Tech Universe: Tuesday 3 April

By Miraz Jordan

Golfers need not spoil a good walk by hauling a trundler - robot caddies are now available. Photo / Thinkstock
Golfers need not spoil a good walk by hauling a trundler - robot caddies are now available. Photo / Thinkstock


CADDY ON CALL: Out for a round of golf? Can't be bothered toting your own golf clubs? The robot CaddyTrek golf caddy could be for you. It follows you around at a distance of about a metre. The lithium ion battery lasts for about 27 holes, and 250 watt dual motors and treaded wheels mean it can handle most golf course terrain and climb hills up to 30 degrees. You wear a small transceiver so it can follow you, but a small remote also lets you send it on ahead or call it back to you. And for non-golfers how about a shopping trolley version? More details at CaddyTrek and there's video here.


BENDY PLASTIC: LG has begun mass production of the world's first flexible, plastic e-ink display. It has a resolution of 1024×768 and is lighter and thinner than glass displays of comparable size. E-ink displays can run for months on a small battery and are well suited for reading text.

I'm not sure I'd want text I'm reading to be flexing too much. Details at ExtremeTech.

SPENDY PLASTIC: Paper money's old hat. Canada's switching to plastic money for all denominations of what used to be paper bills. They're switching to polymer because they say the new notes are easy to verify and hard to counterfeit. The layers of plastic that make up the notes can be encoded with holograms that change colour when the money is bent, but which are very hard for counterfeiters to reproduce. Still old hat: New Zealand went to polymer bank notes more than a decade
ago. More at Technology Review.

THE DARK NIGHT: The Carnegie Institution's Las Campanas Observatory is high in the Chilean Andes where the air is clear and the skies are dark. Soon the Giant Magellan Telescope will be joining it to help astronomers probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy. Casting is already underway on the seven 8.5 metre diameter primary mirror segments. Three million cubic feet of rock will be blasted from the site in 70 controlled blasts, leaving a solid bedrock foundation for the telescope. The US$700 million telescope is being built by a consortium of institutions. Seeing what no-one has seen before. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has more here.

FARM IN A BOX: Growtainers are farms in shipping containers. The containers are set up with food grade materials such as shelving, irrigation, LED lighting and controllers that link back to your computer. Heat, light and watering are all controlled by the computer. The aim is to achieve high yield with low energy inputs and the convenience of choosing a location for the farm. For example, a Growtainer might be parked behind a school, community hall or even a cafe and provide fresh food that doesn't depend on the weather. Sounds good for vegies, but what about livestock? More at Growtainers.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz

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