Tech Universe: Wednesday 30 May

By Miraz Jordan

ELEVATED MEANING: At 634 metres the Tokyo Skytree has become the world's highest freestanding broadcasting tower. The design is based on Japanese aesthetics, where the name, colour, lighting and even the height draw on and reflect culturally significant elements. The tower uses only LED lights for both beauty and energy saving. Viewing platforms are at 350 and 450 metres. It's interesting that even the height was chosen for cultural reasons. Tokyo Skytree details.

HIGH SPEED HIGH DEF: The NHK Ultra High Definition imaging system captures 4 billion pixels per second. That means it has to send data at an unusually high rate too — up to 51.2 gigabits per second. The system outputs 33MP video at 120fps. Broadcasts at full resolution are designed for large, wall sized displays. That'd fill up a hard drive pretty quickly. DigInfo News has more.

WIKIHISTORY: Monmouth in Wales is really making the most of the Internet. If you go to visit leave the guidebook at home, but remember your smartphone. Points of interest will be marked with QR codes. Scan them on your phone then use the free WiFi to be connected to a Wikipedia page in your language about the location. More than 1,000 QR codes are in place, and residents, businesses and volunteers have been creating and translating Wikipedia pages.

Now if they could lose the QR codes and base it on GPS location, wouldn't that be a fine thing! Then perhaps they could add tracking, mapping and photojournals too. CBS News explains.

ROLLING BLOCK: In Zurich, Switzerland, the railway line needed some extra space — right where the Machine Factory Oerlikon building had been standing for more than 120 years. Rather than demolishing the building they decided to move it, all 6,200 tonnes of it, 60 metres to the west. The foundations have been freed and rails installed under the building, so now it's on the move. It's surprising how many structures are moved like that. BBC elaborates.

PILL POPPERS: If you have to take lots of meds you may use special containers to store the pills and help you keep track of which ones you've taken every day. But those bottles aren't generally very friendly for people with impaired vision. Students and the University of Cincinnati created a new design that's not only child-proof but easy for blind people to use. The low-cost bottles feature specially textured brightly coloured flip lids that don't use Braille but are easily distinguished from one another. They also allow users to reach in and easily pick out a couple of tablets without needing to pour out a handful. A failsafe audio button on the lid can also say what the contents are. Those bottles sound like a great idea for everyone. Visit University of Cincinnati for further info.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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