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Posts Tagged ‘Inventions’

IBM to build 1000 times faster PCs

Since technology is boomed faster, inventions are also faster. IBM the computer makers says – get ready for next-generation computers and smart phones that are up to 1000 times faster than the system you use today. IBM is developing “skyscraper” computers using huge sandwiches of silicon chips by sticking layer of chips covered with tiny […]

9 Life-Changing Inventions the Experts Said Would Never Work

The lightbulb. The telephone. Email. If you’re a specialist in your field, there are two ways to become a household name: create something new…or claim it can never be done. If you want to be remembered on the Internet, choose the second one. Here are 9 examples of breakthroughs, inventions and innovations the experts were completely wrong about.

1. The Electric Lightbulb

“… good enough for our transatlantic friends … but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.” British Parliamentary Committee, referring to Edison’s light bulb, 1878.

“Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure.” Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison’s light bulb, 1880.

The Brits get sniffy about American innovation (not for the first time) – and miss the invention of the century. Now our light bulbs comes in all shapes and sizes, and we’re eco-innovating faster than ever. Not too shabby for a conspicuous failure.

2. The A/C

“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” Thomas Edison, 1889.

Oh Tom, you were doing so well. Edison enjoyed sniping at the efforts of his rival George Westinghouse (who bought the patent for a/c transmission from Nikola Tesla), and look where it got him. Fact is, it’s easier and far more efficient to distribute power with a/c than with Edison’s darling direct current. Oops.

3. The Personal Computer

We have reached the limits of what is possible with computers. John Von Neumann, 1949

Somewhat wide of the mark. Along came the integrated circuit (better known as the microchip), and things went crazy. Computers have allowed our species to really connect. We can even study and regulate our own planet – and there’s still no computing limits in sight.

4. The Microchip

“But what… is it good for?” An engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip in 1968.

Hardly anything – well, apart from virtually every piece of electronic equipment in gadgets, vehicles, computer networks, power stations, homes, offices and every other conceivable part of everyday life for this century and probably the next. But otherwise, yes – useless.

5. Data Transmission

“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959.

“Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1962.

A brilliant scientist, Gabor received the Nobel Prize for inventing holography – but entirely failed to anticipate e-mail and the modem. (To be fair, so did everyone else). Nowadays, entire bookshelves can be transmitted for a few cents in the blink of an eye, making scientific collaboration a truly global enterprise. And all without rockets.

6. Online Shopping

“Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” TIME, 1966.

It’s true that both sexes like the tactile experience of shopping in person. But e-commerce? As PayPal’s proft margins will attest, remote shopping is here to stay – and helps get money to where it’s most needed.

7. The Automobile

“The ordinary “horseless carriage” is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle.” Literary Digest, 1899.
If only that were true. But the infernal combustion engine shows no signs of slowing – in 2005, an estimated 53 million new cars hit the world’s streets, fuelling all sorts of problems. Happily, we’re fast rediscovering the bicycle and rethinking the automobile.

8. The Television

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”
Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.

Dream on. There are currently around 220 million “impossibilities” in the United States alone. TV is everywhere. It’s just a shame the old types are full of lead – but every year sees a cleaner version, like the new Philips Eco FlatTV.

9. Possibility

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Supposedly said by Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899 – except he probably didn’t. So the last word goes to actor and humorist Peter Ustinov:

“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.”

The Wonderful World of Prison Inventions

Someone once said that necessity is the mother of all invention. Prison is one of the few places where very few common wants and needs are fulfilled; resources are incredibly limited and ardently regulated. Prisoners, who are not content to only posses what “the man” tells them they can have, are forced to use their critical thinking skills (prison-genuity, anyone?) to craft what can be some very MacGyver type shit. As many of us know from experience, situations in prison sometimes call for something a little more intimidating than a whittled down toothbrush shiv, or a sharpened spoon. The following is a tribute to those not satisfied with the standard prison accommodations – we have The Wonderful World of Prison Inventions:
Basic Needs

Cigarette Lighter

With cigarettes being the go-to currency of choice for prisoners (at least the movies would have you believe this), there wouldn’t be much use for a smokable commodity if there was no way to light it. Prisoners are forbidden from having lighters and matches for obvious reasons, so some clever inmates have devised a way around the rules. This example of a lighter is a simple yet intelligent design, a AA battery is wrapped in duct tape with a wire strapped to the negative end. Simplly touch the other side of the wire to the positive end and the metal coil in the center of the wire heats up. 

