Tech Universe: Friday 29 April

By Miraz Jordan

The last typewriter factory in the world has closed down. Photo / Thinkstock
The last typewriter factory in the world has closed down. Photo / Thinkstock

BYE BYE TYPEWRITER: Typewriters went distinctly out of fashion once computers came along. Now finally the last typewriter factory in the world has closed down. Godrej and Boyce shut down its plant in India, where typewriters had held on longer than in the West. While the firm sold 50,000 machines per year in the early 1990s, orders have dropped to fewer than 800 now. You'll have to satisfy any typewriter cravings from the second-hand market now. More at TheAtlantic.

HIFI FIGHTER: The US Air Force has just received an F-35 Lightning II Full Mission Simulator system. It has a high-fidelity 360-degree visual display and a reconfigurable cockpit. The simulator uses the same software as in the actual aircraft and accurately replicates all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter sensors and weapons deployment. Get the practice in before the drones and UAVs take over. More at Gizmag.

YELLOW LINING FOR RADIOACTIVE CLOUDS: Sunflowers grow well if fertilised with kalium, which is rather similar to radioactive cesium. Japanese researchers believe that if sunflower seeds are planted in bulk around the Fukushima nuclear plant, they'll help deal with contaminated soil. After harvest the sunflowers will be decomposed with hyperthermophilic aerobic bacteria. The yellow of the flowers is also a powerful symbol of hope. It'll look good, whatever happens. More at Yomiuri.

NIGHT SPY: You might think night vision goggles would make you look like a super cool spy. But not the Hi-Res Night Vision System from SA Photonics. The goggles offer a wider 55 degree field of vision and higher resolution images than other goggles. The field of view actually expands to 82.5 degrees because of binocular overlap. The system is fully digital and uses sophisticated techniques to enhance the image. This one is kind of clunky looking though, but that's OK as no one will see you at night. More at Gizmodo.

SALTY POWER: Rather than using wave or motion generators to retrieve energy from the oceans, researchers have turned their attention to how salty the water is. The new battery idea is to use the salt water as a medium for ion exchange. The authors of a paper in Nano Letters suggest the device could generate up to 100MW from a freshwater flow of 40 cubic meters a second. Ions FTW. More at ArsTechnica.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz

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