Good design for the 21st century

Wow, talk about more functional design! A spacesuit that doesn’t look like you’re wearing horribly cumbersome elephant’s pyjamas or a really cheesy robot costume. The new BioSuit, designed by MIT astronautics professor Dava Newman, gives the wearer greater flexibility, mobility, and comfort, all very important factors when spending hours doing EVA (ExtraVehicular Activity = spacewalk) work building the International Space Station and other tasks. Less cumbersome also means that a person can move more naturally, which is simply good ergonomics; wearing the suit will be less fatiguing and straining to the body. (More information about the suit design at her lab’s Web site.) Personally, I would think all that snug pressure would be comforting as well. That it looks spiffy too is just the icing on the cake.

(Is it just me, or does that also look like a great design for fencing gear? And is that a Henry Moore sculpture she’s perched on?)

Can you sue your fairy godmother for malpractice?

I always thought it would be cool to have a superpower. You know, be able to fly, be invisible, walk through walls, be utterly graceful … impossible things like those.

Turns out I have a bit of a superpower after all. Took me long enough to figure that out, though. As a child, I figured it would be pretty damn obvious to me that I could do something that other people couldn’t, right? Well, it would be if I could fly or turn invisible. Those things are apparent, so to speak.

Instead, I find that I can hear all kinds of obnoxious noises that most people cannot hear. The hell of it is, it’s a lousy superpower. Read the rest of this entry »