Tech Universe: Wednesday 6 June

By Miraz Jordan

Would you eat less food if each item was made to look huge? Photo / Thinkstock
Would you eat less food if each item was made to look huge? Photo / Thinkstock

BLOWN UP FOOD: Researchers at the University of Tokyo are experimenting with goggles that show a food item as being larger compared to the hand holding it than it really is. Initial tests suggest this fools the brain and causes the wearer to eat less than they normally would. Volunteers ate 10% less when the food looked 50% bigger. They ate more when the food looked smaller than normal. Oh, this could go badly if the fast food outlets latch on to it. Discovery News explains. Check out the video here.

PLASTIC GLASS: We tend to think of glass as being not very flexible. But the new Willow Glass from Corning can be as little as 100 microns thick — about the thickness of a sheet of copy paper — and can bend into a U shape just like plastic. The glass is designed for electronics, such as displays for tablets, phones, and computers. I'm not sure if I want my phone or computer to bend though. Visit Corning for further details.

STIR THE POT: Cooks everywhere will love this one: a self-stirring pot. A dentist in Japan has invented a pot that's shaped in such a way that it boils more quickly and causes the liquid inside to swirl around without any outside input. As liquid in the pot warms up it rises, but the spirally angled sides of the pot direct the flow into a circular movement. Brilliant! We lazy cooks can relax for longer. InventorSpot has more. Click here for the video.

CHATTY FOOD: When you're eating out the noise level in the restaurant can make conversation impossible. That's why the Comal restaurant in Berkeley, USA, combines sound absorbing materials, 123 speakers, subwoofers and microphones and a digital processor to control sound levels across the restaurant. Even the art works are painted on acoustic fabric and form part of the system. The sounds are sent to a central processor which then plays them back to cancel the noise. Are you really comfortable with your conversations being recorded though? San Francisco Chronicle details.

FASTER THAN BLUE: Bluetooth is proving pretty handy for sending data over short distances, for example, with medical devices connecting to cellphones. But it's not the speediest way to transfer data. A new chip from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore can send 8 gigabytes in half a minute. That's 1000 times faster than Bluetooth. The VIRTUS chipset uses an antenna, a full radio-frequency transceiver and a baseband processor to transmit large packets of information via millimetre-wave wireless, while consuming little power. Sending data and crunching data are very different though. Will the processors keep up? Nanyang Technological University elaborates.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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