Tech Universe: Tuesday 1 May

By Miraz Jordan

Researchers in Australia plan to begin testing a bionic eye prototype on human patients in 2013. Photo / Supplied
Researchers in Australia plan to begin testing a bionic eye prototype on human patients in 2013. Photo / Supplied

GLARINGLY INEFFICIENT: Researchers at MIT have produced glass that doesn't have glare and where water droplets just bounce right off. Surface textures on the glass consist of an array of nanoscale cones that are five times as tall as their base width of 200 nanometers. The shape of the surface makes the glass self-cleaning, anti-fogging and free of glare. The glass could be used in solar panels so they can retain their efficiency, or perhaps touchscreen devices. I want house windows and spectacles that don't get dirty. MIT News.

RETINA SCREEN: Bionic Vision Australia is working on a bionic eye that they hope to test next year. An implanted chip with 98 separate electrodes will stimulate the retina so people with genetic eye conditions can see large objects such as buildings and cars. A camera in a pair of glasses sends data to a processor which then sends it on to an implant in the retina. They are also working on a more accurate high-acuity device that could help people recognise faces and even read large print.

How about a way for a computer to use the implant as a display? The Verge. Watch video here.

FAST FOOTING: The BiOM lower leg prosthetic from iWalk adds a bit
extra: sensors and power that make walking easier. Lower leg prosthetics usually make walking harder and more tiring as they are a dead weight. The BiOM though replicates the action of foot and ankle, Achilles tendon, and lower calf to propel the walker forward.
In retrospect it seems obvious. Forbes. Watch video here.

DRUGS ON DEMAND: Scientists at the University of Glasgow are working on producing drugs and other chemicals via 3D printing. They take chemical constituents and pass them through a printer which synthesises them to create something different. For example, the printer may have 2 nozzles each printing a different kind of component that can be combined during the process. In their tests the researchers have already printed some molecules of anti-cancer drugs. Uh-oh, this could lead in both desirable and undesirable directions. BBC.

UNDERCOVER DESK: If you ever thought of taking cover under a desk during an earthquake, then you might not want to know that many desks wouldn't do much of a job of protecting you. A new design of desk from Israel though can be easily carried by 2 children but can withstand vertical impacts of up to 1000kg. The combination of structure and material absorbs and transfers energy so that the space underneath remains intact. The table's already licensed for distribution in Israel. Will the floor beneath the desk legs stand up to the impact though? Wired.
Watch video here.

- NZ Herald

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