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Ben Coxworth

Ben Coxworth
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.

Starting in April 2011, the European Union CoCoRo (Collective Cognitive Robots) research consortium has been developing three varieties of autonomous underwater robots that school together like fish. By doing so, the little bots can share and learn from each others' "knowledge" of their environment, acting as a collective cognitive system that's smarter than any one of its individual parts.

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There are already bicycle "running lights" that plug into the ends of the handlebars, providing side visibility when cycling at night. HueRay takes that same idea but makes it sturdier and more self-contained, with silicone bar grips that incorporate their own high-intensity LEDs.

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As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem. That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in flexible electronics.

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In tropical countries such as the Philippines, there are plenty of rice husks ... and also plenty of termites. A group of engineering students from the University of California, Riverside, recently decided to use the former to address the latter, by creating termite-resistant particleboard from rice husks.

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While a smoke detector can certainly provide you with an early warning in the event of a house fire, it can't usually do much to help you get out of the building once that fire is underway. That's why Toronto-based startup Safety iQ developed the Saver. It's a portable device that reportedly allows users to breathe safely in smoke-filled environments, while also serving as a flashlight and alarm.

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If you've seen Mad Max: Fury Road, then you'll be familiar with the tank-tracked Peacemaker chase vehicle. In fact, the Peacemaker was actually a modified Ripsaw, an off-road vehicle manufactured by Maine-based Howe and Howe Technologies. Although the movie version had a car body on top, the consumer/military version is open-topped. Now, however, Howe & Howe has announced the new-and-enclosed Ripsaw EV2 (Extreme Vehicle 2) – it's described as a "high-end luxury super tank."

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While there's a great deal of excitement surrounding the concept of autonomous delivery drones, the aircraft would likely all utilize GPS to navigate – and GPS satellites aren't always available. That's why Prof. Martinez Carranza has developed a new drone navigation system, that's based purely on visual observations.

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Scientists have already devised systems that allow electronic devices to scavenge power from ambient electromagnetic energy sources such as radio waves. While the technology has generally been limited to small devices such as wireless sensors, a research team has recently created a scavenging system that charges a smartphone's battery, letting it last up to 30 percent longer per charge – and the system does so using radio signals emanating from the phone itself.

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Although personal drones are becoming increasingly popular, a lot of people are still understandably intimidated by their exposed propellers. Not only can those whirling blades hurt people, but they also regularly get damaged in crashes. That's why Pasadena, California-based Polyhelo created the Nano Tornado. It's a quadcopter, but instead of open props it utilizes four ducted fans.

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We've seen retro arcade-style video gaming consoles that are tiny, as well as ones that utilize an iPad and that even serve beer. The Pixelkabinett 42 has its own unique feature, however, in that it looks like a vintage industrial wooden cabinet when not in use.

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