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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:

— Aircraft

Bird-inspired self-folding wings could help drones recover from collisions

By - March 30, 2015 3 Pictures
If you've ever watched a flying bird weaving its way through a forest, you may have wondered how it could do so without hitting its wings on the trees. Well, birds actually do hit trees with their wings. Unlike the rigid wings of an aircraft, however, birds' wings simply fold back under impact, then immediately fold open again to maintain flight. Now, scientists from Stanford University have developed wings for flapping-wing drones that do the same thing. Read More
— Environment

Food additive could find use in more efficient non-toxic antifreeze

By - March 27, 2015 1 Picture
Because of its sweet flavor and aroma, thousands of wild animals, pets and children are poisoned by drinking automotive antifreeze/coolant every year. Its particularly nasty ingredient is ethylene glycol, which affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys to the point that it can ultimately prove lethal. Now, however, scientists from Colorado-based ACTA Technology, Inc. have replaced the ethylene glycol with another compound that's not only safe, but that also improves the performance of the antifreeze. Read More
— Science

Squid-inspired stickers could make soldiers invisible to infrared cameras

By - March 26, 2015 1 Picture
We've already heard about two different studies in which scientists are developing camouflage systems inspired by squids' color-changing skin. If they're successful, the result could be military clothing that can change its coloration to match the environment. It's an intriguing idea, although it presumably still wouldn't allow soldiers to avoid detection by infrared cameras at night. Now, however, researchers from the University of California at Irvine are developed a stick-on covering that could let them do so. Read More

Quadcopter converted into balloon-hunting Laser Drone

The ability to view real-time video from a quadcopter's onboard camera is certainly a handy feature, but let's be honest – there are probably a lot of people who just think, "Wouldn't be great if I could use this to shoot at stuff?". Well, German cyberpunk weapons tinkerer Patrick Priebe has adapted an off-the-shelf drone so it can do just that – using a laser. Read More
— Science

Gecko feet inspire adhesion tech that can be turned on and off

By - March 25, 2015 2 Pictures
In various types of manufacturing, parts are robotically picked and placed using graspers or suction cups. The former can damage fragile items, however, while the latter won't work in vacuums or on rough surfaces. That's why scientists from Germany's Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) have developed – well, a new material. It utilizes the same principle as sticky gecko feet, but its gripping quality can be switched on and off as needed. Read More
— Motorcycles

Yamaha's musical designers create some interesting two-wheeled concepts

By - March 25, 2015 10 Pictures
In its recent Ah A May exercise, Yamaha both spelled its own name backwards, and got two groups of its designers to trade places – musical instrument designers from Yamaha Corp were tasked with creating motorcycles, while motorcycle designers from Yamaha Motor Company had to create instruments. We've already seen the interesting musical devices that resulted, but now here's the pair of two-wheelers. Read More
— Science

Shape-memory wire simulates muscle in high-precision artificial hand

By - March 24, 2015 1 Picture
Whether they're on robots or amputees, artificial hands tend to be rather complex mechanisms, incorporating numerous motor-driven cables. Engineers from Germany's Saarland University, however, have taken a different approach with their hand. It moves its fingers via shape-memory nickel-titanium alloy wires, bundled together to perform intricate tasks by working like natural muscle fibers. Read More

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