Tech Universe: Tuesday 19 June

By Miraz Jordan

For a cyclist to ensure their own safety on roads, it's imperative for them to be visible to cars and other road users. Photo / Thinkstock
For a cyclist to ensure their own safety on roads, it's imperative for them to be visible to cars and other road users. Photo / Thinkstock

LIGHT HEADED: Cyclists need to be visible to other road users for their own protection and the LumaHelm may do the job. The interactive helmet is covered with strips of LED lights that respond to sensor input. The lights are hooked up to an Arduino Uno and the helmet includes an accelerometer, so as the wearer moves their head the pattern of lights changes. That could mean, for example, that tilting the head to the left could cause lights on the left side to display a turn signal, or a tilt back could show a pattern of stop lights. Performance artists will love this one. Exertion Games Lab details.

BABY ROBOT: DeeChee is a robot at the University of Hertfordshire that's learning language as a human baby does, moving from babble to words. The open source humanoid machine is designed to resemble a child, which helps researchers think of it differently than if they were looking at a computer screen. The researchers aim to quantify the transition from babble to recognisable word forms in detail.

Babble in, words out. Wired has more. Check out the video here.

FAST BUS: The UK's first fast-charge electric bus will carry passengers through Coventry city centre. It uses 56 batteries that charge in 30 minutes rather than the usual 6 or 7 hours, and that makes the service viable. The bus also captures regenerated energy from the brakes to help things along. BBC explains.

HER SPACE: China's Tiangong-1 space station is seeing China's first female astronaut this month after the Shenzhou-9 craft carried her into orbit. The craft was launched by the Long March-2F rocket. It's long past time for Chinese women to join the space party. Xinha elaborates.

SIMON TAPS: People with arthritis in their hands may benefit from exercise, but tapping your fingers could become very boring very quickly. Unless you use the Braintap game. A small box displays sequences of lights, plays music and shows your score. Meanwhile you wear a glove that has LED lights at the ends of the fingers and is connected by wire to the box. After the box plays a sequence of lights and sounds you must tap your fingers in the same sequence. Even without arthritis that could be a tricky game. Discovery News has further information. Here's the video.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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