A Ford Zephyr with home made spoilers, a home made bike, a two-mile runway and a set of big brass balls. Thomas Donhou might not have had salt flats or enormous support teams, but he has a good imagination and a team of wily tinkerers on-side. Clearly sketchy in places, but exactly what we should all be doing on the weekends.
He says: “Inspired by those great men of the salt flats, those men that in the 60s pushed the Land Speed Record from the 300s up towards the 600mph mark in jet-propelled cars built in their sheds. We decided to do what we do: build a bicycle, but this time, in the spirit of those pioneers of speed, build it to see how fast we could go…”
This is a lovely piece of film making. It was on the Red Bull site, but it doesn’t feel like your common or garden Red Bull video. Sort of gently extreme. Also nice to hear someone using technical terms such as “we reached the ‘fuck it’ point and decided to just go for it”.
E X T R A B O N U S F I L M
Three mates rent a Boris bike and try to take it up to the top of Ventoux and back within 24 hours. Ventoux is one of (if not the) toughest stages in the Tour de France. Eddie Mercx needed oxygen at the top, and Lance Armstrong got crushed by it. But can Mayor of London tech get them through?
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Tagged bikes, bonneville, british, donhou, engineering, Ford Zephyr, innovation, land speed, Land Speed Record, record, salt flats, speed, Thomas Donhou
Well, this is just incredible. Translate, tilt, rotate…all sorts of things with an amazing technique.
MIT Media Lab is clever. Read about this technique here (it’s worth a look).
Soap bars are more efficient than liquid soap dispensers but are also a messy pain in the ass. Enter design student Nathalie Stämpfli’s Soap Flakes. It works like a pump dispenser and grates a small amount of soap into your hand when you pump the handle.
Today, most of the soap we use is liquid soap, which contains a lot of water. Block soap instead is more concentrated and therefore has some ecological benefits: You don’t transport unnecessary water around. In place of plastic bottles you can simply use paper for packaging. The solid blocks can easily be piled and allow a greater space efficiency in a truck.
But what about the usage of soap bars? I don’t like the weird slippery feeling when I use them. It gives me goose bumps. And under the shower, it always slides out of your fingers. Hand soap also often gets dirty and accumulates bacteria when more than one person is using it.
Embrace is a low-cost infant incubator for use in developing countries. About 20 million low-birth-weight and premature babies are born every year around the world. Four million die annually, and one of the biggest problems these babies face is staying warm, because they don’t have enough fat on their bodies to regulate their body temperature. As a result, many babies die or grow up with severe lifelong health problems. Temperature regulation is the primary function of a traditional incubator, but incubators can cost up to $20,000. They require a constant supply of electricity, they’re difficult to operate and you’re not going to find them in rural areas where many of these babies are dying.
Enter the Embrace Infant Warmer. It incorporates a phase change material — a wax-like substance — into a sleeping bag design. You heat this pouch of phase change material, and then once it’s melted, it’s able to maintain a constant temperature over the next 4 to 6 hours without the use of electricity. You place the pouch of phase change material in the sleeping bag, and it creates a warm microenvironment for the baby. They’ve gotten the cost down to less than one percent of the cost of a traditional incubator, and are currently in the process of testing the device. The whole team moved out to Bangalore about a year ago.
(Totally pinched from YMFY)