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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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— Good Thinking

Invisible QR codes designed to thwart counterfeiters

Along with the possibilities of fluorescing dyes and butterfly-wing-inspired printing techniques, there could soon be a new weapon in the fight against counterfeiting – invisible QR codes. Researchers at the University of South Dakota and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology have developed a process for applying such codes to glass, plastic film, and paper products such as bank notes. Read More
— Drones

Global Hawk UAVs enlisted to study hurricanes

There’s only so much that we can learn about hurricanes by looking at them from the ground, or by observing them using distant satellites. Aircraft, on the other hand, give researchers an aerial view of the weather systems, while also allowing for direct measurements of variables such as temperature and humidity – the one catch is, would you want to be in a plane that was circling over a hurricane? Probably not. That’s one of the reasons why NASA is using Global Hawk UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to study hurricanes off the east coast of the U.S. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Impossible Instant Lab turns iPhone snapshots into Polaroid prints

If you’re old enough, you may fondly remember the gloriously analogue, low-tech world of Polaroid photographs. While the image quality wasn’t great, you instantly got a real, physical photograph that you could stick in your locker, tack to your bulletin board, or use to blackmail someone. If you now use an iPhone for snapping photos, however, it’s become impossible for you to get instant Polaroid prints ... right? Not if the Impossible Instant Lab goes into production. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Inexpensive Camalapse enters the time-lapse video market

People really seem to like time-lapse video devices. In the past several months, the Genie, Radian, and Astro have all surpassed their Kickstarter funding goals. While those gizmos are presumably heading into production, however, the Camalapse is a similar product that’s available now. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the others, but that fact is reflected in its price tag. Read More
— Automotive

Honda develops new technology to weld steel and aluminum together

Although some engineers have had success in spot welding steel and aluminum together, it has largely been considered impossible to achieve reliable, continuous welds directly between the two dissimilar metals. That changed last Thursday, however, when Honda Motor Company announced that it has devised a technique for doing that very thing. The results, which include lower vehicle weight and better performance, can be seen in the 2013 Accord. Read More
— Science

Smart fabric designed to detect intruders

If you’re a burglar, and all that separates you from your quarry is what appears to be a simple sheet of fabric, you might not want to cut it. That’s because it could be a new smart fabric, that will set off an alarm if it’s breached. Created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, the fabric incorporates a web of silver-coated conductive threads that are connected to a microcontroller. If that controller detects a break in the weak electric current that travels through the fibers, it’ll be sure to let the right people know. Read More
— Mobile Technology

One-cent rectenna could enable large-scale adoption of NFC at low cost

By now, we’ve all become quite used to seeing QR codes on products, price tags and advertisements – just scan the code with your smartphone’s camera, and it’s converted into readable information. Soon, however, those codes could be facing competition from something known as the rectenna. It’s an inexpensive label-like device that transmits data to a near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphone, using that phone’s radio waves as its power source. Read More
— Aircraft

NASA proposes Water Walls to replace mechanical life support systems

When they’re living aboard spacecraft, astronauts presently rely on mechanically-driven life support systems. Not only is there a danger of these systems breaking down, but maintenance can be challenging, as they’re always in use. While redundant duplicate systems could take over in such situations, they add to the expense and weight of a spacecraft, and also take up valuable space. Instead, NASA is exploring another possibility – the passive “Water Walls” system, which would use the principle of forward osmosis to perform tasks such as water filtration, air filtration, and even food growth. Read More