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.
As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem.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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
For women, buying the wrong shoes can be about more than just esthetics.
If they end up with shoes that don't fit properly, they can develop
foot disorders such as bunions, hammertoes or ingrown toenails. That's
where the European Union's DemoShopInstantShoe project comes in. Established a few years ago, the collaborative effort is now about to release a device that instantly adapts off-the-rack shoes to a custom fit.
There are already human-powered devices that allow you to walk on water, plus there are electric motor-powered stand-up paddleboards.
The WaterBlade, however, appears to bridge the gap between the two.
It's a floating platform that you stand on to "walk" across the water,
but it also has a motor to help make things easier.