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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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— Science

Horseshoe bat-inspired sonar system could outperform current tech

By - May 21, 2015 2 Pictures

While just about everyone knows that bats locate prey in the dark using echolocation, one thing that many people may not realize is the fact that horseshoe bats are particularly good at it. With this in mind, engineers at Virginia Tech are now developing a sonar system that emulates the system used by those bats. Once perfected, it could be a much more compact and efficient alternative to traditional manmade sonar arrays.

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— Bicycles

Centinel Wheel makes bikes into e-bikes

By - May 20, 2015 2 Pictures

If you'd like the ease of an electric bicycle but don't want to give up your perfectly good "manual" bike, there is something you can do – you can replace your bike's existing rear wheel with the electrically-powered Copenhagen Wheel or FlyKly, or replace its front wheel with the Omni Wheel. Those three products may soon have to make room for another competitor, however, as the Centinel Wheel enters the marketplace.

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— Aircraft

B-Unstoppable combines a mini tank and a drone

By - May 20, 2015 5 Pictures

A couple of years ago, UK-based product designer Witek Mielniczek turned to Kickstarter to fund B – a combination radio-controlled car and quadcopter. Its ability to both fly through the air and drive along the ground was certainly intriguing, although its ability to traverse rough terrain wasn't necessarily phenomenal. That's why he's now created B-Unstoppable, which swaps wheels for neoprene tank-like treads.

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— Aircraft

Hydrogen-powered Hycopter quadcopter could fly for 4 hours at a time

By - May 19, 2015 3 Pictures

When people suggest possible uses for electric multicopter drones, it frequently seems like they're forgetting something – presently, most such aircraft can only fly for a maximum of around 25 minutes per battery charge. Horizon Energy Systems, however, is developing a quadcopter that should do a lot better. Known as the Hycopter, the fuel cell-powered drone is hoped to be capable of 4-hour flight times once completed.

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— Science

Williams demonstrates sodium-ion-powered proof-of-concept e-bike

By - May 15, 2015 3 Pictures

Although lithium-ion batteries perform far better than alkalines, they're also relatively costly, the lithium salts used in them aren't widely available, and they sometimes catch fire. That's why some scientists are suggesting sodium-ion batteries as an alternative. To that end, Williams Advanced Engineering recently demonstrated that they could be used to power an electric bike.

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— Robotics

Octopus-arm-like tool may find use in surgery

By - May 14, 2015 3 Pictures

When surgeons are trying to operate on hard-to-reach organs, they'll often have to make multiple incisions to get at the area from different angles, or use tools such as retractors to pull other tissue out of the way. A team of researchers from Italy's Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, however, is developing an alternative – a flexible octopus arm-inspired tool that can squirm its way between organs, then hold them back while simultaneously operating.

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— Science

SynDaver Patient offers a lively alternative to cadavers

By - May 14, 2015 3 Pictures

Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest product plays the part of a live patient.

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