Tattoo Gun

While your in prison, why not get a tattoo to commemorate ” the time of your life”, and there’s also no better way of showing your commitment to what ever gang you choose to join while in the clink. The basic design uses any form of battery to power a small motor, which in turn pushes a needle in and out of a pen to give inmates authentic jailhouse tats. Sadly choice of colors is usually limited to whatever Bic’s they have on hand and are typically blue or black. Beggars (Neo-Nazi’s included) can’t be choosers though.


Just because you got thrown in the slammer doesn’t mean you might not get the occasional chance to enjoy some weed. Stoners, who are notorious for being able to shape a pipe out of anything litterally, occasionaly get locked up and are forced to use their skills on the inside. The above example is fashioned out of a tube of German horseradish and has a great design, not only because it functions well, but for the fact that it is very incognito in case of the occasional room toss. At a quick glance its really just looks like an ordinary tube of something. Genius, pure genius.

Hidden Shiv

The sodomite, who thought he’d take advantage when he saw his roomate bent over kneeling in prayer, probably got a big surprise when this crucifix magically transformed into a very mean looking stabbing weapon.

Razor Comb

Its hard to see in this picture, but there are three razor blades attached by copper wire and a shoelace, to this “unbreakable” plastic comb. This is the type of weapon to use for minor altercations such as Scrabble areguments, or getting that “creepy fucker” out of your favorite chair, but wouldn’t be all that effective in a full blown shower fight. Truly a weapon for your day-to-day type needs.

Rash Knuckles

This variation on brass knuckles works incredibly well for cutting faces and smashing motherfucking jaws, or, if your a fancy-pants, for adding a little fresh grated parmesan (Gene!) to the typically bland prison gourmet.

Whip/Cat-o-nine tails

Nothing says foreplay like a few lashes from this bad boy. This invention works well because of it’s lengthy reach and compact design, and is probably more of an intimidation tool rather than a lethal weapon. After all if someone approached you with a electrical taped shard of glass and you pull this out, they’ll at least think twice before charging in.

Dummy Gun

A dummy gun made to look exceptionally real works well for prison escapes because you can use it to take a hostage and at a distance it looks very much like the real thing. As long as whoever you are using this on thinks the gun is real it serves a funtional purpose.

Zip Gun

A zip gun is a homemade gun that can either has a pin to fire real bullets, or like this one, to fire everyday projectiles. Strike anywhere match heads, or other combustibles, can be used as a charge to fling nuts, bolts, or rocks at lethal or near lethal speeds.

4 Barreled Zip Gun

This is a variation on the zip gun that really shows complex, well thought out design. There are four barrels all loaded with a projectile, the end of the gun operates on a swivel that brings each barrel around to the firing pin, creating essentially a semi-automatic weapon. After all, doesn’t everyone remember the old saying, “In the land of the shiv, the man with the 4 chambered zip gun is king”

Advanced Engineering

Alcohol Still Heating Coil

The razorblades on the end of this modified extension cord act as a heater to be used for making alcoholic beverages. Just smuggle some fruit or other fermentable food back to the cell, drop in the heating coil, and voila! you have your own moonshine/whiskey still. This gets bonus points for also doubling as a weapon if someone tries to steal the fruits of your hard labor.

Salt & Pepper Shaker

In prison, inmates have to go without even the most basic comforts such as a salt and pepper shaker. Poor guys, right? Well not for long… This advanced design shows thats some prisoners (“pussies”, we call them on the outside) make items for everyday use, just to make them feel a little more normal – as opposed to only making weapons meant to kill fools who get caught steppin’.

