americas.

NASA creates Inflatable Space Re-Entry Vehicle

Inflatable Heat Shield

NASA’s Space Technology Program has made a breakthrough development with their revolutionary inflatable heat shield. Just recently, NASA’s Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) completed a successful trip through the Earth’s atmosphere.

IRVE-3 reached hypersonic speeds of up to 7,600 mph during its historic trip through the atmosphere. The heat shield is made up of a custom inflatable outer shell that helps it slow down from its high speeds and offers protection upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The deputy director of NASA’s Space Technology Program James Reuther said;IRVE-3

“It’s great to see the initial results indicate we had a successful test of the hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator. This demonstration flight goes a long way toward showing the value of these technologies to serve as atmospheric entry heat shields for future space.”

The IRVE-3 also consists of a cone which is made up of a series of un-inflated high tech rings of braided Kevlar lined with silicon. A thermal blanket of layers of heat resistant materials is used to cover the rings. The IRVE-3 also uses materials such as Nextel, Pyrogel, and Kapton to create a revolutionary thermal protection system that is similar to a fireman’s suit. The only difference is the thermal protection system that the IRVE-3 uses can withstand temperatures up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA hopes that the inflatable technology will help them explore planets like Mars, Venus, and Titan. They also hope that they can use the inflatable heat shield to eventually transport humans. The IRVE-3 project will help NASA take another giant leap in space travel.

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FAA Wary about Inflatable Seatbelts on Airplanes

Inflatable Seatbelts

The Federal Aviation Administration heard that airplane company Boeing is planning on installing inflatable seatbelts on their airplanes. The FAA has already asked Boeing to give feedback on the plan. The inflatable belts are “designed to limit the forward excursion of occupants in the event of an accident.”

The inflatable seatbelts behave similarly to the airbags you would find in cars. The difference is that the new seatbelts for airplanes inflate away from the person in the seat, instead of at them. Car companies such as Ford have already started to develop and incorporate inflatable seatbelts into their vehicles. The technology is relatively new to aviation, so the government is still seeking comments on the proposed rules.

“While the automotive industry has extensive experience in demonstrating the benefits of using inflatable airbags, the airplane environment presents unique and additional challenges.” – FAA notice

The FAA is looking to get more information from Boeing about the inflatable seatbelts they want to install in some of their planes. The FAA is somewhat wary about them due to the lack of information on how such a device would work in aviation. The notice by the FAA disclosed their concern by saying;

“In automobiles, airbags are a supplemental system and work in conjunction with upper torso restraints. In airplanes, inflatable lapbelts are the sole means of injury protection for occupants.”

There are also many other elements that come into play when using this technology on planes that concern the FAA. This includes the potential complexities presented by kids sitting in child safety seats, infants being held by adults, pregnant women, and the potential for inadvertent deployment of an inflatable seatbelt. The FAA is also worried that an inflated seatbelt would impede a passenger from getting out of their seat quickly during an emergency landing. It will likely be a while before we see this inflatable technology on airplanes.

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Inflatable and Reusable Hydraulic Dam Patented by Researchers

Inflatable Dam Creators

Some researchers from the University of Granada have patented a new system that uses inflatable hydraulic dams that can be assembled and dismantled very easily. The technique is the first of its kind in the world.

The system enables a hydraulic dam to be assembled and dismantled in only a few hours, with no specialized machinery required. This not only allows for quick assembly but it minimized environmental damage by eliminating the need to install a solid cement floor and it is reusable. The patented invention can be installed in sections of a river that are difficult to reach and be easily transported to emergency zones or developing countries.

The custom inflatable system is made up of a modular foundation. The foundation is made from cuboid blocks that are manufactured using material that is both resistant and heavier than water. Next the blocks are placed on a base on which, using elements that run through the blocks, the inflatable part of the dam that holds the water back.

“With this set-up, we manage to create a horizontal support for the pneumatic element, as well as obtaining an anchorage that is more resistant to the force of the water flow,” explains Fernando Delgado Ramos, one of the authors on the patent.

The prefabricated elements of the dam is built from are low in weight and size, so they can be transported in trucks or even in containers carried by helicopters. This also aids in being able to set up the blocks quickly. There is very little effect on the environment from the set-up.

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The American Inflatable Road Show in Austin, Texas

The American Inflatable Road Show

The American Inflatable Road Show will be in Austin, Texas from April 24th to the 25th. It is a trade show designed specifically for companies in the inflatable product industry. The leading inflatable companies will be at the AIR show to show off their inflatable slides, bounce houses, and promotional products.

The American Inflatable Alliance sponsors the AIR show and was started in 2012. It is the only trade show dedicated entirely to inflatables and the inflatable industry. Visitors will be able to see the most creative inflatables that companies from around the country have to offer. There will be many inflatable products that people can try first hand to understand the excitement they offer.

