Tech Universe: Thursday 3 November

By Miraz Jordan

eBooks, surprisingly, make your Kindle heavier. Photo / Supplied
eBooks, surprisingly, make your Kindle heavier. Photo / Supplied

EYE ROBOT: Would you rather have an eye surgeon or a robot poking needles in your eye? Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a precision robot for eye surgery. The surgeon can sit comfortably while using joysticks to manipulate the robot which is placed in precisely the right position. The system filters out hand tremors and scales down movements of the surgeon's fingers. Haptic feedback means surgeons can still feel the effects of their actions. If I have to have a needle in my eye I'd prefer it to be held steady, that's for sure. has details, and there's video here.

EBOOKS ARE HEAVY: I bet you thought adding ebooks to your Kindle or iPad didn't increase it's weight. Me too. It seems we're wrong though, thanks to e=mc^2 which shows mass and energy are related. A computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley has calculated that each ebook we add does increase the mass of the reader.

Don't worry though if you didn't notice it. According to his calculations 4 GB of books add 0.000000000000000001g, or the same weight as one small virus. It's a weighty world.  More at the Telegraph.\

LIGHT SHOW: Lights  —  we've had incandescent, fluorescent, CFL and LED. Soon we could add laser to our options. Diode lasers can be more efficient, and their white light output is acceptable to the human eye according to tests by Sandia National Laboratories. White light from lasers combines precise and narrow wavelengths of red, blue, green and yellow where sunlight is full-spectrum. Couldn't filters help break up those wavelengths a bit?   Sandia National Laboratories has details.

CAR BY COMMITTEE: In spite of its name the StreetScooter is a car. The low cost electric vehicle is the product of a collaboration among more than 50 parts suppliers, tech companies and software developers. It's a modular vehicle that can be heavily customised while still being quick to build and inexpensive. Collaboration can win out over competition if it has a chance. Check it out here.

HERE'S WALDO: I'm sure we all know the USA runs the GPS network, so when your phone shows you a map that's the service it's using. But the Americans aren't the only ones doing GPS: the Russians, Europe and China are all setting up GPS networks too. Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system recently launched the first two satellites. They hope to provide accuracy down to 1 metre, compared with the US's 10 metres. Many phone makers are including appropriate chips to access all the systems. If one GPS system drains my phone battery quickly, what will 4 do to it? More details here.

- Miraz Jordan

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