This gesture recognition bracelet is one of the cool new gadgets that lets you control devices by moving your hands.
Invented by Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant, the MYO armband (derived from the prefix "myo" meaning related to muscle) can identify hand gestures by interpreting biometric signals in your arm.
When making a particular hand motion such as pointing, the armband can identify the gesture, which allows the pointing motion to be associated with a specific command for a digital device.
You can use hand signals to interact with televisions, computers, phones or any smart technology system. The importance of this technology is that it enables you to interact more naturally with devices by reducing the need for input peripherals like mice, keyboards or touchscreens.
The problem with current gesture recognition technology like Wii by Nintendo or Kinect by Microsoft, is that it requires you to be in a specific location.
This is because motion sensors and cameras require positioning coordinates to accurately intrepret your motions using complex algorithms.
The MYO technology does not require positioning coordinates and therefore allows greater freedom of movement.
Gestures are identified by muscular and electrical activity in the forearm. This detection occurs without any electrodes touching the skin, and the recognition is instantaneous.
Myo currently recognizes about 20 gestures. For example, it recognizes the swiping motions we use to scroll a page on a touchscreen.
MYO is designed as a one-size-fits-all device. It uses Bluetooth 4.0, features on-board, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and works out-of-the-box with your Mac or Windows PC.
The launch of approximately 25,000 units is expected later this year.
Talking With Your Appliances
One of the cool new gadgets to hit the market is a touchscreen device that allows you to communicate with anything consuming energy in your home.
Inventor Seth Frader-Thompson's new invention has been named one of the "best new gadgets" and "breakthrough ideas of the year" by Time Magazine.
The EnergyHub Dashboard is a device that allows you to wirelessly communicate with all your appliances.
The touch screen device receives wireless information from "plug-ins" in your electrical sockets and provides details of usage for every energy consuming product in the home - everything from your furnace and air conditioner to a specific light bulb, cell phone or alarm clock.
It even tracks leak current (the power used by devices that are plugged-in but not being used).
Although many of us are motivated to reduce our carbon footprint and power consumption by changing our lights or upgrading to Energy Star appliances, this doesn't tell us exactly what's happening with consumption.
Our utility bills give us total power usage but nothing about what would happen if our thermostat was reduced by a few degrees or if a specific appliance was replaced, shut-off or used on a certain schedule.
The EnergHub provides this type of information and allows you to control and schedule the energy usage of anything in the home.
RCA has developed a prototype of a cool new gadget capable of producing wireless electricity from radio frequencies in the air.
According to a company spokesman at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the device recharged a Blackberry from a 30% battery charge to full charge within 90 minutes.
The handheld wireless device (Airnergy) uses an antenna to absorb energy from frequencies and convert them into DC power inside its casing.
The gadget is then connected via a USB port to charge your cell phone or mobile internet device.
Airnergy charges itself 24/7.
This product is expected to be available in a few years.
Related: Simple inventions that create electricity.
Creating cool new gadgets is nothing new for inventor Jem Stansfield.
Wearing a contraption made from vacuum cleaners, wooden panels, hoses and latex rubber, he crawled 120 ft up the side of a building in London.
During a science festival he used the same gear to climb a high school to the disbelief of onlookers who witnessed the feat.
I couldn't believe that it actually worked and was shocked to see him ascending the wall," said festival organizer Richard Robinson.
"I came across the idea for the vacuum cleaners when I was doing a challenge to make superhuman powers out of junk," says Jem, an aeronautics scientist.
Making strange inventions is not unusual for the 39 year-old. When companies need weird inventions, they turn to Jem to make them.
He has created special effects for movies (Lost in Space and Van Helsing) and special exhibits for Science Museums.
He is credited with inventing the first air-powered motorcycle and has won the New Scientist Award for inventing boots that walk on water.
Jem is a co-host on BBC's popular science show Bang Goes The Theory, a television series that airs from a high-tech studio located in a disused supersonic wind tunnel.
The British scientist creates his innovations to inspire science students to think outside the box.
"Jem's ingenuity is mind-boggling" says Liz Bonnin of Bang Goes the Theory.
What's next for Stansfield?
He plans to drive a car powered by coffee beans.
Invented by Sungwoo Park, this cool new gadget is a portable scanning device that reads printed text and converts it into a voice.
The Voice Stick can read any written document such newspapers, books and mail.
It was the Gold Medal winner at the International Design Excellence Awards for new inventions.
Source: International Design Excellence Awards
Pickup Truck Accessory
Rick Ayotte is a general contractor. He drives a pickup truck. And he had a problem he wanted to solve.
For over 25 years, on most days, Rick would be carrying lumber or other materials that extend out the back of his truck.
The law stipulates, that a red marker must be used on such loads to warn motorists traveling behind your vehicle.
In fact, the laws concerning the marking of projected loads are very specific.
But the markers commonly used are red plastic ribbons, cloths, cardboard, rags or whatever makeshift jerry-rigged solution one can improvise.
Perhaps you've seen some of these improvised markers on the road or you've seen stuff sticking out the back of trucks with no markers at all. "I'd arrive at my destination and discover that the wind usually tore my marker apart or it fell off," explains Rick.
As a contractor, Rick is accustomed to using specialized tools and wanted a specific tool for marking his loads. But there wasn't any. There is no tool or pickup truck accessory for this purpose.
In fact, Rick discovered that what he was using as markers were illegal. "It's a big risk to take, even more so if you're in an accident," he admits.
So Rick decided to create a tool for this task.
It had to be attachable to any load, convenient, easy to use, durable, reliable, and conform to all the legal requirements for markers.
After years of designing and testing, Rick invented a marker tool that is fast becoming a popular pickup truck accessory.
As most inventors can tell you, it's not easy getting their inventions into large retail chains.
But with no help, that is exactly what Rick has done.
Dozens of retailers started selling his product as soon as it was available, and they're reordering.
"I think if you carry loads, or have a pickup truck, you will like this tool," says Rick.
Vibrations Relieve Pain
An orthopedic surgeon has invented a cool new gadget for relieving lateral epicondylitis - commonly known as tennis elbow.
Vibration therapy has proven to be the most effective method for treating tennis elbow as supported by research published in medical literature.
However, the treatment has required large and expensive equipment which is only available in hospitals.
Dr. Vhadra has created a portable, strap-on device that can generate the same low frequency vibrations generated in much larger machines used for treating lateral epicondylitis.
The device, known as Tenease, stimulates blood flow to an afflicted area, which stops pain and promotes healing.
Tenease has been rigorously tested and awarded approval as a medical invention by the MHRA (Medicines and Healhcare Products Regulatory Authority), a government regulatory agency of the U.K. Department of Health.
Inventor Scott Turner had an idea on how to quickly and easily unclog a sink or bath drain.
Most sinks or tubs become clogged or slow draining because of hair accumulated in the drain trap.
Chemical cleaners, plungers, and compressed air devices are not very effective in removing hair.
Scott's invention is the clever use of a hook and loop pad attached to a 26 inch long flexible cable.
The pad has tiny barbs that instantly snags and pulls entangled hair out of a drain. It works.
It's also inexpensive, eco-friendly, safe and reusable, which is why the Flexisnake has become such a popular tool in many households.