Tech Universe: Monday 16 September

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

NAIL THE TRAIL: Turn by turn navigation can be quite handy, but what's the best way to use it on a bike? The Hammerhead is a T-shaped device that clips to the handlebars and includes a built-in headlight and sidelights. It checks the GPS on your smartphone and then lights up LEDs on the left or right side to indicate a turn coming up. A free app provides crowdsourced routes. Lights are a simple and elegant solution.

SECONDARY SUN: Maybe you hang your washing outside on the line to dry. Or maybe you could dry it in the T 881 EcoComfort dryer from Miele. Their machine derives its heat from a solar-thermal array on the roof. The home's central heating system is also in the closed-circuit mix: the two devices together circulate hot and cool water, hot and cool air to both dry laundry and keep the temperature of the house regulated. That sounds a hang of a lot more complicated than hanging wet clothes on the line.

TELLING TOUCH: Do you test your blood sugar frequently? The Dario glucose monitoring system may interest you. The handheld device has a removable portion that plugs in to the audio socket on a smartphone and holds a testing strip. The device itself has a small lance for finger pricking. Dab a spot of blood on the testing strip then a smartphone app displays the information you need. The app also gives you data about carbs, calories and your activity, and recommended dosages for insulin. It seems a bit fiddly to juggle phone, and two parts of a gadget — perhaps docking the phone into the device might be less unwieldy.

TEN TAP TRIGGER: Forget fingerprint recognition to access your phone. SilentSense is the outcome of research at the Illinois Institute of Technology. It uses built-in sensors on a smartphone to record the unique patterns of pressure, duration and fingertip size and position of each user. Then it turns those patterns into a kind of signature that can lock out others. In tests the app could identify the phone's owner with 99% accuracy after no more than 10 taps.

QUIET RIDE: Hankook's i-Flex is both wheel and tire for cars. You don't have to inflate it either, thanks to an array of geometric cells that line the inside of the wheel, allowing the whole unit to act as an integrated suspension component. When the car goes over a bump the energy is distributed equally across the whole structure. The wheel weighs less than a traditional pneumatic wheel and runs quieter as well, which is useful for electric vehicles. Doing away with punctures is a great idea.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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