Tech Universe: Monday 15 August

By Miraz Jordan

NO DRIVER REQUIRED: Google aren't the only ones experimenting with driverless cars. In China the Hongqi HQ3, developed by the National University of Defence Technology, took a 3.5 hour trip on an expressway under full computer and sensor control. The car has no GPS but uses video cameras and radar sensors to detect other cars. A computer in the boot handled the driving. Fog, thunderstorms, unclear lane markings and a complex route were all challenges the car handled without problem. The car travelled at an average of 87 km/h and overtook other cars 67 times. Imagine being able to use a driverless car while travelling in a foreign country. China Daily has details.

LUNCH MACHINES: The common perception of school lunches as being junk food may change in Miami-Dade County in the US. Schools across the county have installed wireless and cashless vending machines that dispense healthy food to students. Students enter an ID and birthdate then select a healthy meal that's ready within 20 seconds. Some students are eligible for meal assistance but the system means they aren't singled out in any way. Local chefs have had a part in designing the meals. Now they should arrange for ordering via SMS or smartphone app ahead of time. TechNewsDaily has the story.

IN TOUCH WITH THE BOARD: Perceptive Pixel's 208 cm capacitive multitouch display is only 15 cm deep and has a 1920x1080 resolution.

It has a fast response time too: less than 1 millisecond. They see it being used in classrooms and board rooms and by government agencies such as Defence. I wonder what schools could afford that kind of screen. Gizmodo explains.

HOT INK: Taiwanese scientists have created a rewritable electronic paper that doesn't need electricity. i2R e-paper uses heat to store and transmit images to the display. To write on the paper or erase what's already on there insert it into a thermal writing device like those used in fax machines. This could be used for ebooks or electronic bulletin boards. Don't read this out in the sun folks. More
at . PhysOrg.

NO-DRUG DRINK: If you're out drinking it pays to keep an eye on your glass so no-one can slip you any psychoactive substances. At Tel Aviv University researchers are working on a discreet device that could alert you instantly to the presence of GHB and ketamine, the drugs you most need to worry about. Although those drugs in a drink have no taste or colour they do change its optical properties. The sensor detects that change and signals an alert. Replaceable cartridges can monitor two or three drinks before needing to be changed out. Which leaves only two problems: is the sensor working, and is it still working? American Friends of Tel Aviv University has the >here.

- Miraz Jordan

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