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.
Although peripheral devices now allow smartphones to serve as everything from weather stations to eye-examiners, it's typically thought that genuine purpose-built tools still perform best. In the case of stethoscopes, however, that may not be the case. Researchers with Florida-based Orlando Health recently determined that HeartBuds – a new stethoscope device/app – performed as well as traditional stethoscopes, and better than a commonly-used disposable model.
The much-anticipated video game Fallout 4 was released earlier this week, and German cyber-weapons builder Patrick Priebe hasn't missed a beat. He's already created an AER 9 pulse laser rifle, based on the gun from the game. It's not just a prop, either – he tells us that it "will blast the paint off your car, and tiny holes into metal."
If you want to own "the world's lightest folding bike" right now, you're likely to end up choosing between the Allen Sports Ultra X (8.5 kg/18.75 lb) or the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Super Pro (7.5 kg/16.5 lb, depending on how it's set up). If a new Kickstarter campaign is successful, however, that will soon change. The carbon fiber Hummingbird is claimed to weigh just 6.5 kg (14 lb).
"Smart" bike locks may not quite be at the point where they're a dime a dozen, but there certainly are a number of them out there. That said, pretty much all of them require you to have your smartphone with you, and to make sure it's powered up when locking and unlocking. The Grasp Lock, however, is a little different. It utilizes a built-in fingerprint reader to recognize its user, so no phones, keys or combos are necessary.
Falls can be devastating for the elderly, which is why Orthotic Holdings Inc (OHI) first created the Moore Balance Brace. It's a foot and ankle support, which is designed to improve the balance and stability of its wearers – as long as they use it correctly, that is. With that in mind, OHI has partnered with wearable fitness tech firm Sensoria Fitness to create the internet-connected Smart Moore Balance Brace.
It was just last month that consumer drone manufacturer DJI extended its focus from the sky to the ground, by introducing the motor-stabilized Osmo action camera. Well, it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that another quadcopter-maker has followed suit. Today, Yuneec announced its new Typhoon ActionCam, which sounds like it could give the Osmo a run for its money.
Although fenders are definitely a necessity for all-weather bicycle commuters, it can be difficult to get an exact fit. Even if you do buy fenders for the right wheel size, they can still rub against the tire or just look a little sloppy. That's where Bamboo Bee's Mandy Fender comes in – it can be custom-molded to the specific shape and size of each wheel.
Whether it's because of their complexity or their tiny touchscreen keyboards, smartphones are difficult for many seniors to use. While there are already simplified big-buttoned phones, older buyers may still wish to have a little more choice when shopping for a phone. That's where EziSmart comes in. It's a case for existing popular Android smartphones, that makes them both physically and mentally easier to operate.
Spider silk has some amazing properties. Among other things, it's as strong as steel, tougher than Kevlar, and lighter than carbon fiber. Unfortunately, however, farming spiders for their silk would be a very impractical venture. That's why some groups have looked into creating synthetic spider silk. Japanese company Spiber is one of those, and it recently joined forces with The North Face to create a parka made from its QMONOS fiber. Called the Moon Parka, the garment is reportedly "the world’s first piece of clothing made from artificial protein material."
One of the problems with consumer drones is that unless you're using them to shoot video, they can actually get kind of boring after a while. Flying them pointlessly up and down and back and forth only stays interesting for so long. That's why a group of Slovakian entrepreneurs have created Drone n Base. It lets drone pilots race one another, engage in aerial dogfights, or play games like capture the flag.