Toaster/Heating Grill

This is a grill that could be used for preparing food, and is fashioned from wire, tin foil, and a busted heating rod. Although it does show a great measure of ingenuity, the failure of the design is that it is rather large and easily confiscated by over zealous wardens who don’t want anyone to have any fun.

Muff Bag

Probably the biggest complaint and hardship for any prisoner is the lack of voluntary coitus to something that is or resembles a vagine, and if your doing a lifetime bid in the joint, even masturbation gets a bit dull after a while. More industrious prisoners have fashioned makeshift sex dolls, called “muffbags”, to help cope with their carnal desires. It is simply a blanket, rolled tightly with some platic wrap complemented by some baby oil to lube it up. Sounds great, but i have to mention that the sex doll does bear an unmistakable like to an ass. Even in prison with a home made sex doll you cant get away from the anal sex stereotype. C’est la vie…

The 10 Freakiest Japanese Gadgets

Japan is a mystical, historic land with a long, rich history. It’s also home to the absolutely strangest toys, gadgets and inventions in the world. We take a look at some of the coolest – and freakiest – Japanese gadgets out there.

Airyusha Robotan Toilet Paper Holder

With all the focus on toilets and making the process of going to the bathroom the best it can be, now you can have a robot regurgitating toilet paper out to you. Mount the robotan toilet paper holder on the wall and thread in your toilet paper and you’re ready to go!


Cigarettes may be bad for you, but you wouldn’t want to look uncool without that cigarette in your hand. That’s where e-Cigarettes can help. Electronic cigarettes emits vapor instead of the toxins in regular cigarette smoke, giving you the same great nicotine additive. E-cigarettes include a lithium battery that needs to be recharged, and also comes in e-Cigar and e-Pipe forms for the more distinguished fake smokers out there.

King’s Ideas Ear Wax Camera/Cleaner 

Who wants to walk around with wax in your ears? No one, which is why the Japanese have a freaky device especially for spotting and getting rid of that unsightly wax – an unwieldy mini camera that you point toward your ear, connected to a viewing screen so you can see what’s in there for yourself!


Anyone can carry around a sleek phone nowadays. To stand out in a crowd, choose ultimate cuteness: The Kuma teddy bear phone. Think about it: You’re in a business meeting and you hear that familiar ring. “One second, I’ve got to get this,” you say, secure in the knowledge that your partners will be impressed by your importance. And then you take out your teddy bear, cradle it to your face and accept the call. “Hello?” you ask the teddy bear, content in the idea that your business partners are now also consumed with envy over the cuteness of your cell phone.

Masaki Pet Plant 

You like the idea of living things being accessories, but you can’t afford an entourage. No problem. Just buy this multi-purpose accessory and you can use a living plant as earrings, a necklace, a keychain or dangly ring. Sure it requires a little maintenance to stay looking fresh and lively, but everything for fashion, right?

Shimajiro Toilet Training Tiger 

Sure, we may have dolls that pretend to pee in Western culture, but that’s nothing compared to toilet training in Japan. There, little ones can have their own strange little friends during this struggle to learn to use the toilet – an animated tiger and his animated, personified poop. The video of the tiger and poop’s antics is part of a whole toilet training gift set that comes with a toy that attaches to a toilet paper holder and can encourage your little one as they’re learning their new skills!

Thanko Face Mask 

You know when you’re wearing your face make to protect you from Swine Flu but your face gets kinda hot? We don’t either, but it’s the merging of two popular products in Japan: the ubiquitous face mask and USB-powered technology. Just pop on this mask and you’ll be protected from airborne diseases AND heat rash.

Toto’s mp3 Toilet 

We’ve all had that feeling – where we’re sitting on the toilet and we think to ourselves, you know what would make this situation better? Some awesome music. Now, you can have it all with the mp3 toilet. Just insert an SD memory stick with your favorite tunes on it into the wall-mounted player and soon you’re jamming to your favorite music while sitting on the potty because it’s coming straight from the receiver put under the toilet seat.

