Video: Daredevil hits 163MPH on Mountain Bike Powered by Hydrogen Peroxide

Breaks speed record during stunt

Holy shnikees! A daredevil dude by the name of Francois Gissy took a mountain bike, strapped a rocket on it, and hit a speed of 163MPH this past Sunday. In hitting this mark, he beat the previous rocket-powered bike record of 150MPH, which was set back in 2002.

Francois Gizzy

The fuel Gissy used was, oddly enough, hydrogen peroxide. Before you run out to your local CVS to pick up a bottle for your own rocket-powered bike experiment, you should know that the mix he used was about 90% concentrate — the stuff in the store is about 3%.

The rocket used is an uber-powerful monopropellant rocket. The hydrogen peroxide is fed from a storage tank and goes into a second chamber filled with a catalyst (normally silver). This causes all of the chemical bonds to break down and the hydrogen peroxide to decompose into heat, steam, and oxygen. The steam is forced through the rocket nozzle and there you have it—the bike gets its thrust.

Francois Gizzy bike speed record

Perhaps most impressive about this whole stunt is that Gizzy performed it on a completely stripped bike, with no aerodynamic superstructure, trailing arms for stability, or Bluetooth speaker on his handlebars playing Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning.”

Want proof? Check out how unstable he is when the bike takes off in the video below (definitely would’ve needed new pants at the end of the ride had that been me on the bike):

Real-life Mario Kart Game

Group rigs up go-karts to mimic popular video game

Waterloo Labs Mario Kart

Like the makers of the best portable speaker in the world, the folks at Waterloo Labs know how to have a good time. They recently rigged up a bunch of go-karts to manipulate the throttle, gas, and brakes, as well as an RFID Item system to make a real-life, fully playable version of Mario Kart.

Real life Mario Kart

The tags they embedded into the karts transmitted signals to the readers on each kart. When an item was detected, the compact RIO outputted signals to control the corresponding pneumatic valves and servo motors that control the car’s movements.

How Waterloo Labs made real life Mario Kart

In terms of some of the actions within the game, grabbing a mushroom removed the throttle limit on a kart to simulate speed boost. Snagging a lightning bolt, meanwhile, switched the brakes on everyone else’s karts to replicate the effects of a universal “stun”.

Playing Mario Kart in real life at Waterloo Labs

Steering is controlled with two pneumatic cylinders, the brake with one cylinder, and the speed limiter with two servo motors.

Video of the real life Mario Kart event below:

Infographic Essentials to Electronic Hardware Design

A lot of people have ideas of things they want to build but sometimes it can be daunting to get started.  Electronic hardware design in particular is something that scares most people.  Naturally, not everyone has every skill set required to make electronics, so most people dismiss it as the impossible.  They concede that only large companies with deep engineering resources can make electronics.  Fortunately, the rules have changed.  Technology has leveled the playing field and ODMs have opened their doors for business to entrepreneurs with a smaller wallet.

When we started building Boombots, we were working out of a garage (like most startups).  With less than $12k invested, we managed to get a finished production quality prototype and a completed injection mold.  Get in business gentlemen.

Jaybird versus Outdoor Technologies

Is there a better one or are they the same effing thing?

Jaybird and Outdoor Technologies bluetooth headphones

Lately I’ve spent a little time just checking out Bluetooth headphones.  The space is certainly interesting because obviously going wireless seems to be a natural progression from our traditional wired headphones.  Many audiophiles still prefer to use a wire just because it produces the most minimal loss.  However, Bluetooth has come a long way in bandwidth, cost, and signal stability since the Bluetooth 1.0 first came out.  The bit-rate has evolved in 2.0 and 2.1 to allow for pretty darn good audio transmission.  Some of the new standards allow for splitting of right and left channels as well so now you can have some pretty thumping stereo headphones while also having direct phone interfacing.  There is still some work to be done as most of these Bluetooth headphones are still just a tad bit lower in fidelity than a line-in connection, but no doubt there are hoards of engineers working on it.

