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.
Besides simply being fascinating to watch, insect-inspired robots may
someday find use as scouts in search-and-rescue operations. In order
for them to function in such scenarios, however, they'll have to be able
to move through fields of debris. While some scientists have looked at
using sensors and algorithms that let the bots scan their surroundings
and then plot paths around obstacles, researchers at UC Berkley have
developed a much less complex but still effective approach – they've
outfitted a robotic cockroach with a streamlined shell, that lets it
just push its way through.
There are already several methods of identifying cattle –
branding, ear tags, tattooing and ear notching all come to mind. Now,
however, Egyptian scientists are working on a new biometric system that's less
invasive and more difficult to thwart: electronic muzzle-printing.
It's now pretty common for people to use an actioncam to record their
bicycle trips. Some people even wear one, with another mounted somewhere
on their bike. What isn't so common, however, is to see someone cycling
with up to nine cameras going at once. That's just what
Emmy-award winning producer Rich Collier does on a regular basis,
however, in the production of his Roll Play TV quiz show.
And you thought that regular pill bottles were hard to open ... a new
overdose-proof medication dispenser developed by a team of mechanical
engineering students at Johns Hopkins University can't be opened even
with the help of a hammer or drill. It does, however, deliver the proper
dosage at the proper time, as long as the patient uses its built-in
The Morgan Threewheeler
is definitely a unique vehicle, although with prices starting just shy
of £30,000 (about US$47,000) ... well, it ain't cheap. That said, if
it's mainly just the look of the thing that you like, you might
consider saving quite a few bucks and going with the human/electric
hybrid replica now being offered by Minsk-based Ekomobil.
Electric bikes may help you climb hills, fight headwinds and arrive at
work in a non-sweaty state, but they still won't keep you dry when it
rains. That's one of the reasons that some people – mostly deep-pocketed
people – are looking at human/electric hybrid velomobiles. One of the latest such vehicles to hit the road is Virginia-based inventor Peter Ginzburg's GinzVelo.
A lot of cyclists like to take their bike with them when traveling by
air, or they'll rent one upon reaching their destination. That said,
they may still need a way of transporting it once they get there. Using a
or renting a large vehicle are a couple of solutions, but Allen Sports
has now announced another – the AL01, which is billed as being the
world's smallest folding bike rack.
is kind of a neat product, if you’re an iPad videographer. It’s an
anti-vibration-padded aluminum iPad frame with threaded holes that allow
users to add accessories such as a shotgun mic, light, lens or tripod.
Soon, however, it’ll be getting a sister device that can be used with
any tablet or smartphone.
"Smart" smoke and CO2 detectors
can do all sorts of clever things, such as notifying absent homeowners
via their smartphone if the alarm goes off. However, what if you’ve
already got a perfectly good "dumb" detector that you don’t want to
replace? Well, you’ll soon be able to give it some brains, in the form
of the Roost battery.
Ah, the selfie stick ... perhaps one of the most made-fun-of inventions
of the past few years. The SoloCam takes the basic idea and adds to it,
however, creating a tool that could actually be useful to video bloggers
or even serious journalists whose camera operators have been laid off.