Kiwis are inventive

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Big ideas are coming out of the small, island nation of New Zealand and the world is noticing. The Economist Intelligence Unit says for a country of its size, New Zealand has the highest rate of patents per person.

" New Zealanders are known for their ingenuity––especially in creating unusual technologies, and reimagining existing technologies in groundbreaking ways that push the envelope, " said Marta Mager, regional director Americas for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the country's economic development agency. If you're looking for proof, you can find it flying overhead or walking right in front of you:Robotic Legs, Rex Bionics – This " robotic exoskeleton, " created in New Zealand, lets wheelchair–users do the improbable: stand, walk, and even go up and down stairs. Their first sale of the exoskeleton was made to a multiple medal–winning paralympian who took his first steps in over 30 years with the use of his newly–purchased robot legs this year. This is truly amazing stuff. Strap–On Rocket, Martin Jetpack – In the 1991 sci–fi flick " The Rocketeer, " a young pilot stumbles upon a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a flying masked hero. Twenty years later, personal aviation is fantasy no longer. With the Martin Jetpack, a strap–on flying machine, you can really experience the dream of personal flight. Soundtracks for Books, Booktrack –Booktrack's technology allows you to read an e–book with a synchronised soundtrack comprising music and sound effects. It is automatically paced to your reading speed. Booktrack is making reading cool again. Amphibious Crafts, Sealegs – The winner of Popular Science's Best of What's New Award in the recreation category, Sealegs is a speed boat that can travel in and out of the water over rough seashores and terrain. These speed boats with wheels enable police to protect both sea and shore, while the military takes advantage of their rapid deployment from land to sea. One of these crafts recently beat Richard Branson's record for the fastest amphibious boat to cross the English Channel. How's that for cool? Fold–up Electric Bike, YikeBike – Declared one of the top inventions by Time Magazine, the YikeBike is a superlight innovatively–designed electric bike that speeds up to 15 mph and recharges fully in 50 minutes. Plus, it folds up into an easy–to–carry 28–pound package. A smart technology to solve transportation problems in increasingly congested, polluted and stressful cities. Smart Strap, Zephyr Technology – Last year, Zephyr's Bioharness––a strap lined with sensors that measure data about heart rate, skin temperature and other vital signs––played a vital role in the rescue of Chile's trapped miners, transmitting information about their fitness levels via Bluetooth while they were trapped and during their rescue. The technology –developed in Zephyr's R&D facility in New Zealand– so impressed Under Armour that it recently launched the Zephyr–powered E39 shirt to measure the physical performance of athletes participating in NFL scouting. For more information about cool Kiwi innovation, visit www. newzealand. com/business.

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