I write a Tech Universe column for the NZ Herald. This is a fun assignment: Tech Universe brings 5 headlines each day about what’s up in the world of technology. Here are the links from last week.
Tech universe: Monday, 28 June 2010
- COLD SCOPE: A telescope buried under more than 1500 metres of Antarctic ice! Pretty weird. The IceCube telescope is looking for neutrinos though, not stars, so the ice filters out annoying radiation. Cosmic.
- GOT LIGHT?: The Solar Spark Lighter is a small parabolic mirror with a tiny fork at the focal point. Add kindling and hold it in the sun; moments later you have fire. MacGyver would be proud!
- SWIM, ROBOT, SWIM: Researchers made a 35-centimetre-long articulated robot undulate through artificial sand. It ‘swam’ through just like the sandfish lizard that inspired it. The future of synchronised swimming?
- AUGMENTED DINOSAURS: Find books a bit flat? Hold the specially created ‘Dinosaurs Alive’ book to your webcam and see 3D dinosaurs roam across your screen. “Mummy, why are the books you had as a kid broken?”
- SMILING ICE-CREAM: SapientNitro’s vending machine only dispenses ice-creams if you smile. Facial recognition figures out if you’re smiling or grim. Smile, you’re on candied camera.
Tech universe: Tuesday, 29 June 2010
- LASER VISION: The Prysm TV shines lasers on phosphors to emit red, green or blue light. The laser phosphor display uses much less power for a sharper image. Do not look directly into the TV.
- STOP LIGHT: Aussie scientists captured laser light in a crystal and held it for a full second — 1,000 times longer than previously possible. Their technique could lead to faster, more powerful computers. Zero: the new speed of light.
- GREEN FLASH: Lockheed Martin designed a supersonic aircraft for NASA. This sleek craft with wings at the tail should reduce sonic booms and fly further on less fuel. More vroom, less boom.
- MAKE WINE NOT WAR: The Tempwave microwave ray gun is leaving its military beginnings behind to instead keep frost off sensitive crops such as grapes. So the hippies won after all.
- WINE CUPS: Plastic tumbler, wine, foil top: the Tulip supplies glassfuls of wine, in 3 styles, and hey, you can recycle the plastic too. Choose, booze, recycle.
Tech universe: Wednesday 30 June 2010
- 3D EARTH: 2 German radar satellites are working together on a mission to map the world in 3D, picking out height differences as small as a metre. When East meets West.
- SOCCER CALLS: There are 2 main techie ways to see if a soccer ball went into goal: using cameras or a chip inside the ball. Both alert the ref through an earpiece. Boo. Is that ref deaf?
- FOLDING FOIL: Folding things into intriguing shapes just got easier. A new alloy foil can be taught what shape it should be, then laid flat. When heated, the flat item folds up by itself. Stand back. It’s going to fold.
- TWICE THE TRAFFIC: The T.25 Minicar is so small that 2 can fit side by side in one traffic lane, or 3 in a single parking space. So which driver feeds the parking meter?
- NUMB GUMS: Soon your dentist may dab a healing peptide gel onto a tooth cavity rather than drilling and filling. That really will hurt the dentist more than it hurts us.
Tech universe: Thursday 01 July 2010
- CAR AIR: Is it a car? Is it a plane? It’s both. The Terrafugia Transition parks in a regular garage, drives on a regular road, and takes off from a regular runway after unfolding its wings. Imagine the security check-ins!
- BIOTECH BEES: Several German airports are testing honey from local bees for toxins as a way of monitoring air quality. If the honey’s clean it’s given away for free. Ahh, the clean, fresh country smell of jet fuel.
- EAR AID: Soldiers using the QUIETPRO earplug hear speech clearly: a tiny computer filters out distractions such as gunfire and the noise from tanks. Now we just need special glasses to filter out the sights of battle too.
- READ THE VIDEO: Still no Kindle hardware in New Zealand, but if you’re using the app on an iPhone some books may now include video or audio.
Shh, I’m trying to read this video.
- BUSINESS PAD: The Cisco Cius tablet runs Android, includes a camera, and is built for video collaboration in the workplace. Start your purchase orders now.
Tech universe: Friday 02 July 2010
- WALLET CRACKERS: The Kena Kai wallet includes RF shielding so thieves can’t read off data from any RFID-chipped cards you might be carrying. Keeping your wallet shut just doesn’t hack it any more.
- OW, IT BURNS: Some Sony Vaio notebooks are getting so hot the machine twists out of shape. Half a million notebooks could be affected, but a firmware update should fix it. Too hot isn’t cool.
- DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: The US Military have a Bat Hook device. Fling it over an overhead powerline so the razor blade inside cuts through the insulation. It powers phones and other devices. Hey, free electri…BZZZT! Pfff!
- BOOM BIDI BOOM: Electric Potential Sensors detect electrical activity in the heart without being attached to the body. In fact, they can be up to a metre away. That’s nothing. CSI can probably detect it from a kilometre.
- THE KEY OF $: If you have some serious cash to spare you might like the Optimus Popularis computer keyboard. Each key is a programmable display in its own right. Handy for those ‘I’ve forgotten what language I’m typing in’ moments.