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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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— Urban Transport

Hornet velomobile comes with power boost included

By - April 16, 2012 5 Pictures
If you take a recumbent tricycle and enclose it in an aerodynamic fuselage, what you end up with is known as a velomobile. The vehicles are significantly faster than bicycles on the flats and downhills, plus they offer more weather protection, but they do tend to be heavy – this can make hill-climbing quite an ordeal. Some manufacturers compensate for this limitation by offering electric assist motors as optional extras, although these just add even more weight, along with boosting what is already often a pretty high price tag. Toronto-based BlueVelo, however, has taken an interesting approach with its new Hornet velomobile. It was designed around its electric assist motor, which is included in the vehicle’s relatively low price. Read More

TapCaps make any gloves touchscreen-friendly

Although winter is currently coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, a certain cold-related problem with capacitive touchscreen devices still persists – you can’t use them if you’re wearing gloves or mittens. According to Washington, DC-based inventor Alice Ning, however, her TapCaps will allow you to do so, while wearing any pair of gloves. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Engineered cells seek out and kill HIV in living organisms

By - April 13, 2012 1 Picture
Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the body does already contain cells that fight the virus – the problem is, there just aren’t enough of them to completely get rid of it. In 2009, scientists at UCLA performed a proof-of-concept experiment, in which they were able to grow these CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (better known as infection-fighting “T cells”) from genetically engineered human stem cells. Now, in a subsequent study, they have demonstrated that these engineered cells can seek out and kill HIV-infected cells in a living organism. Read More
— Good Thinking

Students design goop-filled bags to fill potholes

By - April 13, 2012 1 Picture
Have you ever mixed corn starch with water? If you have, you probably noticed how it oozed like a liquid when flowing across a surface, yet hardened like a solid if you suddenly struck it. That’s because the corn starch/water mixture is what’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid – the particles it’s composed of slide past one another easily when moving slowly, but jam against each other when forced to move quickly. Recently, a group of students from Cleveland’s Case Western University encased such a fluid within sturdy bags, to create a simple product that could be used to temporarily fill potholes in roads. Read More

Forensic software determines race and gender based on skull measurements

For some time now – whether by using computers or clay – forensic scientists have been able to make three-dimensional reconstructions of the faces of the deceased, based on the contours of their skulls. More recently, however, software has been developed that can determine the sex and precise ancestral background of a person no longer with us, via a set of skull measurements. Read More

Nanotech greatly reduces leaching in pressure-treated lumber

When people are building things such as decks or fences, they often use lumber that has been pressure-treated with preservatives. While this does indeed help the wood last longer, the chemicals will gradually leach out into the ground, harming organisms within it. Now, however, researchers have found a way of using nanotechnology to keep the preservatives in the wood. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Wearable system wirelessly delivers power to implants

By - April 11, 2012 1 Picture
When it comes to implantable electronic devices such as pacemakers, biosensors or drug-delivery devices, there are a few options regarding power sources. While batteries could be used in some applications, doing so would require surgically replacing the implant when its battery runs out. Radio wave-based and inductive systems are instead often used, in which power is “beamed” to the device from a source outside the body. According to researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems, however, such systems often have a limited range, and are easily affected by factors such as location, position and movement. Instead, they’ve developed what they claim is a better, more versatile system. Read More

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