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.
It turns out that the creators of the movie Big Hero 6 may have been onto something – inflatable robots might just be the way to go. If not their whole bodies, then at least their hands. Scientists at Disney Research have made steps in this direction, by creating inflatable graspers that excel at handling delicate objects without breaking them.
Although we've already seen various illuminated turn indicators for bicycles, the fact is that cyclists should still also be using traditional hand signals. Activating an electronic indicator while also making a hand signal, however, could be a bit of a hassle. That's where the TurnCycle comes in. It uses the rider's hand signals to automatically activate a separate LED turn indicator.
If you've ever kept mealworms as food for a pet reptile or frog, then you probably fed them fruits or vegetables. What you likely didn't know, however, was that the insects can also survive quite nicely on a diet of Styrofoam. With that in mind, scientists at Stanford University have now determined that mealworms can break the difficult-to-recycle plastic foam down into a biodegradable waste product.
Whether you call them tacks or push pins, German cyberpunk weapons-maker Patrick Priebe
has created a one-off sniper rifle that shoots them as ammo. As can be
seen in the video that he sent us, it's surprisingly accurate, too – all
the watermelons out there better be on the lookout.
It was just a couple of years ago that we first heard about See.Sense
bike lights. Using integrated sensors, they can determine when the
rider is doing things such as going through a road junction, navigating a
roundabout, or moving through lanes of traffic – they can also tell
when the sun is going down, or when vehicle headlights are approaching.
In all cases, the lights respond by shining brighter and blinking
faster. Now, their inventors have added even more functions by creating a
connected version of the lights, known as See.Sense Icon.
If you want to spend less than US$300 on a GoPro actioncam, you're currently limited to the entry-level model known simply as the Hero. Although it shoots decent 1080p/30fps video, it lacks wireless functionality. Soon, however, potential buyers will have the option of choosing the $200 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-equipped Hero+.
Although there are bicycle head- and tail lights that are designed to emit light from the front and sides, most of them just shine straight ahead. Attaching lights to the wheels is one way of increasing side visibility, but not everyone wants to take that approach. The Brightside offers a simpler solution – it's a clip-on side-facing bike light.
While it's important for all of us to stay hydrated, it's particularly important for athletes. If they don't, their performance may suffer, plus they could collapse or even die. That's why a Virginia-based startup has created SMRT Mouth. It's a protective mouthguard that measures the wearer's hydration levels, and wirelessly alerts coaches if they're getting too low.
Today's simple metal lightning rods may be on their way to obsolescence. That's because scientists at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are developing a high-tech alternative that could potentially reach higher and be more effective – laser lightning rods.
Babies may like to be smiled at, but they don't put undue effort into smiling at people in order to make that happen. That's one of the findings of a study conducted by a team of computer scientists, roboticists and developmental psychologists at the University of California, San Diego. To develop their theory, they enlisted the help of a robot you won't soon forget.