When we first covered Rocket 2008, I wrote about a few entries in the sustainability category. However when visiting the exhibit on the weekend we saw some pretty remarkable work in the "natural disaster category. Andrew Leinonen proposes Solarial, an unmanned airship that provides mobile support for disaster relief, generating renewable energy and supplying communication links where they are needed most. (see more at ::Pull the Sky Down)
Angelo Giovannone designed Guardian Angel, which is not just for natural disasters but could be useful for anyone who lives near or works or plays on water. It is a personal flotation device built from durable materials, but also integrates a hardshell backpack with a shovel, first aid kit, water filter and bladder, bungee cords and and tools.
I was really excited about Marc Boulianne's WIT (warmth in transition) gear that built on Stanford University research that found that the palms of our hands act as heat regulators; they have developed equipment for use in surgery that keeps patients warm by just warming their hands. When the research first came out, I had the same idea of keeping the core warm by building handwarmers into neoprene gloves. Unfortunately I consulted with a doctor, who informed me that when the body hits cold water, it reduces blood flow to the extremities so that heat is not lost through the surface of the limbs, so under a full body immersion it wouldn't work. Was I wrong?
When firefighters are in the field, they have all kinds of different phones, walkie-talkies and electronics that have to be kept charged. But what to do with all those batteries? Bonnie Van Tassel designed a special storage unit with its own big supply of lithium-ion batteries so that they could all be kept together in one place and recharged; now a single unit needs to be plugged in to manage all of the disparate batteries and phones.
All found at the very impressive Rocket 2008 show.