Tuttuki Bako Finger Game Box 

Ever want to play a game but you were just too tired to use your whole hand? The Tuttuki Finger Game Box may be for you! The handheld game system consists of different stages where you poke your finger into a hole on the side of the device (represented by a digital image) and move your finger around, trying to accomplish certain objectives on screen – like poking a girl in the face, having a fight with a stick figure man and flicking to swing a tiny panda.


Here in the Western world, we think of USBs as the way we transfer information to and from our computers and some other high-tech gadgets. In Japan, USBs are used to power just about everything – from heated mittens to beverage coolers. You can even make sure you’re not sweating in your shirt with a USB-powered shirt fan. And the plain USB memory sticks? They’re available shaped as everything and anything. You can carry around your big presentation on a variety of different sushi fish, or your kid can head to school with toys ranged from Dracula to Winnie-the-Pooh-shaped memory sticks.

Bicycle Inventions

12 Coolest Low Tech Inventions

Amphibious Bike

Li Weiguo is the man who designed and built this floating bicycle, and the girl riding it is his daughter Li Jin. His amphibious bicycle has eight water buckets that act as pontoons and adjustable vane wheels that provide the driving power. It might not look as good as other custom made bikes, but at least you can ride it on water and land alike, and that’s the whole point. The amphibious bike was presented on May 30 2009, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. 

 Eye-contact mirror for web cam

“Here is looking at you, Kid” by Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl, is a low-tech way of fixing the annoying aspect of video conferencing where participants are not making “eye-contact” through their web cameras. Rather than looking at the camera, the typical person stares at their screen, thus not making eye contact with the person they are chatting with. The device is made of a mirror, some glass with mirror foil, and a piece of cardboard, in order to mimic what a teleprompter does to text for a TV news anchor. The result allows the viewer’s eye contact to connect with the person and a final manufacturer fix might be to integrate the camera behind the LCD screen so that you can actually look directly at the other person. 

 Knitting Privacy Protector

A simple, low-tech solution to the problem of public laptop privacy designed by artist Rebecca Stern (Source)

Moped Cone

This invention, despite of its simple brilliance and usability (the Swedish Army had tons of these for their motorcycle messengers in the day), was overrun by newer technology – like the motorcycle helmet with covering visor. The moped cone over time infiltrated into civilian life, and although it was mocked and ridiculed it was pretty smart in its simplicity. When riding a moped or motorcycle in the winter, and as long as you kept a reasonable speed, the cone helped form a cushion of warm air in front of your face, preventing the cold winter air from entering and deep-freezing your face. This surely saved a lot of noses from frostbite. In the summer the cone would prevent raindrops or insects from hitting your face, but as far as we can remember they were mostly used in the winter. 

Adjustable Glasses

British inventor Josh Silver began working on eyeglasses that can be tuned by the wearer in 1985. His goal is to bring better vision to a billion people worldwide who cannot afford, or don’t have access to, an optometrist. He has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device’s tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.

The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription.
Silver’s goal is to distribute a billion pairs of his adaptive glasses to poor people by 2020 .

Already, 30,000 pairs have been given out in 15 countries. Her hopes to get the cost of manufacturing each pair down to a dollar each. 


Under the sign of his “eco-gym,” Gimnasio Ecológico Lumen, Manuel de Arriba Ares has turned the demon of entropy on its head. Making use of the very waste and byproducts of the modern entropic economy, Arriba has created a truly practical monument in the form of a supremely low-tech gymnasium. Its fitness machines, created with a good deal of physical effort over three years from raw and junked materials such as wood, rope, and rubber, directly mirror both the design and functionality of those found within its wasteful counterpart. 

