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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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— Mobile Technology

Insect-inspired smartphone projector focuses images onto uneven surfaces

By - May 11, 2012 2 Pictures
If you were using a smartphone projector to shine an image onto an uneven surface, or onto a flat surface but at a diagonal angle, parts of the image would end up out of focus ... unless, that is, your phone featured a new prototype LED projector developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering. Inspired by the compound eyes of insects, the device can reportedly display crisp, bright, distortion-free visuals onto irregular surfaces, and at non-perpendicular angles. Additionally, users can manipulate that display by reaching in and touching the projection surface. Read More

GoPro releases Dive Housing for HERO actioncams

Although you may have seen plenty of underwater videos shot using the GoPro HERO actioncam, its lens was never really designed for underwater videography – as we previously illustrated in a video report, the footage sometimes looks a little fuzzy. As of today, however, would-be Jaques Cousteaus can now purchase a dive-specific GoPro housing, that promises sharp images. Read More
— Medical

Prototype device could take a load off of obese patients during surgery

By - May 11, 2012 4 Pictures
When an anesthetized obese patient is lying on their back on an operating table, the weight of their abdominal fat can make it difficult for them to breathe. It can also press down on and displace their organs, making certain procedures more challenging. Mehdi Razavi, director of electrophysiology clinical research at the Texas Heart Institute, had encountered such problems first-hand, with patients of his own. He decided to turn to Houston’s Rice University, to see if its students could come up with a solution. In response, a group of bioengineering seniors created something called the R-Aide, which uses vacuum-powered suction cups to lift up patients’ bellies. Read More
— Science

Blue Origin conducts wind tunnel tests on its next-gen spacecraft design

By - May 10, 2012 3 Pictures
When it comes to spacecraft that may take the place of the now-defunct space shuttle, it would probably be fair to say that most people probably think of the SpaceX Dragon. It’s sometimes easy to forget, however, that SpaceX is a private company, competing against others for NASA’s business. One of those competitors is Washington state-based Blue Origin, established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos (SpaceX was co-founded by Elon Musk, of PayPal fame). Although the company has been rather secretive about the space vehicle that it’s developing, it recently announced that the design has done well in a series of wind tunnel tests. Read More
— Aircraft

New 3D sensor should help UAVs avoid fender-benders

By - May 10, 2012 1 Picture
Hovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – most of which take the form of quadrocopters – are currently being developed for a wide range of applications. Some of these include the delivery of supplies to remote locations, urban reconnaissance, and military operations. Whether they’re flying solo or in organized swarms, however, they constantly need to be aware of potential collision hazards, both mobile and stationary. While various technologies are already being utilized for this purpose, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has developed a new 3D CMOS sensor, that promises particularly good performance. Read More

Portable fuel cell uses butane to charge gadgets

In a deal announced this week, American high-end retailer Brookstone will become the first seller of a portable fuel cell made by MIT spin-off company Lilliputian Systems Inc (LSI). Described as a “plug-less charger,” it will allow users to recharge their electronic devices’ batteries wherever they are – as long as they’ve stocked up on butane. Read More
— Science

Glass beads used to mimic butterfly wings

By - May 9, 2012 2 Pictures
Butterfly wing material is somewhat like spider silk, in that they’re both animal-produced substances which scientists are very interested in copying. In the case of butterfly wings, it’s their ability to brilliantly reflect light in a variety of iridescent colors that could prove particularly useful to humans. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are reporting success in replicating the reflective properties of the insects’ wings, using tiny glass beads. Read More
— Good Thinking

ZeroN system holds a ball wherever you place it, in mid-air

By - May 9, 2012 5 Pictures
People who saw the 1984 film 2010: The Year We Make Contact might remember a scene in which Roy Scheider, while describing the orientation of the spaceship that he’s aboard, picks up a pen and places it in mid-air in front of himself. While that effect was actually accomplished using a sticky-sided pen and a very clear plate of glass, the same sort of thing is now actually possible – if you’re in the right place, and positioning the right object. The place is MIT’s Media Lab, and the object is a small plastic-coated spherical magnet called ZeroN. Users can physically place it anywhere within a specified three-dimensional block of “anti-gravity space,” then watch as it stays in place when they let it go. It can also move through the air on its own, and even function as a virtual movie camera. Read More

LazyTruth hunts down urban myths in your inbox

Pretty much everyone has that one wide-eyed person in their lives who is constantly forwarding them emails about things like airplanes that disperse mind-control drugs, maniacs who hide under parked cars, and major corporations that are run by Satanists. While you may think about setting these people straight – and thereby helping to quell the online flood of malarkey – it can be a hassle finding the proper information to send them. That’s where the LazyTruth inbox widget comes in. Read More
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