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.
One of the big reasons people give for not commuting by bicycle is the
fear that drivers won't notice them on the road. While various devices
are available to make bikes and riders more visible, the designers of
the 125-decibel Loud Bicycle Horn have concentrated their efforts on
another goal – making sure that cyclists are heard.
If you're enjoying a serene natural area, you might not appreciate
seeing a very techy-looking pollution-hunting robot putting along the
surface. That's why scientists at the National University of Singapore
have developed an alternative – water-quality-monitoring robots that
look like swans.
It wasn't long ago that we heard about an effort to create synthetic rhino horn,
the low price of which could be used to put suppliers of real horn out
of business. Now, however, the Protect project is aiming at catching
poachers in the act. Amongst other things, it would involve putting
video cameras in the horns of living rhinos.
When it comes to practicing their tackles, young football players
generally have two options: tackle their teammates and risk one of them
getting injured, or go after an inanimate tackle sled. The Shadowman
Junior, however, offers another choice – it's still not a person who
could get hurt, but it presents a more realistic moving target.
Doing a web search for an item that you remember seeing can be difficult,
if you don't know what that thing is called and you don't have a
picture of it. If only you could just draw a rough sketch of what you
saw on a touchscreen, and use that as your search criteria. Well, you soon may be able to, thanks to the new Sketch-a-Net computer program.
Although most cyclists probably don't give much thought to their water
bottle or bottle cage, the fact is that like just about anything else,
those components can be lightened and simplified. That's just what
British cycling design company Fabric has done, with its new Cageless
In order to monitor their blood glucose levels, diabetics typically have
to perform painful and inconvenient finger-prick blood tests – in some
cases, several times a day. Using an implantable glucose-monitoring sensor
is one alternative, although it must be surgically installed and
subsequently removed for replacement. Another option may be on the way,
however, in the form of a device that simply shines a laser on the
If you or someone you know has celiac disease, then you'll know how much
it can limit one's diet. Because people with the autoimmune condition
have a negative reaction to the gluten in grains such as wheat, rye or
barley, that means they can't consume many baked goods, pastas, liquors,
or any number of processed foods that use wheat as a binding agent.
Soon, however, they may be able to eat whatever they want – if they take
a new egg-based supplement first.
Seaweed is widely considered to be a health food. Bacon, on the other
hand ... well, bacon isn't. There may yet be hope for pork belly lovers
around the world, however. Scientists at Oregon State University (OSU)
have patented a lab-bred strain of dulce seaweed, that they claim has "a
strong bacon flavor" when fried.
One of the problems with depression is that because it often forms so
gradually, many people don't even realize that they're suffering from it
– they just assume that normal life is pretty dreary. With that in
mind, researchers from Chicago's Northwestern University have devised a
method of analyzing at-risk individuals' smartphone use, to see if
they're developing signs of the disorder.