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.
Last November we first heard about MagLOCK pedals – clipless mountain bike pedals that use magnets instead of springs to keep the rider's feet attached, and that can also be used as regular platform pedals. The product fell short of its crowdfunding goal, perhaps because the pedals were kind of clunky, but MagLOCK designer Dave Williams is now back on Kickstarter with a sleeker, lighter and less expensive version.
According to its manufacturers, the human-powered A-Bike
is the world's smallest, lightest folding bicycle. It's certainly also
one of the strangest-looking. Now, a group of UK-based entrepreneurs are
hoping to extend its claims to the world of e-bikes, with the A-Bike
There are now a number of powered exoskeletons either on the market or in development, all of which allow people who lack the use of their legs to walk in an upright position. The ReWalk
device is without doubt the best-known, having been commercially
available since 2012. This week, ReWalk Robotics announced the sixth
version of the product, which is reportedly better-fitting, faster and
less bulky than its predecessors.
In a few months, a new 100-percent-electric car will be on the market –
in France, at least. Called the Bluesummer, the two-door four-seat
convertible was designed by electrical systems manufacturer the Bolloré
Group, but will be built and distributed by Peugeot Citroën.
It's been quite a month for electric aircraft. First, the Solar Impulse 2 broke distance and duration records when it flew from Japan to Hawaii. Then, two competing teams both claimed to have made the world's first electric flight across the English Channel.
Now, Germany's PC-Aero says that its Elektra One Solar has become the
first solar-electric plane to cross the Alps in both directions.
Smartphone cameras are increasingly taking the place of stand-alone
consumer video cameras, and in a lot of ways that makes sense. A phone,
however, isn't nearly as easy to hold onto while shooting – its screen
can also be difficult to see in bright sunlight. Well, that's where the
Lumenati CS1 comes in. It's a videography case for the iPhone 6, and it
has the same form factor as a classic Super 8mm movie camera.
We've already seen systems that detect driver fatigue via steering wheel movements or by analyzing drivers' faces. German engineering firm Hoffman and Krippner, in cooperation with Guttersberg Consulting, has now developed what its designers believe is a better alternative – a fatigue-sensing steering wheel add-on that tracks the driver's grip.
Despite concerns that they may actually make drivingless safe,
heads-up displays (HUDs) could eventually be standard equipment on most
cars. In the meantime, what happens if you want the technology in your
existing vehicle? Well, you might be able to install an Iris HUD system
in place of your driver's-side windshield visor.
Swiss Post and Swiss World Cargo (the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines) have joined the likes of Amazon, GeoPost and Alibaba
by taking concrete steps toward using drones for deliveries. This week,
the corporations announced that they have teamed up with
California-based Matternet to trial several of its Matternet ONE cargo quadcopters.
When asked to name an endangered species, rhinos are probably one of the
first animals to come to most peoples' minds. In both Africa and Asia,
poaching is causing populations to plummet, due mainly to demand for
rhino horn as an ingredient in traditional Asian medicine – whether or
not it actually has any medicinal value is another question
altogether. In any case, San Francisco-based biotech startup Pembient is
developing what it hopes could be a solution: inexpensive bioengineered
rhino horn, which could out-compete the genuine item.