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Posts Tagged ‘bike helmet’

Fun time at Mass Challenge!​

Mass Challenge is an incubator “accelerator” for entrepreneurial companies, perhaps the biggest worldwide. I’ve blogged about it before.

Of the 125 finalists in this year’s challenge, 48 gave one-minute pitches last night to an audience of about 200 friends, family, and investors at 1 Marina Park on the Boston waterfront.

Besides being entertaining, it was inspiring. So many people working hard on so many great ideas!

A couple noteworthy presentations were from MIT people. Helmet_Hub tapped the skills of MIT materials science students to create a helmet-vending machine. They have already partnered with the City of Boston’s Hubway, which lends bikes point to point. Another MIT-based organization, Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT), uses bicycle parts to make inexpensive wheelchairs for Third World patients. Very impressive. (More on GRIT here.)

I also wrote down that soundfest has a better kind of hearing aid. Prime Student Loan screens students so banks can make a safe loan even if graduates have no FICO score.

Wanderu was one of the few female-run companies. It does for ground travel what kayak and others do for air. Zoomtilt creates ads that are said to be so funny and entertaining, people actually want to watch them. Guided Surgery Solutions helps oral surgeons drill into the right place.

Roameo helps you find out what’s going on near where you are right now. Newartlove helps artists sell their work. Social Made Simple helps small businesses with social networking. (Check it out, Luna & Stella.) CellanyxDiagnostics has a more precise test for prostate cancer than the PSA.

I will likely follow up on a worthy-cause business called Bootstrap Compost. They teach you to compost, give you the bucket, pick it up, deliver it to farms, and give leftover compost to schools. You can have some, too. Bootstrap is very low-tech, doing most travel on bikes. It is proud of keeping tons of food scraps out of landfills.

I was also impressed at the Mass Challenge diversity — men, women (OK, not many women), old, young, scientists, artists, business types, different races, different nationalities, humorous, solemn.

No need to worry about the economy long term. Not with the joy of invention alive and well.

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Bike Share came to Boston last summer. I blogged about it here. I did wonder if people who used the Bike Share would be bringing their own helmets. It turns out that only 30 percent of Bike Share users do, compared with about 70 percent of those who have their own bikes.

MIT to the rescue! Thanks to a group of determined problem solvers, a bike helmet is in the works.

“The prototype of the product they call HelmetHub would dispense headgear to what until now have been the mostly helmetless riders of Hubway. …

“Much of Hubway’s allure is its immediacy,” writes Eric Moskowitz in the Boston Globe, “making even that side trip to the store — or the prospect of being saddled with a helmet after returning the bike — inconvenient for some users, said Nicole Freedman, who runs the city’s Boston Bikes program, which oversees Hubway.

“The HelmetHub prototype features a touch screen similar to those on Hubway rental kiosks, draws power from solar panels, and occupies half the space of a soda machine. And it works, dispensing helmets that adjust to fit most head sizes.” The prototype is almost ready to launch, and knowing the enterprising MIT mindset, it won’t take long. Read more.

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