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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.

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— Digital Cameras

Backer Capper allows for one-handed lens-swapping

By - May 18, 2012 3 Pictures
Have you ever tried changing lenses on a DSLR, in a situation where you had to keep hold of the camera the whole time? The problem is that it essentially requires three hands. You need two hands to twist off the old lens and put its rear protective cap on, and to un-rear-cap the new lens and twist it onto the camera – your non-existent third hand, meanwhile, is required to hold the camera body. Because photographers are in reality limited to two hands, they instead perform a sort of awkward juggling act, in which they risk dropping the camera or one of the lenses. The Backer Capper, however, is a product-in-development that’s designed to make the task considerably easier. Read More
— Science

Poultry scientists working on "chicken translator"

By - May 17, 2012 5 Pictures
Any experienced chicken farmer will tell you, the relative contentment of the birds can be gauged by the sounds they’re making. While this has generally been accepted as anecdotal folk wisdom, a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia are now trying to scientifically verify it. They’re hoping that their research could lead to better living conditions for the animals, lower costs to farmers, and higher productivity. Read More
— Robotics

Paralyzed woman uses thought-controlled robotic arm to drink coffee

By - May 17, 2012 2 Pictures
Last April, for the first time since she became paralyzed 15 years ago, a 58 year-old woman was able to get herself a drink of coffee – she did so via a robotic arm, which was controlled by her thoughts. Although that rather astounding feat took place over a year ago, it was just made public today, in a report published in the journal Nature. The woman was a volunteer test subject, in a clinical trial of the experimental BrainGate neural interface system. Although still very much in development, the system could someday restore mobility to people who have suffered paralysis or limb loss. Read More

"Dolphin speaker" could pave the way for human-cetacean communication

While there’s little doubt that dolphins are saying something to one another with all their clicks, squeals and whistles, we’re still not entirely sure just what it is that they’re communicating. We may be getting closer to figuring it out, however, as Japanese scientists have created an underwater speaker that’s capable of playing back the creatures’ entire acoustic range. The next step - see how they respond. Read More
— Electronics

Dip Chip biosensor uses microbes to instantly detect almost any toxic substance

By - May 16, 2012 1 Picture
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always give us immediate results. Additionally, they’re usually only able to test for specific substances, and not simply for “anything that’s toxic.” An experimental new device known as the Dip Chip, however, is said to address both of those problems. Read More
— Military

Scientists create an air-conditioned bulletproof vest

By - May 16, 2012 3 Pictures
When most of us realize that we’re overdressed for the weather, we can simply take off that extra jacket or whatnot that’s causing us to overheat. Police officers, however, don’t have the option of taking off their bulletproof vests ... and those vests aren’t exactly known for being lightweight and breathable. Fortunately, a team from Swiss research institution Empa has developed just the thing for those hot cops – an air-conditioned ballistic vest. Read More
— Computers

W1PPS combines all your peripheral cords and plugs in one device

By - May 16, 2012 8 Pictures
If you use a MacBook Pro as your regular desktop computer, but also frequently take it out and about, you may find yourself getting annoyed at having to repeatedly disconnect and then reconnect all of its peripheral devices. Additionally, because the laptop’s input/output ports are located along its side, all those sideways-protruding cables can end up adding to the clutter on your desk. That’s why Wisconsin-based tech company Veritas Forge is developing W1PPS (pronounced “whips”) – it contains all of your plugs and cords in one MacBook Pro-matched device. Read More

BOLT padlock system cuts down on keys

Nobody likes having to carry around a keychain full of keys, or – worse yet – arriving somewhere only to discover that they haven’t brought the key they need. The BOLT system offers an alternative. It allows you to open multiple padlocks, all using your vehicle’s ignition key. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New light-powered retinal prosthesis could restore sight to the blind

By - May 15, 2012 2 Pictures
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in North America, while retinitis pigmentosa causes approximately 1.5 million people worldwide to lose their sight every year. Individuals afflicted with retinal degenerative diseases such as these might someday be able to see again, however, thanks to a device being developed at California’s Stanford University. Scientists there are working on a retinal prosthesis, that uses what could almost be described as miniature solar panels to turn light signals into nerve impulses. Read More
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