Located in the small town of Valdespino de Somoza in the north of Spain, Arriba offers free access for all to this functional work of Art Brut, a wonderful Heath Robinsonesque assemblage constructed from remnants of strollers, boats, bicycles, and automobiles salvaged from neighboring dumps. Helpful signs, painted on the tarnished white remnants of refrigerators, instruct the would-be eco-gymnast on exercises and operation of the intricate machinery, reflecting Arriba’s knowledge and experience over many years as a physical education teacher. 

Rolling Water Container

We take running water for granted, but millions of people in the developing world are forced to carry buckets of water home (sometimes from miles away). Innovation like this Q Drum rolling container makes their lives a little easier. 

Low-tech scuba dive system

Using a pipe connected to a rudimentary oxygen compressor, divers from Bangladesh can go as low as 200ft in some of the world’s most fast-flowing rivers.

It’s a kind of low-tech scuba diving: the divers use a pipe connected to a compressor which is normally used for blowing up tyres. They go out into the middle of the river on a boat, tie themselves to a rope and dive in. The idea is that if they get into any kind of trouble, they pull on the rope to indicate that there is an emergency.

Non-electrical Refrigerator

Mohammed Bah Abba made a really cool invention, w
hich won a Rolex Award of $100,000 –a refrigerator than runs without electricity. Here’s how it works. You take a smaller pot and put it inside a larger pot. Fill the space in between them with wet sand, and cover the top with a wet cloth. When the water evaporates, it pulls the heat out with it, making the inside cold. It’s a natural, cheap, easy-to-make refrigerator.

Evaporative fridges are a relatively well-tested, proven, low-tech approach to cooling. They can cool produce, food and beverages at about 15-20 C below ambient temperatures. They are most appropriate in hot, dry (not humid) climates 

Breath Detector

A very low-tech instrument to detect if you have bad breath. 

Batphones (hear amplifier)

The name alone makes these worth writing about: Batphones. The low-tech hearing aid is an update to simply cupping your hand to your ear. The side “scoops” channel sound from in front directly into the ear, much as a satellite dish focusses the signal into the antenna. Matthias Ries’ concept isn’t meant to be a replacement for regular hearing aids, but more as an enhancement for people talking in loud places, or those with a small amount of hearing loss. 

Japanese Hot Tub

No bubbles, no jets, no electricity, nothing to break, just deep hot water up to your neck. Asians have known for thousands of years the benefits of sitting alone immersed in hot water. Basically, it is just a plywood box with a cool Oriental name (Furo). At first glance it seems like you may have your knees in your mouth, but this is not the case, due to your natural buoyancy—you feel so good you just don’t care. You get the same benefits of a hot tub, but none of the contamination consequences, plus you get to be alone and not feel completely antisocial.

Incredible and Bizarre Underwater Inventions and Feats

The mysteries that lie in the depths of the underworld at sea have captivated mankind for centuries. Scientists, researchers and madcap human beings alike have recently attempted to master this foreign world with incredible, bizarre and whacky underwater inventions and feats. Let’s take a look at them. 

Hug a Shark

It’s far from your average 9 to 5 day job — a film-maker has set out to convince the world that one of the planet’s most misunderstood creatures whom most live in fear of at sea is not the vicious, flesh eating killing machine we make them out to be.

Rob Stewart is a dedicated shark hugger on a mission and says we need to stop fearing and start caring for sharks, or they’ll soon become extinct. 

In his award-winning film ‘Sharkwater,’ the 28 year old biologist teamed up with Sea Shepherd’s renegade conservationist Paul Watson, travelling to 14 countries and locations such as the Galapagos Islands to challenge man’s fear of the ocean predator by getting up close and personal with the sharks as he swims, touches, and even hugs them.

Stewart says he has loved sharks since he was a child, seeing them as beautiful ocean creatures, and dedicated his career working to gain the trust of the creatures in attempt to prove that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get to know them — fearsome teeth and all.

Armed with nothing more than an underwater camera, Stewart has made an art of becoming accepted into their world by calmly entering their waters.

“Sharks can see us with more than their eyes. They can sense our energy and they viewed me as a threat.” says Stewart.

