Jim Lillie

Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:00

Auto-Inflating Vest Protects Cyclists

Billed as "the first wearable airbag vest that protects cyclists in their daily ride", B'safe provides protection to a rider's back, neck, and thorax.

That's particularly important, given that 40% of cyclists who receive serious injuries were affected in the thorax, while 25% suffered injuries affecting the spinal area. Since there's little protection available to cyclists looking to guard those areas, the inflatable B'safe should especially appeal to regular cyclists, like those who commute for work. This group is estimated at just under a million persons in the U.S. In Europe, it's believed that 7% of active citizens arrive at work everyday by bicycle.

None of those folks want to ride their bikes to work looking like a top-heavy version of the Michelin Man. The B'safe works by staying deflated -- essentially the same as an ordinary reflective vest -- until and unless a smart algorithm senses the prospect of an accident.

An international team of researchers recently published their discovery of fossilized human-like footprints in Crete that are approximately 5.7 million years old -- a find that suggests the origins of the human race might have begun in Crete and not, as has become accepted, in Africa.

In fact, the newly discovered fossilized prints that appear to be human date to a time when human ancestors in Africa possessed ape-like feet. This calls into question the idea, commonly held since the middle of the 20th century, that a previous discovery of fossils of Australopithecus in South and East Africa placed the origin of humanity there.

The space agency says that the historic flight, involving a remotely operated Ikhana aircraft, helps the United States to edge closer to making similar unmanned flights more normal in areas where private and commercial pilots also operate.

In fact, a NASA press release indicates that such remotely flown trips could open up different possibilities, such as monitoring and putting out wildfires and conducting emergency search-and-rescue missions.

Ed Waggoner, NASA’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program director, said, “This is a huge milestone for our Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System project team. We worked closely with our Federal Aviation Administration colleagues for several months to ensure we met all their requirements to make this initial flight happen.”

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