Scrooser – A Harley Davidson for the Sidewalk

The Scrooser has been designed by a team in based in Dresden, Germany and there’s some pretty nifty technology built in. The first thing to notice from the video is that the thick tires on the Scrooser make riding it a very different experience from other two wheeled vehicles. It tilts and glides in a way that certainly looks more akin to snowboarding than riding a scooter. The fact that it is still a scooter meaning that you need to propel it with your feet but allowing the electric engine to enhance your action means that it’s probably a lot better for you than riding a motorbike or driving your car. The electric “impulse drive” engine  is a pretty clever piece of tech, learning the way you scoot and providing just the right amount of back up power when necessary.

The Scrooser has a range of around 35 kms but nearer to 55 kms when the “impulse drive” is running. The folks at Scrooser claim that this is equivalent to 25 days of urban Scroosing (<- see what I just did?) on a single charge. Charging should take between 1 and 5 hours depending on the power source. The Scrooser’s elegant minimalist design and eco-credentials certainly make it stand out and have already got it nominated for  the category “mobility” in the GreenTec Awards 2013, which honors pioneers who are committed to a more environmentally conscious future.

The team at Scooser are currently running a Kickstarter campaign and have hit about 50% of their total funding target with 19 days to go. You can be one of the first to own a Scrooser for the princely sum of $3,950 at Kickstarter.

I’ve Got A Tricorder and it’s Smaller Than Yours Spock

I remember watching Star Trek the original series as a slightly techno-nerdy kid and being in deep envy of Spock and his Tri-corder. A near magical device that could give him information on everything from someone’s health to how to find the local green grocers. Looking back on it the odd Bakelite black box with the press button controls was a very 1960’s idea of what future technology might look like but like so many things in Science Fiction we can look forward 50 years now and find some startling parallels.

I was intrigued to discover this week that a group at the University of Illinois has invented an iPhone cradle device that can be made for around $200  and turns your iPhone into the equivalent of a $50,000 spectrophotometer.  For those a little less dorky than myself, a spectrophotometer can be used to detect the presence of proteins in various samples of bodily fluid or water which is useful for detection of infection or contamination. As a simple field device for rapid sample analysis this has the potential to save lives and prevent hardship in places around the world where sophisticated medical analysis laboratories aren’t readily available. The whole device increases the size of the iPhone by about 25%.

Not impressed yet? Take a look at Lapka an iPhone device that can detect humidity, radiation, synthetic nitrates and electro magnetic frequencies. By all accounts this is just the start of the small revolution in hand held computing putting all sorts of new diagnostic devices in the palm of our hands. Whether in five years time we’ll be holding this technology or wearing it will depend largely on the success of new augmented reality technologies like Google Glass.  One things for sure though, the next five years will see us having more information about our surroundings than ever before, what we do with that information is still the province of science fiction!