The Canadian said nearly 90% of the world’s shark population has been wiped out from ‘finning’ – for making shark fin soup – and distrust of the creatures. 

He insists they’re not nightmarish man eaters to be feared. “If sharks ate people I would have been killed a long time ago.” he said. “Most sharks have teeth that are ineffective cutting tools.”

Sailing aboard the Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior, their 4-year journey brought them in conflict with poachers in Guatemala and the Taiwanese mafia. Early on, at the invitation of the Costa Rican government, the ship was rammed by a boat illegally fishing in Guatemalan waters off the coast of Costa Rica — and everything changed.

“We ended up getting charged with attempted murder in Costa Rica.” Stewart said, explaining that the Taiwanese mafia — which had connections with local officials — was illegally harvesting shark fins. 

“There were millions of dollars in fins in dozens of illegal shark-finning operations that the authorities were ignoring.” he said. “After being chased and threatened by operators with guns, our guide admitted that the ‘shark-fin mafia’ was on the lookout and it would not be a good idea to be seen in town.” 

After weeks of combating attempted murder charges in Costa Rica, Stewart and the crew fled to avoid arrest in an epic chase, wrapping barbed wire around their boat so the coast guard couldn’t leap onboard, and headed to international waters.

“This was supposed to be a shark film.” Stewart said. “We ended up running while the coast guard was chasing us with machine guns. It turned into a really different human drama with a shark movie intertwined in it.”

Stewart now travels to schools, showing children footage of him swimming with and embracing sharks to educate kids about the importance of protecting them.

He says when sharks bite people, “It’s not a shark attack, it’s a shark mistake. When they bite, they realize they made a mistake, they got something they didn’t want, they let go. It’s really rare for flesh to actually be removed.”

In testament to how friendly some sharks may be to human advance, yours truly actually braved the shallow waters to ‘hug a shark’ once. While I don’t recommend being as brazen (or perhaps foolish) as I was, they are not always the fearsome creatures they’ve been made out to be.

What I found most surprising was the texture of the shark’s skin which was rough to the touch, with a very firm body — not fat, blubbery or slippery as I had imagined. The shark seemed to take my advance to pick it up without a hint of struggle or fear of humankind, in a sense, showing a trust.


Drive Underwater James Bond Style
More than 30 years after the famous movie scene from the thriller ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ in which James Bond was seen driving a car that doubled as a boat, the Swiss company Rinspeed has come up with the world’s first real submersible car that can actually ‘fly’ under water — the sQuba — an open-topped sports car that can go over land, above the waves and even under the water to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).

Rinspeed replaced the engine of a sports car with 3 electric motors in the back of the vehicle –1 to provide propulsion on land with powerful torque to drive the rear wheels and th
e other 2 driving the screws for underwater motoring and designed a salt water-resistant interior.

The engines are supported by 2 powerful Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion for opening and closing the water intake. The rotating outlet jets were designed to be extremely light yet twist resistant using high-tech nano materials, so-called Carbon Nano Tubes. 

When underwater, you’re enclosed in the vehicle thanks to light weight body components also made of Carbon Nano Tubes. Breathing air under water comes from a self-contained on-board system integrated tank of compressed air similar to those used by scuba divers. 

The car is able to drive on roads autonomously with a push of a button, thus without a driver, passenger or further assistance.

The company claims that their revolutionary vehicle is extremely “green” with a zero-emission. 

“For 3 decades I have tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly under water. Now we have made this dream come true.” said the avid James Bond Fan and Rinspeed boss, Frank Rinderknecht.

“It is undoubtedly not an easy task to make a car watertight and pressure resistant enough to be manoeuvrable under water. The real challenge, however, was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water.” 

“For safety reasons, we have built the vehicle as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency. With an enclosed cabin, opening the door might be impossible.” he added.

The sQuba made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008.

sQuba — Rinspeed’s First Underwater Car

Batman Boat Attempts World Record 
This powerboat with its sleek futuristic look in the agent 007 style has been designed to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe on 100% renewable fuel with a net zero carbon footprint.

