When you first see the Fliz bike, you may think it is the result of some genius innovation. After all, how could a bicycle function without pedals?

But you may be surprised to learn that this new prototype actually harkens back to the precursor of bicycles as we know them, the Laufmaschine. Invented by Baron Karl Drais, the Laufmaschine was a sort of hobby-horse that relied on its user employing his or her legs.

The logic is similar with the Fliz bike. The bike, which involves some running and bicycling, is engineered for urban settings where a rider is constantly stopping, turning and maneuvering around pedestrians.

What makes the Fliz bike different than the Laufmaschine is the fact that the Fliz bike does not have a seat. Instead the rider is strapped into belts, which may look uncomfortable but are meant to distribute the body's weight and create for a more natural running motion.

The name "Fliz" is derived from the German word "flitzen," which means whizzing or dashing.

Perhaps the biggest concern with the bike is safety. As Gizmag points out, the rider's head is in a particularly vulnerable position because it is wedged inside the frame. And while the bike still has a long ways to go, urban riders will certainly appreciate its navigational advancements.

The Fliz is currently being considered for a James Dyson Award, an honor that recognizes top student designers across the world.

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Wearing a clunky bike helmet can be a real hassle, and even the sleeker and snazzier models don't exactly scream fashion statement. But there's no getting around the wisdom of safety first.

Now two designers in Sweden have developed a helmet that gives riders the best of both worlds with an invisible, or hidden, helmet known as The Hövding.

According to the designers' website, the shell of the helmet "can be varied in a virtually endless number of designs, colours, patterns and fabrics, turning Hövding into a fashion accessory."

The helmet is worn around the neck and then deploys in the same way as a car airbag when it senses enough impact. Designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin say, "It takes about 0.1 seconds to inflate and the airbag will be fully inflated before head impact."

The helmet, which runs on rechargeable batteries, costs $600.

Haupt and Alstin spent seven years on this project.

"To people like us, who wouldn't be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet, the thought that we might be forced to wear one by law was cause for concern," they wrote on their website. "Producing a bicycle helmet that people would be happy to put on looked like a much better way to go than legislation forcing people to wear one or else. We realised that our industrial design master thesis was the perfect place to find out whether the traditional bicycle helmet could be improved on."

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As the London Olympics gracefully demonstrated, sporting events have the capacity to serve as a global unifier. And while people coalesce in a single country during the Olympics, one ambitious Texas man is looking to bring his sporting idea to the hometowns of people across the world.

Don Hartsell, founder of the World Air League, is pushing for a global blimp race to begin in 2014. The 18-leg race would start in London and finish sixth months later in Paris, with the blimps traveling about 1,000 miles a day. While the route is not complete, Hartsell's hope is to have the blimps fly by some of the world's most recognizable monuments, including the Statue of Liberty, The Taj Mahal and the Egyptian pyramids.

Hartsell came up with the idea of a global blimp race at age 23, but it wasn't until three decades later that he began seriously planning.

"I started this out with, 'OK, you're at a point in your life where either you can retire or you can do something worthwhile,'" Hartsell told CNN. "I went, 'Are you still crazy?' Then the next question I asked myself was, 'How's your health?' Because to put this together has turned into a large undertaking. Then the third question: 'If not now?' And so with that, it started."

One of the trickiest parts of planning the race is securing sponsorships to help cover the estimated $50 million cost. In fact, a lack of money derailed an attempt at the race which would have begun in 2011. Hartsell is still securing partnerships and collecting donations for the event's $5 million prize money.

If Hartsell can pull off the race, it could have an unprecedented global impact. Whereas the Olympics draw about 5 million people, Hartsell estimates that 140 million people could witness the race. The blimps would fly 2,000 above sea level, and therefore be visible to spectators on the ground.

All told, it's an exciting idea from a passionate man. And while the blimps are still far from getting off the ground, it's clear that Hartsell isn't just full of hot air.

-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @Levin_TPG.

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