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Ben Coxworth

Materials

Coating highlights microscopic cracks, before they lead to disaster

Whether they're on airplanes, bridges or pipelines, even the tiniest of cracks can fast lead to catastrophic failures. That's why it's important to identify them as early as possible, before they get out of hand. With that in mind, scientists at the University of Illinois have created a new polymer coating that can be applied to a wide variety of structural materials. When those materials crack – even a little – the polymer changes color to let inspectors know that something's up.Read More

Around The Home

Ripple Maker can put your face in your coffee

It's kinda nice when baristas draw little things like hearts or leaves in the foam on your cappuccino. There's a chance, however, that those designs may be going the way of cave paintings. That's because Israeli startup Steam CC recently introduced its Ripple Maker, a machine that reproduces photos, text or other graphics on coffee foam.Read More

Urban Transport

There's now one mö solar-electric velomobile on the road

Although velomobiles in general are a rather obscure class of vehicle, the human/solar-powered Elf is certainly one of the better-known recent examples. Inspired by its design and performance, Spanish startup evovelo recently put the finishing touches on the prototype of a similar vehicle, known as the mö. Like the Elf, it's propelled by pedal-power and/or an electric motor – and that motor is in turn powered by the sun.Read More

Biology

Beastcam gets quick 3D scans of live critters

When studying wild animals such as sharks, it can be difficult to get ahold of one every time you want to check something out. Having a 3D model of the creature would certainly help, although getting a shark to sit still for several minutes while being scanned could be quite the challenge. That's why a University of Massachusetts Amherst team led by biologist Duncan J. Irschick created the portable, quick-scanning Beastcam. Read More

Outdoors

Boarder Kontrol Skateboard keeps its brakes on a short leash

The prospect of skateboarding down a steep hill can be a daunting one. Having a brake-equipped board can make things a bit safer, although a sudden application of those brakes can still send you tumbling off the front. That's why Australia's Streetboardz created the Boarder Kontrol Skateboard. Not only does it have rear brakes, but they're activated by a leash that keeps the rider in place on the deck.Read More

Music

SenCbuds earbuds know when to stop the music

If you're listening to music from your smartphone via earbuds, there are currently two ways of pausing the playback: you can hit pause on the phone, or use the button controls on the earbud cable. New Zealand-based Vivnnovation Limited, however, has come up with a third alternative. Its SenCbuds automatically pause your music when they're removed from your ears, then resume it when you put them back in.Read More

Environment

"Light recycling" tech could save incandescent bulbs from obsolescence

Incandescent light bulbs may put out a warmer-looking, more familiar type of light than LEDs or compact fluorescents, but they're far less efficient – the majority of the energy they use is wasted, mainly in the form of heat. Technology may save them yet, however. Scientists at MIT and Purdue University have developed an ultra-efficient new incandescent bulb that reuses the heat it gives off, converting that heat into more light.Read More

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