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.
When serious cyclists want a little more vibration damping (or lower weight) in their handlebars, they'll often shell out hundreds of bucks for a carbon fiber bar. French company Baramind, however, wants to extend the concept of shock-absorbing handlebars to everyday commuters, with the not-so-expensive but even-flexier Bam City.
If autonomous delivery drones are ever going to see widespread use, then they can't simply fly around with no regard for other aircraft. In recent projects, drone operators had to file flight plans in advance. Researchers from Australia's RMIT University have gone a step farther, however. They've developed a system that lets drones communicate with air traffic controllers using a synthesized voice.
A couple of years ago, Icelandic startup Lauf unveiled its Trail Racer
leaf-style mountain bike suspension fork. It has no moving parts, requires no maintenance, and weighs just 980 grams. Now, the company is introducing a version of the fork designed for bikes that definitely don't need any extra weight – fatbikes
Working with colleagues from Deakin University and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), researchers from Australia's Monash University have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine. While they were at it, they created the world's second
one, too. One of them is currently on display at the International Air Show in Avalon, Australia, while the other can be seen at the headquarters of French aerospace company Microturbo, in Toulouse.
Although camera-equipped drones have opened up all sorts of film-making possibilities, trying to simultaneously control the aircraft and
the camera movements can definitely be challenging. That's why Perceptiv Labs developed Shift. It's a system that allows a DJI
or 3D Robotics
quadcopter's motorized camera to automatically keep a tagged subject centered in the frame, letting the user concentrate on flying.
The whole idea behind folding bikes is that they can be made very small and unobtrusive for transit and storage. It would follow, therefore, that the smaller they can be folded down, the better. Well, Toronto's Peter Boutakis claims that his company's Helix bike can fold smaller than any other. It's also got a snazzy lightweight titanium frame.
When someone suffers an injury that results in a severed nerve, the usual treatment involves sewing the two severed ends directly back together, or bridging them by suturing in a nerve graft. Such repairs don't always function perfectly, however. What works better is to let the two ends grow back into each other. Scientists at the University of Sheffield have developed a means of helping them do so, in the form of a 3D-printed nerve guidance conduit (NGC).
New help may be on the way for healthcare personnel tasked with monitoring multiple patients. Researchers from the University of Tokyo have created a solar-powered arm band, that sounds an alarm if the wearer's body temperature gets too high.
With their sleek shells providing both protection from the elements and an aerodynamic advantage over bicycles, human-powered velomobiles
do offer an intriguing alternative to cars. Unfortunately, though, they can't go as fast as automobiles, meaning that they often still have to be ridden along the side of the road. Minneapolis-based inventor Rich Kronfield wants to change that, with his Raht Racer. It's an electric-assist velomobile that amplifies the rider's pedaling power, reportedly allowing them to move as fast
as the cars around them.
Laser weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe is no stranger to building functioning versions
from video games
. Recently, he received a number of requests to create something from the game League of Legends
. The result, the Jinx character's zapper pistol, could certainly be described as "electrifying."