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05 Apr

Google is taking advantage of its sizable collection of Maps app users to make the service more beneficial to people with disabilities.

People with mobility challenges are typically not taken into account in the realm of transportation. Which is odd when one considers that practically every other need -- from restaurant reviews to boutique store locations -- can be had by selecting an icon or two on a Google Maps display.

To be sure, Google Maps currently indicates if a particular location is wheelchair accessible, thanks to the efforts of one of the company's employees. Now, though, the company allows people to tap into crowdsourcing information from its 30 million global Local Guides. Users are submitting photos and tips about neighborhood locations. In return, they receive minor perks such as beefed up storage space.

Google requires crowdsourcing contributors to provide feedback to five questions, such as whether a location has accessible bathrooms or entrances, when contributing a review for a business or other location.

03 Apr

Bikes are a popular mode of transportation in big cities, where getting around in vehicles can be taxing. But some still prefer walking over cycling, even though it adds extra time to get from Point A to B.

Thanks to a new electric bike, walkers can have the best of both worlds. Instead of pedaling to get where you want to go, the Lopifit lets you walk on a treadmill while the wheels move you forward. Powered by a 350W lithium-ion battery, you can cross 30 to 50 miles or more with each charge, making it ideal for getting around your city each day.

01 Apr

In 2016, a series of earthquakes hit Kumamoto, Japan, killing 50 people and injuring another 3,000. The incident sparked interest in homes that could survive such an event, with sales surging for the Japan Dome Houses that had been on the market for more than 15 years.

The homes are made from Styrofoam, which is the same product that keeps to-go food and coffee warm. For the houses, the inventors are using a strengthened form of Styrofoam that is both stronger and more compact. The homes are modular, being fitted together in only a week. Each piece weighs about 176 pounds. Not only are the homes stronger in an earthquake, but they’re also less expensive to build than traditional housing (approximately $70,000 USD). The homes are small, measuring at about 387 square feet with a ceiling of less than ten feet. Due to the material’s insulating ability, the homes are also more eco-friendly than traditional houses.

30 Mar

The company, known for having come up with various non-traditional products over the years (including a touchscreen composed of ice), introduced its latest innovation at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018.

Known as the CHASE LifeTech FR (that all stands for Connected Health and Safety Equipment LifeTech First Responders), the smart garment was developed with Kolon, a fashion brand from South Korea, and Czech Republic-based software developer GINA.

The jacket's day-glow yellow color resembles that worn by many firefighters and police, but its high-tech features set it apart from an ordinary emergency-worker garment.

According to a review from Engadget, the jacket boasts modular sensors that permit the user to tap into information such as motion, heart rate, temperature, and location/GPS. The upside of all of those modules is that they can be traded out to suit the wearer's needs -- so that a firefighter could opt for a temperature sensor and a policeman could exchange that for, say, a body cam.

28 Mar

Forget space-age fantasies with vehicles whizzing through the air, only to drop back down to Earth for a while and then go zooming up into the atmosphere.

Flying cars are literally poised for takeoff.

At the recent Geneva Motor Show, Dutch company Pal-V introduced its Liberty Flying Car and promised that deliveries of the vehicle could happen as soon as next year.

The red three-wheeler, which apparently can drive onto streets as well as fly above them to avoid traffic and other impediments, was joined at the show by another flying vehicle, the Pop.Up Next, a joint venture of Italdesign, Audi, and Airbus. However, their quadcopter/electric car isn't expected to be commercially available until around 2025.

Pal-V, which stands for Personal Air and Land Vehicle, came up with the Liberty vehicle out of "frustration," according to company head Robert Dingemanse. That's because, he was quoted by Phys.org as saying, in an airplane, "you start at a point where you don't want to start and you end up in a place where you don't want to be. The Pal-V is the perfect product for city-to-city mobility."

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