Amateur boxing bouts are judged on points, but the ringside judges have to have a good eye to spot when a punch has landed. And they have to be quick to press the scoring button. Australian researchers aim to make things easier with smart fabrics that detect scoring blows. Electrode strips on the vest send a signal to a ringside computer when a boxer's glove completes a circuit. The computer assesses the signal for duration to discriminate between a scoring point and a push. Boxing by the numbers. New Scientist has


PARENTS BIKE: The Taga Bike combines a bicycle with a baby stroller.
It has one wheel at the rear and 2 in front. A child's stroller seat fits between the front wheels. The bike also cleverly folds up to become a regular stroller — handy for sneaking it onto trains and buses, or just wheeling the child around shops and on long walks. It can even hold 2 children at once, or just groceries. A very cunning
idea. Taga Bikes has more detail, video here.


AMAIZING SHIRT: The Omni-Freeze Ice Baselayer t-shirt from Columbia Sportswear disperses body heat through specially shaped flat yarns.
Crystals in the fabric undergo a state change from a solid to a gel when wet. So when you sweat you cause a state change and the fabric draws heat from your skin for a while. The crystals are a product of maize, while the shirt itself is mainly polyester. The drawback: the shirt needs to dry again for another bout of cooling. Best used in dry climates then, where sun and wind will dry the fabric while you wear it. More details at Gear Junkie.

GAME, SIT AND MATCH: The CVAC Pod is an egg-shaped pressure chamber that may be helping top athletes stay at the top. It simulates high altitude and compresses the muscles at rhythmic intervals thanks to a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump. The idea is that this will improve circulation and boost oxygen levels in the blood, also removing lactic acid. Simply sitting in the pod apparently helps an athlete adapt to a range of conditions. Ah sitting around to get fit: where do I sign up? Wall Street Journal tells the story.

SURFER PRESERVER: Big wave surfers are at risk of drowning if that huge wave pushes them under. One surfer decided to add an airbag to his wetsuit. Billabong wetsuits took up the idea and their V1 suit works like an airplane lifevest. The surfer pulls a cord and a CO2 cartridge instantly inflates an air bladder on the back of the suit, bringing the wearer quickly to the surface. Changing out a used cartridge takes only a few minutes and the surfer can be back in the waves. Gizmodo has more.

- Miraz Jordan