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.
Many people absolutely hate public speaking, in part because they think that they simply aren't good enough at doing it. Well, that's why Rhema was created. Developed at the University of Rochester and named after the Greek word for "utterance," it delivers real-time performance feedback to the speaker via their Google Glass headset.
Not everyone wants to leave their computer powered up, every time they need to charge a device via USB. That's why some people use wall outlet adapter plugs, or they wire in new outlets that contain USB ports. The new SnapPower Charger, however, offers an alternative. It's a wall outlet cover plate that provides 1 amp of USB power, with no rewiring or extra hardware necessary.
If you've ever watched a flying bird weaving its way through a forest, you may have wondered how it could do so without hitting its wings on the trees. Well, birds actually do
hit trees with their wings. Unlike the rigid wings of an aircraft, however, birds' wings simply fold back under impact, then immediately fold open again to maintain flight. Now, scientists from Stanford University have developed wings for flapping-wing drones that do the same thing.
In the near future, it's entirely possible that babies with heart defects will be born with complete pacemakers already installed. That's because scientists at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California have developed the world's first fully-implantable pacemaker for fetuses.
The keyless Bluetooth bike locks are now coming thick and fast ... relatively speaking. In just the past couple of years, we've heard about the Skylock
and Noke U-lock
. Now, the Kadalock has appeared on our radar. It differs from the others in that it's a cable lock, and it mounts on the user's existing water bottle cage.
Because of its sweet flavor and aroma, thousands of wild animals, pets and children are poisoned by drinking automotive antifreeze/coolant every year. Its particularly nasty ingredient is ethylene glycol, which affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys to the point that it can ultimately prove lethal. Now, however, scientists from Colorado-based ACTA Technology, Inc. have replaced the ethylene glycol with another compound that's not only safe, but that also improves the performance of the antifreeze.
We've already heard about two
in which scientists are developing camouflage systems inspired by squids' color-changing skin. If they're successful, the result could be military clothing that can change its coloration to match the environment. It's an intriguing idea, although it presumably still wouldn't allow soldiers to avoid detection by infrared cameras at night. Now, however, researchers from the University of California at Irvine are developed a stick-on covering that could let them do so.
The ability to view real-time video from a quadcopter's onboard camera is certainly a handy feature, but let's be honest – there are probably a lot of people who just think, "Wouldn't be great if I could use this to shoot at stuff?". Well, German cyberpunk weapons tinkerer Patrick Priebe has adapted an off-the-shelf drone so it can do just that – using a laser.
In various types of manufacturing, parts are robotically picked and placed using graspers or suction cups. The former can damage fragile items, however, while the latter won't work in vacuums or on rough surfaces. That's why scientists from Germany's Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) have developed – well, a new material. It utilizes the same principle as sticky gecko feet
, but its gripping quality can be switched on and off as needed.
While there certainly are drivers who knowingly exceed the speed limit, many others aren't even aware that they're doing so. Given that using cruise control isn't all that practical when driving around town, Ford has instead introduced the Intelligent Speed Limiter. The technology will debut on the newest incarnation of the automaker's S-Max