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BMW Designed a More Aerodynamic Wheelchair for the Paralympics

BMW

At this year's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the U.S. wheelchair racing team will be sporting some especially stylish equipment. Their chairs have been redesigned by BMW's global creative consultancy DesignworksUSA for a faster, sleeker, and more comfortable ride, Fast Co. Design reports. 

Because they don't have the same branding potential as bikes or running shoes, there hasn't been a lot of money invested in Paralympic athletic gear compared to that of other sports. This means racing wheelchairs are slower and less user-friendly than they ought to be.

To make the U.S. team's wheelchairs more comfortable, each team member will be scanned and receive tailor-made seats fitted to their bodies. They will also be given custom gloves manufactured with a 3D printer.

The new wheelchair's frame is made from carbon fiber rather than aluminum, which results in a sturdier, more balanced ride. After making small adjustments to the shape and angles of the frame, the designers were able to cut the chair's drag by 15 percent. 

Though Paralympic technology may be progressing more slowly than it should be, it's still come a long way from when it first began. Sixty years ago, racing wheel chairs weighed three times what they do today. And now thanks to BMW's new innovations, we may see competitors race faster than ever before when the games commence this September.

BMW

[h/t Fast Co. Design]

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The North Face
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Design
The North Face's New Geodesic Dome Tent Will Protect You in 60 mph Wind
The North Face
The North Face

You can find camping tents designed for easy set-up, large crowds, and sustainability, but when it comes to strength, there’s only so much abuse a foldable structure can take. Now, The North Face is pushing the limits of tent durability with a reimagined design. According to inhabitat, the Geodome 4 relies on its distinctive geodesic shape to survive wind gusts approaching hurricane strength.

Instead of the classic arching tent structure, the Geodome balloons outward like a globe. It owes its unique design to the five main poles and one equator pole that hold it in place. Packed up, the gear weighs just over 24 pounds, making it a practical option for car campers and four-season adventurers. When it’s erected, campers have floor space measuring roughly 7 feet by 7.5 feet, enough to sleep four people, and 6 feet and 9 inches of space from ground to ceiling if they want to stand. Hooks attached to the top create a system for gear storage.

While it works in mild conditions, the tent should really appeal to campers who like to trek through harsher weather. Geodesic domes are formed from interlocking triangles. A triangle’s fixed angles make it one of the strongest shapes in engineering, and when used in domes, triangles lend this strength to the overall structure. In the case of the tent, this means that the dome will maintain its form in winds reaching speeds of 60 mph. Meanwhile, the double-layered, water-resistant exterior keeps campers dry as they wait out the storm.

The Geodome 4 is set to sell for $1635 when it goes on sale in Japan this March. In the meantime, outdoorsy types in the U.S. will just have to wait until the innovative product expands to international markets.

[h/t inhabitat]

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Emojipedia
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Design
These Are the 157 New Emojis Coming to Your Phone
Emojipedia
Emojipedia

If words alone aren’t enough to express yourself while texting, there are now new emojis at your disposable. As Slate reports, the roster of flags, smiley faces, and random sports equipment just grew by 157 pictographs. After receiving the stamp of approval from the Unicode consortium, these emojis will soon be making an appearance on your keyboard.

The release of the redhead emoji has been long-anticipated, but this newest batch includes curly hairstyles as well for the many people without straight locks. Texters also now have the choice of gray hair or no hair at all when designing their emoji avatars.

Other human-related additions include superhero and super villain emojis in various skin tones and hairdos. There are 10 new animal emojis, including a badger, a peacock, a lobster, and a kangaroo, as well as six new food emojis, like a cupcake, a mango, and a lettuce leaf.

People who prefer classic smiley-face emojis will be happy to see the six new options in that category: cold face, hot face, partying face, pleading face, woozy face, and smiling face with four hearts. Along with these come plenty of new entries, like the dismembered leg, petri dish, abacus, safety pin, and lacrosse stick.

After announcing the initial designs on February 7, the emoji-standardizing team at Unicode will vote on the final versions in June before they’re made available to phone companies.

[h/t Slate]

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