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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.
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
For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions. Read More
Last November, Mercedes showed off its futuristic Aero Trailer concept at a transport truck show in Belgium. While it certainly looked quite sleek and efficient, it certainly wasn’t as eye-popping as the full tractor/trailer combo that will be on display later this month in Germany. Known as Innotruck, the bizarre vehicle is part of Technische Universität München (Technical University Munich)’s Diesel Reloaded project, which “aims to demonstrate how paradigm shifts in automotive, energy, and information technologies can help to address major societal trends and needs.” Read More
Many plastic items consist of both blow-molded and injection-molded components that have been welded together. Not only does this require multiple machines and production steps, but the parts may also fail at the weld points. Spanish research center ASCAMM’s new EBIT technology, however, combines the two plastic injection techniques in one process, to efficiently create weld-free parts. Read More
The winding up of extension cords is something that most of us probably don’t give a lot of thought to – we loop them on the ground, spool them around our forearm, or perhaps use a spring-activated or hand-cranked winder. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time putting cords away, however, you might want to make the job safer and easier. That’s where Great Stuff’s RoboReel comes in. It’s a portable motorized cord winder, with some interesting features. Read More
Like a lot of other factors involved in mountain biking, setting the air pressure of the tires is a matter of compromise. Keep them too soft, and you can’t go as fast as you’d like on smooth stretches of the trail – keep them too hard, and they’ll just bounce off of roots and rocks instead of gripping them. As it stands, most bikers go for a “Jack of all trades, master of none” setting, that allows for some traction and some speed. The folks at ADAPTRAC, however, apparently think that such a compromise shouldn’t have to be made. Their new system allows riders to inflate or deflate their tires as conditions dictate, while they’re riding. Read More
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