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Ben Coxworth

Ben Coxworth

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.

Follow Ben:

— Good Thinking

Advanced Rail Cleaner blasts snow and ice off railway tracks

By - April 28, 2015 1 Picture
Imagine if you were trying to pull a heavy sled up an icy hill, while wearing slick-soled boots. Well, that's kind of what it's like for locomotives working on snowy mountain railways. If there's too much ice or snow on the rails, their steel wheels will just spin out when traveling up inclines. Because of this problem, trains going along such routes are generally kept short and light – which isn't cost-effective. Now, however, GE Transportation has developed a supersonic air blower to keep those tracks dry. Read More
— Aircraft

PhoneDrone gives your smartphone wings

By - April 28, 2015 6 Pictures
Your smartphone already has a powerful processor and multiple sensors, so why pay for all those things over again when buying a drone? That's the thinking behind the PhoneDrone, which utilizes its user's smartphone as its brains. Kind of like a flying version of the Romo or SmartBot robots, it requires users to dock their phone into it for each use. That approach helps keep its price down ... and also serves as an added incentive not to crash the thing. Read More
— Aircraft

Thin rubber membrane keeps a lid on cabin noise

By - April 27, 2015 1 Picture
In modern airliners, much of the structural paneling used in the cabin and wings has a honeycomb-like structure. Although this helps keep the weight down while maintaining strength, it does a poor job at blocking noise within the aircraft. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University and MIT have developed a membrane that helps the panels to do so. Read More
— Electronics

Inexpensive new depth-sensing camera could outperform the Kinect

By - April 27, 2015 1 Picture
Although the Microsoft Kinect was designed first and foremost for gaming, the fact that it's a cheap but reliable depth-sensing camera has led to its use in everything from navigation systems for the blind to user-following grocery carts to remote-control cyborg cockroaches. Soon, however, it may be facing some competition. The Northwestern University-designed Motion Contrast 3D Scanning (MC3D) camera should also be economical, while offering higher-quality imaging and the ability to operate in sunlight. Read More

SpillMate turns your regular vacuum cleaner into a wet-vac

Cleaning up liquids spilled into carpets can be difficult – no matter how firmly you press a rag against them, you've always got to wonder how much of the liquid you're really soaking up. That's why the SpillMate was created. It attaches to the hose of a conventional vacuum cleaner, allowing it to actually suck liquid out of the carpet. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Existing skin medications may reverse effects of multiple sclerosis

By - April 23, 2015 1 Picture
It's a frustrating situation. There are already stem cells in the nervous system that are capable of repairing the damage done by multiple sclerosis, but getting them to do so has proven very difficult. Now, however, a multi-institutional team led by Case Western Reserve University's Prof. Paul Tesar may have found the answer – and it involves using medications that were designed to treat athlete's foot and eczema. Read More
— Medical

Prototype device could make getting needles a Comfortably Numb experience

By - April 23, 2015 1 Picture
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. Read More
— Good Thinking

Sweat-analyzing AlcoStop system could thwart would-be drunk drivers

By - April 22, 2015 1 Picture
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. Read More
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