The country’s biggest inflatable companies, like Inflatable 2000, will be on hand in Austin for the show. Inflatable 2000Inflatable 2000 is the world’s leading source for amusement inflatables, promotional inflatables, tents, banners, and more. The inflatable company has worked with many large companies and organizations such as NASA, Disney, and 20th Century Fox Films to create custom designed inflatable products. Inflatable 2000 also works with many smaller businesses to create custom inflatable products that they can use to effectively brand their services or products to their target audience.

The American Inflatable Road Show was created to bring a series of regional shows to various cities across the country. The AIR Show in Austin will feature the leaders in the inflatable industry and is designed specifically for those in the market for inflatable products. There will be a wide variety of businesses that use inflatable products at the show, including event companies, backyard rental companies, and anyone company that features inflatable play structures.

The AIR Show will be held at the Austin, Texas Convention Center and there will also be educational seminars, exhibits, and safety training. Doors will be open to the public on Wednesday, April 24th at 8:30 am. The show will close on Thursday, April 25th at 3:00 pm.

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Ford Files for Trademark on iLuv



Rumor has it that Ford is working on an inflatable car. Those rumors got fueled even more after Ford filed trademark applications for something called an Inflatable Light Urban Vehicle, or iLuv. Other than the fact that it is classified under “vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water,” there is little more information on what exactly it could be.

The outlet that first discovered that Ford put in the applications, Ford Inside News, suggests that the iLuv could be intended for use on some sort of small, collapsible personal urban transport device. Inflatable CarEven with all the speculation, Ford is not releasing any information about its Inflatable Light Urban Vehicle plans. One spokesperson for Ford released a statement that the company regularly trademarks various names and won’t comment on any speculation surrounding these.

Ford isn’t the only major car company looking to get into the inflatable vehicle market. Mercedes-Benz has shown a prototype vehicle that has inflatable steel beams in its doors that expand in the event of a crash to absorb energy. There is also a San Francisco start-up company called XP Vehicles that has proposed a car made from flexible panels filled with lightweight expandable foam.

So until more information is released about the iLuv, all we can do is speculate. Ford seems to be doing a lot inflatable research because they have released a vehicle with rear seatbelts that inflate during an accident to help cushion the blow. Only time will tell if people will be inflating their vehicles before they go out.

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Fake Horse with Inflatable Intestines Helps Train Veterinarians

Inflatable Horse Model

The University of Edinburgh recently acquired a life-sized anatomical model of a horse. The inside is complete with inflatable latex intestines, which can be used to simulate the common and deadly condition of equine colic. This is a priceless tool in teaching future veterinarians how to identify and treat this fatal condition in horses.

The equine colic simulator model will help students at the University’s School of Veterinary Studies to familiarize themselves with the condition. Equine colic causes abdominal pain and is the leading cause of premature death in horses. The inflatable intestines will aid the students in learning hoInflatable Intestines w to assess the condition by allowing them to perform an internal examination of the horse’s intestines and sample for free fluid in their abdomen.

The model features representations of the horse’s digestive tract that can be inflated to simulate certain symptoms. The horse model also features the spleen, left kidney, and a replica pelvis for the students to explore. The model also has an area that allows for the students to do a “belly top” test, where a small incision is made into the belly of the horse to test whether there is an infection in the abdominal cavity or if the intestines have ruptured.

In addition to colic, the simulator can be used to identify reproductive problems. The horse simulator was developed by Dr. Emma Read at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She designed the simulator to provide a safer and less stressful environment for the students.

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Inflatable Concrete Tent Developed in Britain

Inflatable Concrete Shelter

Technology for shelters in the event of a natural disaster or crisis has seen strides recently. Many companies are creating shelters and tools to help provide people affected by disasters an easy set-up shelter or survival kit. One pioneering British firm has created an inflatable tent that turns into concrete by just adding water.

You might think this is too good be true. “Just add water” seems like an infomercial line that is used to sell a product to the masses. However, the Concrete Canvas Shelter is the real deal and can be erected by just two people in less than an hour. In less than one day the structure will turn from inflatable dwelling to a full concrete structure.

The Concrete Canvas Shelter begins inside of waterproof plastic sheeting for easy transportation. First, water must be pumped into the unit to start the process. The concrete cloth inside is made up of fibers which evenly absorb water until all of the cloth is saturated. Once the unit is filled up without about 800 to 1,000 liters of water, there is about a five hour window to erect the structure before the concrete sets. The waterproof plastic is removed and a inflation device is used to blow air inside of the unit. The cloth must be completely dragged out before it is completely inflated for proper set-up. Then you just wait and watch as the structure inflates to its full size of 50 square meters. A day later the concrete structure is ready to use.

The speed of which this technology can be used may allow for huge improvements in how
the world reacts to humanitarian crisis. A concrete canvas building has great thermal properties, so whatever is kept inside can be kept cool or warm, and can provide a sterile environment for surgery. The tent was first created with military use in mind, but will be a great help in natural disaster situations.

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