Tech Universe: Thursday 7 June

By Miraz Jordan

By ripping out TV screens on long-haul planes, Singapore-based Scoot, has cut 7% off the weight of their planes. Photo / Thinkstock
By ripping out TV screens on long-haul planes, Singapore-based Scoot, has cut 7% off the weight of their planes. Photo / Thinkstock

SKY HIGH TV COSTS: You know all those TV screens in long-haul planes? How much do you think they weigh collectively? The answer is: a lot. And by ripping out the TV screens and replacing them with iPads Singapore-based Scoot have cut 7% off the weight of their planes. Some passengers must pay to rent the iPads, while others get them free. Or just bring your own, I guess. Bloomberg has more.

PIXEL CRAM: Japan Display's new LCD screens come in at 651 pixels per inch. The display crams 1,280 x 800 pixels into a 2.3 inch polysilicon TFT LCD panel. Just try identifying those individual pixels. For further info check Tech-On!

CATCH THE SPEEDING BULLET: The US Air Force want to know how their projectiles accelerate and decelerate.

Unfortunately though test firings usually destroy the devices, so they needed a way to capture and re-use them. Students at Rice University devised a clever way to do that, involving a tank of water, a slingshot and some foam. In their scale model the projectile's launched by catapult, reaches around 80 Kph, is slowed by a stream of water and captured by a padded container. The students say their system could easily be scaled up to match even the largest projectiles. It's encouraging to see the military go low tech for once. Rice University explains. Watch the video here.

BLOWING IN THE WIND: KiteGen's wind power idea is to fly high altitude kites. Each kite is attached to a long arm. Two winches on the ground control the kite's flight path, while the kite's wings pull on cables that activate the alternators on ground, generating electricity. A farm of kites like that would be quite a sight. KiteGen details. Video here.

TALL ORDER: Cool, dense air sinks, while hot air rises, and that's a fact The Downdraft Tower exploits to create energy. Now such a tower, more than 900 metres tall, is to be built in southern Arizona, on the border with Mexico. Cool water is sprayed into the warm air at the top of the tower and as the air sinks it powers wind turbines that generate electricity. Although pumping water to the top of the tower takes a lot of power, if the tower's tall enough there's a net gain.
One tower can produce enough electricity for a city of 1 million people. It'll be interesting to see if this really works. Treehugger elaborates. Find the video here.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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