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.
Although lithium-ion batteries perform far better than alkalines,
they're also relatively costly, the lithium salts used in them aren't
widely available, and they sometimes catch fire. That's why some
scientists are suggesting sodium-ion batteries as an alternative. To that end, Williams Advanced Engineering recently demonstrated that they could be used to power an electric bike.
Nissan's Pivo 2 and NASA's Modular Robotic Vehicle
are both rather special prototype vehicles, in that they can rotate all
four of their wheels 90 degrees in order to drive sideways – a feature
that would definitely make parallel parking easier. Now they've got some
company, in the form of the electric EO smart connecting car 2, or
When surgeons are trying to operate on hard-to-reach organs, they'll
often have to make multiple incisions to get at the area from different
angles, or use tools such as retractors to pull other tissue out of the
way. A team of researchers from Italy's Sant'Anna School of Advanced
Studies, however, is developing an alternative – a flexible octopus arm-inspired tool that can squirm its way between organs, then hold them back while simultaneously operating.
Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably
haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd
find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around
US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal
fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the
fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been
creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for
several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest
product plays the part of a live patient.
If there are a lot of good ol' boys where you live, then you're likely
familiar with Truck Nuts – rubber testicles that are hung from a
pickup truck's trailer hitch. Well, a couple of Toronto-based designers
have come up with something similar for bicycles. Known as Bike Balls,
they actually serve as a tail light that catches motorists' attention by
swinging merrily back and forth.
In the past, Michigan-based outdoor cooking enthusiast Jon Stein used
his dive watch to time the cooking of foods on his barbecue. Once he
realized that he barely ever used the watch for its actual intended
purpose, however, he set out to make one that was specifically designed
for use by his fellow grillers. The GrillTimer is the result.
Within an increasingly crowded electric bicycle marketplace, it takes a
special something for an individual e-bike to stand out. The Mando Footloose
does so, however, in that it has neither a chain nor a belt drive – plus,
it folds. Mando has now announced a more affordable non-folding version
of the bike, known as the Footloose IM.
We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because
it's full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the
Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which
contains short chain fatty acids that aren't quite so good for us.
Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however –
genetically-engineered beef that's high in the "good" fatty acids.
When it comes to inflating bike tires on the road, there are two
options: a compact hand pump that requires some exertion, or a
single-use CO2 cartridge. New York-based DesignAir Innovations, however,
has created another one. It's called RideAir, and it's refillable
portable compressed air pump.
When you're developing something as complex and ambitious as a flying
car, you've got to expect a few hiccups along the way – and
Slovakia-based AeroMobil certainly experienced one last Friday, when its
AeroMobil 3.0 prototype crash-landed.