Tech Universe: Monday, 28 May

By Miraz Jordan

The hypospray used by Star Trek's Dr Crusher (centre) could now be something of a reality. Photo / Supplied
The hypospray used by Star Trek's Dr Crusher (centre) could now be something of a reality. Photo / Supplied

NO MORE NEEDLES: If you don't feel a mosquito bite you then you won't feel the injection from MIT's new needle-free jet injector. The handheld device uses a coil and magnet to drive a piston and send the drug through a needle of about the same diameter as a mosquito proboscis. The drug penetrates the skin to a depth that can be selected and varied by controlling the velocity. In other words: the Star Trek hypospray is now a reality. Do they have to pay royalties to the movie studios? MIT has more. Check out the video.

BECAUSE IT'S OUT THERE: The 100 Year Starship has won seed funding from DARPA and others. It aims "to assure that human travel beyond our solar system and to another star can be a reality within the next century". The founders say that the project will generate transformative knowledge and technologies that will benefit all of us. The project is led by a former NASA astronaut and will bring in experts from many disciplines to achieve their goal.

This and the SpaceX Dragon — it's a great time to be a space enthusiast. Read more on the 100 Year Starship here.

TOXIC FISH: European scientists are working on how to monitor water pollution. That's why they dumped a load of fish into the sea off Spain — robot fish. The 1.5 metre long fish are designed to swim like the real thing. They're also fitted with sensors to pick up pollutants leaking from ships or undersea pipelines. Although they swim independently, they co-ordinate their actions and analyse and send data back to shore as they go. That means pollution levels can be monitored in real-time, rather than only after samples get back to the lab. It's not clear why they need to swim like real fish rather than just using a more ordinary method of propulsion. Reuters.

UPRIGHT BIKE: Is it a scooter? A motorbike? A car? The Lit C-1 prototype is a gyroscopically stabilized electric urban two wheeler vehicle that looks like a car. Electronically controlled gyroscopes keep the vehicle upright when stopped or even in a collision. It can reach 190 Kph and a charge will take you 240 to 350 Km. But would a good gust of Wellington wind blow it over? DesignBoom elaborates. Video here.

INSIDE GUIDE: Engineers from the University of Nevada have created an indoor navigation system for blind people. Navatar runs on a standard smartphone and combines low-cost sensors with the digital 2D architectural maps that are already available for many buildings. The system locates and tracks a user inside the building, finding the most suitable path, and provides spoken step-by-step instructions. That means the user can leave the phone in their pocket, freeing up their hands for a cane or to touch known landmarks. This could have wider user for many people, such as visitors to a huge and complex building. University of Nevada details. Navatar also has more info. Here's the video.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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