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.
Next time you’re in Terminal 4 of New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, you may notice curiously specific estimated wait times being displayed at some of the line-ups. That’s because JFK is trying out a new system that uses passengers’ mobile phones to get a sense of how long people are taking to go through queues.
Riding a bike while looking down at a smartphone isn’t the safest or smartest thing to do. While you could just pull over to use the phone, Chinese tech manufacturer Insenth is offering an alternative – augmented reality glasses designed specifically for cyclists. Called Senth IN1, they not only let riders place and receive phone calls, but they also let them select music, take photos, navigate, and more.
Some Gizmag readers may remember the Monolith. It’s an electric skateboard with in-wheel hub motors, that has a spritely top speed of 39 km/h (24 mph). Well, Slovenian startup NGV (Next Generation Vehicle) has built a similar board of its own. It’s called the Next Board, and its creators are aiming for a we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).
Although the GoPro Hero’s wide-angle lens already does a good job at smoothing footage out, some shakes do still make it through when shooting particularly "bumpy" activities. There are plenty of counterweight-style devices to help in that regard, along with a few motorized stabilizing rigs and the new Slick stabilizer falls into the latter family. It fits all GoPro models with their waterproof housing, plus it's waterproof itself.
While many of us may enjoy grilling food over an open fire, the fact is that cooking fires are a major source of health problems for millions of people in developing nations, who use them on a daily basis. The main problem is the smoke, which causes respiratory problems – not to mention air pollution. In an effort to address the problem, research group RTI International has developed a cook stove that burns cleaner … and that powers gadgets.
Imagine if you were to carry over 100 lb (45 kg) of gear in a backpack, for several hours at a time. Well, that’s just what some soldiers have to do, and it can cause great stress to their torso and legs. That’s why engineers at the Australia’s Department of Defence have developed a new exoskeleton, that diverts two thirds of pack weight directly to the ground.
For people in developing nations or rural locations, getting clean water may soon be as simple as opening a book … and ripping a page out. That’s the idea behind The Drinkable Book, developed by Carnegie Mellon University postdoc Theresa Dankovich. Each of its pages is made from a thick sheet of paper impregnated with silver and copper nanoparticles, that kill 99.9 percent of microbes in tainted water that’s filtered through it.
Whether it’s slides at playgrounds or roofs of houses, there are some things that you just don’t want to heat up in the sun. Not only does it make them uncomfortable to touch, but it also causes them to age prematurely. While painting such surfaces white is one approach, a scientist at Johns Hopkins University has developed another – reflective paint made from glass.
Readers of a certain age may remember those old-school roller skates that were strapped on over top of the user’s regular shoes. The Cardiff Skate Company recently brought the general idea back, but using rollerblade-type wheels instead of the original steel ones. Walk Wing takes the idea further, with strap-on skates that feature retractable rubber wheels.
This July, PC Aero’s single-seater solar-electric Elektra One Solar airplane got some media attention by flying across the Alps in both directions within one trip. Starting in 2009, however, Solar Flight president Eric Raymond took his solar-electric Sunseeker II over the mountain range a number of times. This August, he did his own over-and-back trip … although this time he flew his two-seater Sunseeker Duo, which allowed him to bring his wife Irena along as a second pilot.