Noble or nuts? Sometimes the difference between insane and inspired is a very fine line indeed. But if you’ve ever thought to yourself “this X is fine, but it would be so much better if only it could do Y…” then meet some creative inventors who thought the same thing – and then got to work to make their visions a reality – when DAILY PLANET presents “Garage Guru Week,” beginning Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Discovery Channel.
Join hosts Jay Ingram and Ziya Tong for a full week of inventions – some are life-changing, some are fun, and others are just curious. Whether the idea is a stroke of genius or a little bit crazy, each inventor possesses an inspiring passion and commitment to the project that’s compelling to watch.
Highlights from DAILY PLANET’S “Garage Gurus Week” include:
· The advent of the wheelchair has made it possible for millions of people to get around – provided the device would be used on level, flat surfaces. But what if you live in rural Africa in a village with no paved roads? At the Mobility Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), inventor Amos Winter has developed solution: the Freedom Leverage Chair. Inspired by the stability offered by three-wheeled tricycles, the sturdiness of mountain bike components and the easier biomechanics of using levers for propulsion, Winter is refining the prototype with the aim that these chairs can be built and maintained with local parts in developing countries.
· Despite the exorbitant cost and countless hours, Chuck Greenwood is committed to his project: a human-powered car. He believes that to save our planet, a human-powered car is the only way to go. He has a working, motorized prototype and two newer models are in the works. DAILY PLANET takes it for a spin to see what makes it work, what it needs and what the next step might be.
· Monty Reed, a Seattle inventor, was told 25 years ago that he’d never walk again after a parachuting accident during his Army service left him a quadriplegic. Incredibly, Reed recovered the ability to walk, but his passion to help others regain the freedom of mobility inspired him to develop the Lifesuit. After more than a dozen prototypes, the Lifesuit is a 35kg exoskeleton – a wearable, motorized metal frame with finger controls that will enable to the user to walk for approximately 1.5km. In 2011, the Lifesuit will be tested for the first time in physical therapy trials at a hospital in India.
· Nature-loving inventor Doyle Doss had a close encounter with a hummingbird when it mistook a red beard for food. Inspired, he’s designed the perfect way to get a close-up look at the birds: the wearable hummingbird feeder.
· Body surfing. Running. Showering. All at the same time? David and Andrew Akers, fun-loving inventors in New Zealand, have turned these seemingly incongruous pastimes into one crazy ride dubbed the Fishpipe – the world’s first rotating barrel ride. Made up of an inflatable barrel suspended on a metal frame between two motorized wheels, just add 75 litres of water for wet and wild fun. With a capacity for up to three people at a time, this is the world’s most compact water park!
· What kind of invention would you expect from a bike enthusiast who also is also the World Record Holder for the World’s Largest Bonfire (a few stories high and wider than a skating rink, incidentally…)? Why the Flame Thrower Scooter, of course! This is one invention that will put tailgaters in their place!