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.
So, you've got the stage presence and you've got the moves, the only thing you need to become the next great rapper is, uh … stuff to rap about. Well, researchers from Finland's Aalto University, HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology) and the University of Helsinki may be able to help. Their DeepBeat machine learning algorithm can help shmucks like us create rap lyrics, with a little help from the pros.
It was just a few days ago that we heard about SussMyBike, a monitoring device that shows cyclists how their mountain bike is performing. However, what if you ride a horse instead of a bike? Well, that's where Balios comes in. It's a gadget that tracks the performance and health of your trusty steed.
As some parents will already know, head lice infestations can be very difficult to treat. Typically a toxic shampoo or lotion has to first be applied to the sufferer's scalp, after which the lice are removed by pulling a specialized comb through their hair. Louse eggs aren't harmed by such shampoos, however, so the treatment needs to be repeated once they've hatched. This means more nasty chemicals, and more discomfort for the child (or adult). That's why researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films have developed an alternative, in the form of a comb that zaps the pests with cold plasma.
Even for people who have spacious, secure garages, stored bicycles can still get in the way. Putting them vertical against the wall is one option, but Italy's Codeima Srl is now offering another – the company's hinged flat-bike-lift rack allows users to store their rides flat against the ceiling, with a little pneumatic and hydraulic assistance.
Skilled though they may be, most manicurists aren't able to paint photos of kids or pets onto clients' nails. Tensator Technology Centre's new Fingernails2Go Digital Nail Art Kiosk can – it applies user-supplied images/designs to nails within seconds.
For many people who own a mountain bike with a suspension fork, the settings on that fork are either left as they were in the store, or just set to the manufacturer's suggested parameters. Setting them more specifically does make for a better riding experience, but not everyone knows to do so. That's why Scottish cyclist Alan Mason teamed up with partners at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Napier University and Edinburgh University to create SussMyBike. It analyzes your fork's performance, then tells you how it should be set up to better meet your needs.
Scientists from Columbia, Harvard and MIT have collaborated to create a xylophone-like instrument that has keys shaped like animals. It's not just a cute toy, however. Their "zoolophone" was designed using new technology that allows objects of a specified shape to produce a specified sound. It could ultimately be used to build things like low-noise computer fans, or bridges that don't amplify road noise.
In recent years, satellite photos of Greenland's ice sheet have shown what appears to be a darkening of the ice's surface. A number of scientists have suggested that this could be due to settled soot particles from fossil fuel production and/or forest fires, and that their presence could result in accelerated melting of the ice. Now, however, researchers from Dartmouth College believe that the ice may still still be relatively clean, and that its darkness in the photos could just be due to faulty sensors on the satellites.
Three years ago, Nissan unveiled a one-of-a-kind Leaf electric car that incorporated autonomous driving features such as Automated Valet Parking, in which it would drop off its driver before finding parking on its own. In 2013, using the company's Autonomous Drive system, the car drove on a Tokyo highway without human assistance. This Thursday an updated test vehicle was unveiled, which features the automaker's new Piloted Drive system. Plans call for it to soon be tested on busy urban roads.
You've got a cycling computer, a headlight, and a handlebar stem on your bike. Why bother with all three, when they could be combined into one device? That's the thinking behind SpeedX's new SpeedForce. It's a sleek aluminum stem with a computer – and a headlight – built right into it.