The Earthrace project aims to shave 10 days off the near 75-day record while increasing awareness of environmentally-friendly biofuels, which set off from Sagunto, Spain on April 27 2008. The current record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe is currently 74 days, 23 hours and 53 minutes set by UK boat ‘Cable & Wireless Adventurer’ in 1998.

Earthrace is also undertaking a 2 year promotional tour, visiting 100 cities around the globe to meet and connect with people about the need to get renewable fuels into our energy mix and to inspire them to do something themselves to minimize their impact on the environment.

‘It is quite radical. It is mostly described as the “Batman boat”. Kids and men’s eyes do light up when they see it.’ said John Allen, operations manager.

With functions that even James Bond would be impressed by, the craft can submarine through heavy seas and notch up a higher average speed than regular boats by going up to 7 meters under water. 

“The long pointed nose means it cuts through waves and it can go underwater for short periods of time. As well as looking cool, the horns at the back also let air in when the boat is underwater.” John said. 

The sleek silver boat, worth about $2.9 million US (£1.5 million) will make a net zero carbon footprint during its trip by purchasing carbon offset to balance CO2 emissions. The B100 bio-diesel it uses emits around 20% of the CO2 given off by conventional diesel, but it’s equally efficient, allowing the boat to reach speeds of up to 40 knots. 

The Earthrace uses a range of environmentally friendly technologies, such as a low-emissions engine, non-toxic underwater paint and an efficient hull design. 

The project attracted the attention of Sir Richard Branson who took a 45-minute trip on the craft on the River Thames in London last September.

“We’re certainly looking at this as a possible project to get involved in and fund — it’s extremely worthwhile.” said Sir Branson. “I’m a big supporter of biofuels and I think it’s important to raise awareness of how efficient they are.” 

But John Allen said one thing very un-James Bond about the craft was the interior. “It looks cool from the outside but the interior is very bare. It is a race boat not a pleasure boat so it is not built for comfort.”


 Man Survives Underwater by Peeing on Algae
With survival hinging upon a coil of green algae which provided air in return for marine biologist Lloyd Godson urinating on plants each day, the Australian aquanaut spent 13 days living underwater in a 6 foot (2 meter) high yellow biosub capsule, pedaling a bike for electricity at a depth of 15 feet (5 meters) in a freshwater lake near the southeastern town of Albury.

Godson received funding for the project after winning a “Live Your Dream” Wildest Adventure Competition run by nature journal Australian Geographic for the world’s first attempt of a self-sufficient, self-sustaining underwater habitat. 

His partner and support crew member Carolina Sarasiti said he was not trying to break any underwater records. “It’s more of an experiment to use a few scientific concepts. He wanted to live his dream, which was to live underwater.” she said.

A team of divers provided meals to the capsule through a manhole in its base, while electricity came from the bike he pedaled as well as through a bank of onshore solar cells.

A single daily blast of fresh air was also provided from above, after trial and error with levels provided by the algae “biocoil.”

“It’s never been done before using air from the plants.” said Sarasiti, stating the experiment had been designed to prove whether an underwater environment could be self-sustaining.

Entertainment in the 2-metre by 3-metre capsule came from a drum kit which Godson could use at all hours without upsetting neighbors — other than the fish.

School kids from across the globe followed Godson’s underwater endeavor on his website. His physical and psychological state was measured daily and results were sent to the U.S. for evaluation.

“At times it [was] stressful, but more just exhausting from talking all day to [website] visitors and the press. I expected solitude and got the opposite.” Godson said.

Underwater Ironing World Record
Flattening the world record for ironing under water, 72 Australian scuba divers took the plunge off a pier near the southern city of Melbourne with ironing boards and irons, and their linen for a new rage in ‘extreme ironing.’

The Extreme Ironing website touts it as being the “latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt.”

