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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

Inexpensive sensor measures ripeness of fruit

By - April 30, 2012 1 Picture
As fruit matures, it releases a gas known as ethylene, that causes the ripening process to begin. Once that process is under way, more ethylene is released, kicking the ripening into high gear. Currently, produce warehouses use expensive technologies such as gas chromatography or mass spectroscopy to measure ethylene levels, in order to gauge the ripeness of fruits that are in storage. A scientist from MIT, however, is developing small, inexpensive ethylene sensors that could be used in places such as supermarkets. There, they could let shopkeepers know which batches of fruit need to sold the soonest, in order to minimize spoilage. Read More

SpaceX test-fires launch vehicle's engines for upcoming mission

Private space exploration company SpaceX is currently looking towards May 7th as the rescheduled date for its Dragon space capsule to lift off from Earth, on an unmanned Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demo mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Today, the company performed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle’s nine Merlin engines. The test took place at SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and was part of a full dress rehearsal for the actual launch. Read More
— Automotive

Vibrating steering wheel gives directions and keeps drivers' eyes on the road

By - April 30, 2012 1 Picture
Many drivers would be lost – quite literally – without their in-car navigation systems. When installed in vehicles that some people would say are already overcrowded with instrumentation, however, could such systems be just one visual distraction too many? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and AT&T Labs are addressing that concern, by experimenting with a system that conveys navigational cues through vibrations in the steering wheel. Read More

Philips unveils poleless street lighting system

A group of people including city planners and architects recently put a challenge to Dutch electronics company Philips: design an outdoor lighting system that helps to declutter our streets. The result was FreeStreet, a street lighting system that does away with vertical streetlight poles in favor of horizontally-strung cables that have clusters of LED lights built into them. The system won its designers a 2011 Dutch Design Award, and is available for use in Europe as of this month. Read More

Solidoodle 2 – the sub-$500 3D printer

For about a year, former aerospace engineer Sam Cervantes served as the chief of operations for Makerbot, the Brooklyn-based 3D printer manufacturer. While the reasons for his departure hasn’t been made public, his subsequent activities have – he’s been developing another 3D printer, known as the Solidoodle. He recently unveiled the latest model, the Solidoodle 2, which comes fully-assembled for just under $500. Read More
— Mobile Technology

iPavement embeds WiFi hotspots in the street

By - April 26, 2012 2 Pictures
It seems that a lot of people have been talking about putting things in the road lately. Just within the past few years, we’ve heard about asphalt-embedded parking spot locators, power strips and coils, piezoelectric generators, and heat-harvesting water pipes. Now, a Spanish tech company has developed yet another piece of “street technology,” known as iPavement – sidewalk paving stones that double as WiFi hotspots. Read More
— Medical

Wristbands could be used to monitor seizures, and warn epileptics when they need help

By - April 26, 2012 1 Picture
In order to assess the severity of epileptic seizures, patients are typically required to have electrodes placed on their scalps, which are then wired into an electroencephalograph (EEG) system. Needless to say, this requires them to be at a hospital, and remain there until a seizure occurs. Scientists from MIT, however, have developed what could be a much more user-friendly alternative – a seizure-monitoring wrist sensor that is worn by patients as they go about their day-to-day lives. Not only has it been shown to measure severity as accurately as EEGs, but it could also let patients know when to seek post-seizure medical attention. Read More
— Environment

Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas

By - April 25, 2012 5 Pictures
Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it ... why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas. Read More
— Spy Gear

Batman-inspired wall-scaling system built by engineering students

By - April 25, 2012 7 Pictures
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory wants to find a better way for airmen to scale tall structures or rock faces, so it did what just about anyone seeking new ideas does these days – it held a contest. Its 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge saw teams from 17 universities and three service academies showing off their wall-scaling systems, earlier this month at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. One of the teams, from Utah’s Brigham Young University, devised an impressive system that was inspired directly by Batman’s grappling hook-shooting, power winch-equipped gun. Read More
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