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.
We've already seen floating fish finders that transmit readings from out on the water, plus we've also seen waterproof quadcopters
... so perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that someone has combined the
two. Created by San Diego-based inventor Daniel Marion, the AguaDrone
can first tell you where the fish are, and then fly your lure to that
If electric buses are ever going to become a common sight in cities
around the world, then they'll need to be able to operate like their
traditional counterparts. This means no taking long breaks to recharge,
or sacrificing seating space for the storage of huge batteries. While
allowing them to draw power from the road
is one alternative, the European EDDA Bus consortium is working on
another – electric buses that can grab a quick charge at bus stops in
just a few minutes.
Currently, recipients of arm or leg transplants need to take
immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives, in order to keep
the donated parts from being rejected. If we could grow our own
replacement limbs, however, that wouldn't be necessary. And while we do
already possess the progenitor cells needed to grow such parts, what's
been lacking is a method of assembling them into the form of the desired
limb. Now, however, scientists have created a shortcut of sorts –
they've stripped the cells from one rat's forelimb and replaced them
with live cells from another rat, creating a functioning limb that the
second rat's immune system won't reject.
It's important to know how much pain young hospital patients are
experiencing, and not just because no one wants them to suffer –
additionally, excessive pain can indicate problems that need addressing.
That's why scientists at the University of California, San Diego School
of Medicine have developed facial pattern recognition software that
objectively assesses children's pain levels based on consistent
Although many retailers already display the tenderness of meat cuts on
their packaging, Norwegian research group SINTEF has developed what it
believes is a better system. Instead of relying on human interpretations
of tenderness, it uses x-rays to give a less subjective and more
We've already heard about electronic earplugs that only block sound when loud noises occur, or that amplify human voices.
Doppler Labs' Here Active Listening system, however, takes things a
step further. Consisting of an app-controlled pair of wireless earbuds,
it lets users filter out or enhance audio frequencies in real-world
ambient sound before it reaches their ears.
Wood pulp-derived nanocellulose is turning out to be pretty useful
stuff. Previously, we'd heard how it could be used in things like high-strength lightweight composites, oil-absorbing sponges and biodegradable computer chips.
Now, researchers from Sweden and the US have used the material to build
soft-bodied batteries that are more shock- and stress-resistant than
their traditional hard counterparts.
For people with limited hearing, understanding movies or plays can be
challenging – particularly if they don't own a hearing aid. That's why
engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technolgy
have developed a system that streams audio from the stage or screen to
the user's earphone-equipped smartphone.
Doctors and nurses in Japan – or in other countries, for that matter –
may soon have some robotic company when making their rounds. That's
because researchers at Toyohashi University of Technology are developing
an omnidirectional robot named Terapio, that's designed to take the
place of a traditional medical cart.
When cycling at night, it's important not just to be seen from the front
and back but also from the sides. In order to make that happen, bicycle
lighting systems typically either add dedicated side lights or they divert
part of the main headlight beam. The Ding headlight, however, puts out
one beam that shines forward, along with a second one that lights up the
road directly to either side of the bike.