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.
There are already beverage cans that contain chemically-activated chilling modules
. Now, three students from Houston's Rice University are working at applying the same principle to hypodermic needles. Instead of keeping the medication in the syringe cool, however, the idea is that a special needle cap could be used to first chill and numb the patient's skin, making the subsequent injection relatively painless.
There are already in-vehicle systems that keep people from driving while intoxicated, although most of them require users to blow into a breathalyzer. The prototype AlcoStop system, however, takes a less intrusive approach – it measures users' blood alcohol levels by analyzing their sweat via built-in sensors, and won't allow the car to start if those levels indicate that they're too drunk to drive.
Here's something you might not know about foreign-language films ... when they're dubbed to English, the editors don't necessarily just go with the most literal translation. Instead, they observe the actors' lip movements, then choose English dialogue that at least somewhat matches up with those. Now, a team from Disney Research Pittsburgh and the University of East Anglia has developed a system that does so automatically, and that offers a wider range of suggested alternate phrases.
We've already seen interactive technologies that create smells
or tactile sensations
on command. Now, however, British scientists have developed a system that they claim can be used to make users experience specific emotions
– and it does so without even touching the person.
We're used to 3D-printed objects being hard and unyielding, or perhaps a little rubbery. Thanks to work being done by scientists at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University, however, we may soon be seeing things like soft and squishy 3D-printed teddy bears, made from layered pieces of fabric. What's more, those items could be electrically conductive.
Last September, we spied a prototype of Virtue Cycles' Pedalist electric-assist velomobile
at Interbike in Las Vegas. Now, the San Diego-based company has turned to Kickstarter to fund production of the vehicle, plus it's provided a little more in the way of specs.
While stand-up paddleboards are usually a lot of fun to use, they can be a hassle to transport and store. That's why we've seen ones that can be folded up
. The SipaBoard, however, takes yet another approach – it's inflatable. An onboard electric motor pumps the air into it for you, plus it also powers an integrated jet drive that provides paddlers with a boost.
Surfing is one of those sports where you don't just go out at a scheduled time – you go out as soon as you hear that conditions are good. Surfline is an established service that provides information on those conditions, in the form of alerts on a smartphone app. Now, Surfline has partnered with Nixon to provide such alerts on an easier-to-access sports watch, known as the Ultratide.
As many bike riders will know, sustained cycling can end up being a pain in the neck – literally. Tilting your head down toward the ground can provide temporary relief from that pain, but then you're not able to see where you're going ... unless you're using a Pedi-Scope, that is.