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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.
Scoliosis is a lateral deformity of the spine, that most often shows up in young children and adolescents. Besides resulting in disfigurement, in some cases it can also cause breathing problems. In severe cases, if the child is still growing, telescoping steel rods are surgically implanted alongside the deformed section of the spine, in order to straighten it. Unfortunately, repeat surgeries are necessary every six months, in order to lengthen the rods as the child grows. Now, however, scientists from the University of Hong Kong are reporting success in the first human trials of a system that incorporates rods which can be lengthened using magnets instead of surgery. Read More
Los Angeles industrial designer Nathan Wills is an avid cyclist, but he has a gripe about most traditional bike lights – in order for them to really be noticed at night, they have to be seen head-on. He decided to create head and tail lights that were highly visible from the sides as well. While he was at it, he also positioned them higher than regular bike-mounted lights, and made them much more difficult to steal. The result is his prototype Torch T1 – a bike helmet with built-in luminous panels. Read More

German cyberpunk weapons-maker Patrick Priebe has created another dangerous toy, and this one's a doozy. Previously, he’s built things such as a laser-sighted wrist-mounted crossbow, and a hand-mounted flamethrower. His latest creation, the Blade Driver, is a full-size laser-sighted crossbow ... oh yeah, and instead of shooting arrows, it shoots spinning rotary saw blades. Read More

Doesn’t anyone just use shipping containers for shipping anymore? Lately, we’ve seen the tough, stackable, easy-to-transport steel containers used for everything from a traveling restaurant to a mobile classroom to an off-grid house. Now, British company Snoozebox has come up with yet another clever use for them – a modular, scalable portable hotel system made up of multiple tiered containers, that can be set up anywhere within 48 hours. Read More
It’s fairly safe to say that almost no one reading this article has ever or will ever operate a Mars rover. If a project being spearheaded by two Polish space enthusiasts gets the funding it needs, however, a lot of people may get to do the next-best thing ... they could remotely operate an actual physical replica rover – via the internet – located in a large room that’s been made up to look like the surface of Mars. That’s the idea behind the Remote Mars Yard project, or ReMY. Read More
When things like bridges or stadium roofs are built, they’re designed to withstand not just the stress that they will experience on a frequent basis, but also the maximum stress loads that they’ll only be subjected to once in a while – these could take the form of things like snowfalls or wind storms. This means that much of the heavy, costly materials that the structures are made of will only occasionally prove necessary. Researchers from the University of Stuttgart, however, have come up with an alternative. They’ve designed a lightweight structure that actively adapts to increased loads via built-in hydraulics. Read More

When the brain receives a traumatic injury, irreversible damage occurs as the cells at the point of impact die. Injured cells surrounding the area then release toxic substances, which cause the brain to swell. This decreases blood flow within the brain, leading to lower oxygen levels, which in turn leads to more cell deaths. Recently, however, scientists from North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a new technique, that has greatly reduced the secondary cell deaths in brain-injured lab rats. Read More

Not only are polystyrene fast food containers usually not recyclable, but they also take eons to break down in a landfill, can emit harmful compounds, and require petroleum to create. Using paper is one alternative, but Hong Kong-based company Innovasians is now offering another – 100% biodegradable containers made from waste straw left over after wheat harvesting. Read More

Although it’s normal for infants to have some disruptions in their breathing while sleeping, prolonged periods of sleep apnea can cause their blood oxygen levels to fall dangerously low, sometimes even resulting in death – this is a particular risk for babies born prematurely. Usually, when an infant does stop breathing while asleep, all that’s required to get them started again is a gentle nudge or some other kind of disturbance. Unfortunately, however, neonatal wards in developing nations are often understaffed, so nurses might not notice a non-breathing infant until it’s too late. That’s why a group of five bioengineering students from Houston’s Rice University invented the Babalung Apnea Monitor. Read More
It’s April, which means that once again, the National Association of Broadcasters trade show has taken over Las Vegas. Amongst the various other film, video and photography-related gizmos that have been unveiled this week is an interesting new product from Manfrotto. Known as SYMPLA (for SYstem Moving PLatform), the modular camera rigging system can be configured in seconds, without tools, to accommodate a wide range of of DSLRs, camcorders and accompanying lenses. Read More
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