In attempt to gain entry to the Guinness book of world records after taking their linen into murky, 9.8 foot (3 meter) depth in the ocean, ironically on April Food’s day this year, event organizer Debbie Azzopardi said the group eclipsed a 2005 record set in a swimming pool at nearby Geelong, which in turn beat a world mark set in New Zealand. 

“It was cold and I think they were bloody crazy.” said local councilor Tom O’Connor, who with police helped authenticate the new record.

The irons all had their electrical cords removed for the attempt, which took place in chilly pre-winter seas. 

“I was having a chardonnay (wine) a few years ago with a girlfriend and I thought I’m going to beat that. We had a few fish going by and a sting ray. It was great.” Azzopardi said.

Extreme Ironing Underwater World Record

Underwater World Record for Holding Breath
U.S. magician David Blaine broke the world record for holding his breath for a whopping 17 minutes and 4 seconds live on the Oprah Winfrey Show in a water tank on April 30, 2008. 

It was a feat few professional freedivers think is achievable with the best of conditions, let alone live on TV with the added pressure.

Known as ‘apnoea’ — the scientific term for breath-holding literally meaning “without air” — David attempted to slow his heart rate down to 46 beats per minute by relaxing in a meditative state as he had previously done in a test run, but was unable to get below 100 due to the anxiety of the live performance.

The higher the heart rate, the more quickly oxygen is consumed, and the more painful the carbon dioxide buildup. But his CO2 tolerance training (repeated breath holds every morning) was just enough to compensate. 

What Blaine does have which is extremely important for apnoea is highly developed mind control. 

“This discipline is a complete mind game.” says BFA chairwoman, Emma Farrell. “It is the most psychological of all the freediving disciplines as you have to have a clear mind and stay calm while you are just lying there.” 

In the last minute his heart rate became erratic — he became concerned and rose from the bottom of the water-filled sphere, keeping his head underwater more than a half minute longer than the previous record of 16:32. 

“I really thought I was not going to make it.” Blaine told NY Times afterwards. “At minute 12 I felt the pain coming, and by minute 14 it was overwhelming. This was a whole other level of pain. I still feel as if somebody hit me in the stomach with the hardest punch they could.” 

Besides the pressure of performing on television, he said there were other unexpected distractions working in the sphere — a heart-rate monitor happened to be close enough to his ear so that he heard its beeping, and he had to keep his feet locked in holds at the bottom of the sphere.

Before the stunt, the 35-year-old breathed pure oxygen through a mask — which is allowed under Guinness World Records rules — to help him. 

Blaine said afterwards it was a ‘lifelong dream’ to break the record. 

David Blaine Risks His Life Part 1

David Blaine Risks His Life Part 2

David Blaine Holds Breath for 17 Minutes

World’s First Underwater Post Office
Rooted beneath 9 feet 10 inches of turquoise sea in the small Hideaway Island marine sanctuary near Port Vila in Vanuatu is a fiberglass kiosk manned by postal workers in diving gear that sells waterproof postcards — with claims to be the world’s first and only underwater post office.

Situated about 165 feet (50 meters) offshore, The Vanuatu Post Office can receive ma
il delivered in person if you’re a visiting diver or snorkeler from this unique underwater paradise.

“When you’re out snorkeling it’s quite an easy duck dive and you’re there.” Hollins said from the tropical state of 80 islands and 190,000 people, 1,400 miles (2,254 kilometers) northeast of Sydney. 

The submarine post office is open for 1 to 2 hours a day, depending on how busy it gets, and has a special underwater franking machine that embosses the plasticated postcards. 

‘Marine life and water are very important to Vanuatu and tourism is pretty important so we just thought we’d see what we could do to boost tourism, do something different and have a bit of fun.’ said Ian Hollins, Vanuatu Post’s Chief Executive.. 

“The demand has been incredible. Visitors are excited by the prospect of visiting the site and sending a memento home to friends that is different to anything else they have come across.”

The Corporation is owned by the Government of Vanuatu and operates as a commercial enterprise but also has social obligations to provide improved access to services for the people of Vanuatu.