Tech Universe: Tuesday 3 July

By Miraz Jordan

Copper has become so valuable thieves are resorting to stealing cables to make a buck. Photo / Thinkstock
Copper has become so valuable thieves are resorting to stealing cables to make a buck. Photo / Thinkstock

CALL THE COPPERS: Copper's become so valuable thieves are stealing overhead and buried cables to make their fortunes. That causes all kinds of telecommunications problems such as Internet and EFTPOS outages and delays in trains. That's why British Telecom have installed an AI algorithm called the Rapid Assessment BT Incident Tracker to monitor all 120 million kilometres of cable in their system. It can sense the difference between a telecoms cable being severed and a cable that has gradually failed. If it detects a problem it alerts security staff who can have police on the spot within 15 minutes. New Scientist elaborates.

LONDON BY AIR: Emirates' new Air Line makes a very short journey: across the Thames in London. The cable car takes only a few minutes to carry passengers the 1 Km between the Greenwich and the Royal Docks. And presumably you don't have to be there half an hour before. Emirates explains.

ALL A BOARD: The Bellyak is part kayak part bodyboard. The Bellyak is specially designed for bodyboating where a person lies flat on the board, belly down, and rides down the river. Could be fun, if you like kayaking, or bodyboarding, or, of course, both. Bellyak has more. Video here.

AIRY GESTURES: Take a couple of iPads and a couple of motion tracking gloves and you can collaborate with someone else on a 3D virtual object by gesturing in mid-air. The iPads allow the collaborators to see what they're actually doing, while the spatially aware system allows them to pinch, swipe and drag in the air to edit and work with virtual objects. The T(ether) system was created by MIT students to help them with their own work. Hello 3D virtual chess. Discovery News details. Check out the video.

SUDDENLY SEEKING AMELIA: Amelia Earhart disappeared during her flight across the South Pacific in July 1937. Now, 75 years later, aviation archaeologists will use underwater robots on a reef of the uninhabited coral atoll formerly known as Gardner Island to look for the wreckage of her aircraft. Surface ships will use multi-beam sonar to map the seafloor. Then an autonomous underwater vehicle called Bluefin-21 will investigate the underwater reef slope with side-scan sonar and take photos. If they find what may be aircraft parts they'll send down a tethered TRV 005 robot with a high-def video camera for a closer look. Solving those old mysteries can be very rewarding. Discovery News has further information.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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