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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.

Mussels have an incredible ability to cling to wet surfaces. It's an ability that scientists are trying to replicate for use in man-made adhesives. That adhesion can't be turned on and off as needed, however, limiting its potential applications. That's where the Northern clingfish comes in. It can suck onto rough, slimy surfaces, supporting up to 150 times its own body weight when lifted. That said, it can also just let go and swim away whenever it wants. Scientists from the University of Washington now understand how it's able to do so, and are looking at applying the principle to fields such as surgery and whale-tracking.

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In order to conduct electrical signals from the skin, the electrodes on heart rate monitors need to be slightly moist. That's why gel is first applied to patients' skin. Unfortunately, that gel dries up within 24 hours. Now, however, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research institute are developing a solution – a self-moistening heart rate-monitoring chest strap, for use in situations where electrocardiograms (ECGs) need to be recorded over a period of several days.

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Some hobbyists might already be familiar with micarta, a solid material made from layers of denim that have been bonded together with resin. While it's usually carved to create objects such as knife handles, UK startup Mosevic is using a micarta-like substance to make something else – blue jeany-looking sunglasses.

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If you've ever seen a bat in flight, then you'll know how quickly and precisely they can maneuver. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the University of Maryland have now uncovered one of the key factors that allows them to do so – and it could have applications in the design of aircraft.

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There is already a way of running with your young children – you push them in front of you, in a running-style stroller. With your arms holding onto its handle, however, your form isn't exactly ideal. That's why a group of entrepreneurs from Bend, Oregon has created the kidRunner. It's a kid jogger that you tow.

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When it comes to donated blood, type O is special. It can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type. By contrast, type A can only go to A or AB patients, and B can only go to B or AB patients. Additionally, type O patients can only receive O. Thanks to new research, however, it may soon be possible to give anyone whatever type of blood happens to be available, with no ill effects. Read More
Competitive cyclists like to track their power output, and many use a power meter in order to do so. Those meters mostly take the form of a device that's either added to or built into one crank arm, and they can cost anywhere from around US$1,000 to over $2,000. The Limits power meter, however, simply goes between the pedal and crank of any bike, and is planned to cost less than $400. Read More
Flying a drone can be a nerve-racking experience. No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance that your several-hundred-dollar aircraft could lose a prop, lose power, or otherwise get messed up and come plummeting to the ground. That's why Nashville-based videographer and drone enthusiast Michael Pick developed SmartChutes. Read More
If robots are ever going to interact with us on a daily basis, then it's important that they know what sort of emotions we're expressing. While some already use computer vision systems to do so, Korean scientists have developed what they say is a simpler and more precise technology – users just have to be willing to stick something on their face. Read More
Sweeping the floor can be a hassle in its own right, but for some people, having to stoop down and collect the sweepings in a dustpan is just too much. If you're one of those people, you might like Bruno – it's a garbage can that automatically sucks up debris that's swept toward it. Read More
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