SLIPPERY SAUCE: What teflon did for frypans LiquiGlide does for sauce and ketchup bottles. The super-slippery coating makes the inside of the bottle so frictionless that the ketchup just slides right out. The components are super-secret, but the creators at MIT have patented the whole thing and say the coating could reduce food wastage. Slapping the bottom of one of those bottles could be a bit tragic. MIT has more info. Video here.
CELLPHONE TRIGGER: We've seen plenty of TV shows where a call to a cellphone triggers an explosion. In India farmers are doing something much more useful. If they irrigate their fields, an electric pump may feed water into the pipes. But power cuts are frequent and a farmer may have to walk many miles to flick the switch. By giving the pump a cellphone connection the farmer can make a call to the pump to check if the power's on. If it is then a second call starts the pump, which sends a confirmation SMS.
Next perhaps a small webcam so the farmer can see if everything's working right? BBC details.
SUGAR COLOURED LENSES: Scientists at The University of Akron in the USA have developed a contact lens with sensor molecules that detects blood sugar levels in the wearer's eye. The lens changes colour if levels are a problem, but the wearer won't notice the colour change. However, if they take a photo of their eye with a smartphone an app will report the blood sugar level. Keep that smartphone charged!
University of Akron explains. Check out the video.
A HARD ROAD: While properly inflated tires can save fuel, how about the road itself? Researchers at MIT calculated that improvements to road construction and surfaces could reduce how hard tires have to push and so reduce fuel usage. Like walking on sand, a tire has to push against a road surface. Stiffer pavements reduce the deflection of tires, therefore reducing the amount of fuel used. On busy roads that could lead to considerable savings. It sounds like a good plan.
MIT News elaborates.
MADE UP COFFEE: Zipwhip's proof-of-concept Textspresso machine adds Arduino to the whole coffee experience. A standard coffee machine is hooked up with an Arduino board and an Android mobile app to make coffee in response to SMS messages. One part of its programming is to write messages in the froth using edible ink. The creators have made the plans open-source, so go for it makers! BBC details.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz