Tech Universe: Wednesday 2 November

By Miraz Jordan

MVS' Virtual Cable is a clever augmented reality navigation technology. Photo / Supplied
MVS' Virtual Cable is a clever augmented reality navigation technology. Photo / Supplied

RED LINING: One company in the USA has created a virtual cable that displays on your windscreen to guide you to where you're going. The MVS Virtual Cable is an augmented reality app for your car. The 3D red line stretches ahead of you on the windscreen, curving and turning to match the route you need to drive. Perspective and foreshortening make the cable appear more realistic and provide accurate depth perception. Unlike a regular GPS guide you keep your eyes on the road and don't have to look away to a separate unit or listen to instructions. That would be exceptionally handy in places with narrow winding roads, like Wellington. Details at MVS.

HIGH WINDS: The wind's stronger higher in the atmosphere. Altaeros plan to use that fact to make flying wind turbines that generate power for remote and inaccessible places. Their aerostat device is shaped like a jet engine, but is actually a laminate material filled with helium. It focuses the wind and keep the whole thing flying. Inside is a turbine blade made of lightweight composite aluminium.

The aerostat could supply enough power for 40 homes, but they say it would be better suited for remote drilling camps or villages. The whole thing fits into a shipping container. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's an aerostat. Details at Discovery News.

EAT YOUR OWN CHIPS: China's new supercomputer, the Sunway BlueLight MPP, uses chips made in China. It can perform about 1,000 trillion calculations per second using 8,700 ShenWei SW1600 microprocessors. Previous Chinese supercomputers have used Intel, Nvidia or Sparc chips. The new computer requires one megawatt of power. I wonder how many jet shaped helium balloons it would take to power that.  NY Times has more.

BUSINESS VIEW: Google's Street View is famous  —  you've probably used it to check out a route you're going to drive. Now its Interior View photos of businesses are coming online too. Professional photographers make 360 degree images of the interiors of certain businesses, including some in New Zealand. Step inside and scroll in the image to get a good all-round view. The programme is starting with often searched for businesses such as restaurants, hotels, retail shops, gyms, salons, and repair shops. Smile for the cameras over the next while.  More info at PC Mag.

ROBOT FLYTRAP: Venus Flytrap plants have leaves like jaws that snap shut on insects. The plant then digests its insect food. Scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea have made a similar mechanism to trap insects as food for robots. Two carbon fibre leaves are connected by a shape-memory metal spring. The weight of an insect makes the spring close the leaves. The Ecobot can digest insects, food scraps and sewage to power itself, so it could use a trap like this to catch its own food. Keep your hands away from the robot!  New Scientist has more.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 22 Aug 2014 10:02:22 Processing Time: 525ms