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Ben Coxworth

Science

Scientists use 3D printer and cartilage cells to create artificial ears

When a child is born with the congenital deformity known as microtia, they have an underdeveloped external ear – also known as the pinna. Even though their inner ear may be normal, the lack of the external structure can affect their hearing, plus it looks unusual. Normally, a replacement pinna is made from a foam-like material (or sometimes even cartilage from the rib cage) and implanted under the skin, although these don’t always look particularly natural. Now, scientists from Cornell University have developed a more realistic pinna grown from biological material, using a 3D printer. Read More

Bicycles

HubDock makes it easier to remove a bike's back wheel

Probably just about all cyclists will agree – removing your bike’s rear wheel is a hassle. You have to open and loosen off the quick-release, pull the derailleur cage and chain back out of the way, smack the axle loose of the dropouts, and then guide the cassette cogs around the now-dangling chain. Your hands get dirty in the process, plus you get to look forward to repeating everything in reverse when putting the wheel back on. California-based inventor Leonard Ashman figured that the process ought to be easier, so he created the HubDock – it lets you remove your back wheel, without even touching the drivetrain. Read More

Science

Mouse brain activity monitored on video in real time

What’s that mouse thinking about? Scientists at California’s Stanford University can now tell you – to a limited extent. They recently had success in imaging the neural activity of mice, in real time. While the ability to “read a mouse’s mind” may not fire many peoples’ imaginations, the technology could prove very useful in researching diseases like Alzheimer's. Read More

Electronics

New capacitor developed for brighter camera flashes on mobile devices

While stand-alone compact cameras are increasingly at risk of being made obsolete by smartphone cameras, they do still have their advantages. One of those advantages is the fact that, in most cases, their flashes are considerably more powerful. Smartphones may soon be catching up in that area, however, thanks to a new small-but-mighty capacitor paired with a dedicated xenon flash. Read More

Digital Cameras

SteadyWheel takes a circular approach to stabilizing video

As can be seen by the increasing number of stabilizing rigs available for DSLRs and small camcorders, people don’t like shaky hand-held video. Most of those rigs are inspired by the Steadicam Smoothee, utilizing a counter-weighted arm that extends below the gimbal-mounted camera. It’s an effective set-up, but one that’s also kind of fiddly. Fabricator and machinist Robert Stone has created something much more simple, in the form of the SteadyWheel. Read More

Digital Cameras

MIT's new image-processing chip improves digital snapshots

Snapshots banged off on a smartphone, tablet or point-and-shoot camera could soon be getting a lot better looking thanks to a new processor chip. Developed by researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory, the new chip enhances images within milliseconds, and reportedly uses much less power than the image processing software installed on some devices. Read More

Science

Scientists selectively shut off mice’s ability to sense cold

How many times have you been shivering on a winter day, and wished that you were capable of simply not feeling the cold? Well, that’s just what scientists at the University of Southern California have done to a group of lab mice – they disabled the animals’ ability to sense cold, while leaving their ability to sense heat and touch intact. It is hoped that the research could lead to more effective pain medications for humans. Read More

Sports

Pedego gives "fatbikes" a zap in the rear

If you’ve ever tried mountain biking through loose snow or sand, then you’ll know that even big ol’ 2.75-inch tires have a way of sinking in and bogging down. That’s why some bicycle manufacturers have recently started making what are known as fatbikes – rigid-frame mountain bikes with 4-inch or larger tires, that can be run as low as 8 psi (0.6 bar). They’re sort of like bikes with snowshoes. Now, California-based Pedego has released an electric fatbike, called the Trail Tracker. Read More

Science

Cyborg rats use sense of touch to detect infrared light

Quite often, when we hear about brain-machine interfaces, it’s in the context of returning an ability to people who lack it. People who are unable to speak, for instance, might be able to interface with a machine that could speak for them. Recently, however, scientists at Duke University used such an interface to augment rats with a sort of “sixth sense” – the ability to detect invisible infrared light by sense of touch. The research could have significant implications for the disabled.Read More

Science

Scientists develop "eco-friendly" antibacterial material

Because they’re known for being effective killers of bacteria, silver nanoparticles have been finding their way into a wide variety of antimicrobial materials. There are concerns, however, regarding the consequences of those nanoparticles being shed by the material and entering the environment. In particular, there are worries that through continuous low-level exposure to the nanoparticles, bacteria could develop a resistance to them. Now, researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have announced the development of a new type of antibacterial material, that they claim won’t cause such problems.Read More

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