Jaybird bluetooth headphones

So that catches us up on Bluetooth so lets look at a couple products that I recently came across.  Jaybird makes a sleek over-ear headphone with a sleek control interface on the earpiece and a flexible sport band over the top.  At $99, these come in a plethora of colors and according to Engadget:

these also ship with apt-X onboard, which is said to “clean up” your jams while adding depth, bass and treble, and if your BT device has apt-X (or if you use an apt-X enabling BT adapter), these guys can kick it up a notch further with “CD quality output.”


Outdoor technologies  bluetooth headphones

While that sounds all good and dandy, why don’t we take a look at Outdoor Technologies DJ Slim headphone retailing at $69.95.  I’d seen these headphones at a glance but after closer inspection, I realized that they are EXACTLY the same model as the Jaybird SB1s.  The only visible difference is that the buttons are SLIGHTLY different with a bit of a subtle diamond shape on them and the ear pads are a little bigger with sharper edges.  The Outdoor Technology model does not boast the apt-X CSR technology which may be a factor in the lower cost, but not confirmed.  We are going to look into this tech a little bit deeper to figure out which modules have it and which do not.  CSR makes a variety of bluetooth modules with varying costs, but Chinese manufacturers can easily swap out for cheaper modules with poor audio compression capabilities, shorter range, and buggy firmware.

Looking at this a bit deeper

OK so these headphones are basically the same thing… no big deal.  It is what it is.  When the X-Mini speakers came out, it was not long before a number of companies came out with Tweakerz, Rockerz, Chill Pills, Bass Balls and a bunch of other speakers that were pretty much the same.  iHome audio even copied the same design.  X-Mini still KILLS it because they have been recognized for being pretty consistent with quality while their copycats have mostly fallen into a price war.  They’re not the coolest brand in the game but they do sell a metric fuck-ton of speakers.

My next move…I look at some of the other products in the Jaybird and Outdoor Technologies portfolio.  They both have some Bluetooth earbuds called the Freedom and the Tag.  Low and behold, THOSE are the same too!!  WHAT?!

bluetooth earbuds Jaybird Freedom and Outdoor Technology Tag

Outdoor Technology Tag (left) and Jaybird Freedom (right)

I kind of felt betrayed because at first glance, I saw Outdoor Technologies doing something very similar to what Boombotix is doing as far as engineering products for active lifestyles and really tapping into the alternative community.  Their “about” section says:


Well let’s be real here… they did not really develop anything.  They slapped their brand name on an OEM design.

Why not rebrand oem products?

I’m not sure who was first to market or who was behind the design, but it raised a couple of questions in my mind.  My first thought was that these are just some OEM headphone that both companies slapped their brand on OR one company designed them and the other bought the same design through the backdoor of a Chinese factory and rebranded them.  This stuff happens all the time and many brands are guilty of doing it.  Why not?  It is an easy way to take a product to market with minimal effort in design.  New CE products can take well over a year to develop which is a lot of engineering and R&D expense.

Now let’s address the moral dilemma.  Every brand has different value propositions and this tends to drive the product portfolio.  The strongest brands typically offer a product or service that addresses a specific market need.  This is where brands showcase innovation to differentiate their product/service on the market.  When you pick up an iPhone or Macbook Air, you appreciate the attention to detail in engineering and design (well most of us do).  This drives a number of us to invest in Apple products at a premium price because we support WHY Apple does what they do; Engineer/design beautiful products with an intuitive interface.  As Simon Sinek says, “people don’t by WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”  Inherently, you want Apple to keep delivery amazing products, so you continually upgrade to the next model over time.  You build a relationship with the brand and establish authentic brand loyalty that lasts.

Every time that you invest in a product that is a copied product, you are taking valuable dollars away from companies that are innovating and breaking new ground.

As the founder of a speaker company, I take a great deal of pride in the innovation my team brings to the table.  Sure, we slap our logo on dog tags and make stickers for swag, but we will NEVER just slap our logo on an OEM product and call it our own.  If we didn’t do something to improve what mankind has already laid out before us, then we probably shouldn’t bother trying to sell it.  If we had to sell toothpicks, you better believe we would find a way to innovate that toothpick for increased strength, more eco-friendly material selection, or some euphoric flavor that makes your toes curl.  Boombotix designs and engineers every one of our products from the ground up to adapt audio to life in motion.  That is our WHY.