Tech Universe: Thursday 5 July

By Miraz Jordan

TWIN LOOPS: If you played with toy cars as a kid you might have had a track where the cars looped the loop. Now real cars with real drivers have pulled off the same trick in a life-size loop. At the X Games in Los Angeles two stunt drivers travelled at exactly 52 miles per hour to traverse a pair of 66 foot tall loops, and experienced the full force of 7Gs. Don't try this at home folks. Wired explores the details. Check out the video.

RUN THIS WAY: If a riot erupts around you which way should you go to find safety? A new smartphone app could help. It collects everything from social networks such as Flickr, Instagram, FourSquare, Facebook and Twitter and processes the data using natural language analysis to understand what the messages are saying. Then it identifies spots where things are quiet and points you that way. Smart phone! BBC has more.

MORE BLUE, LESS BLUE: Glass doesn't just transmit light indiscriminately — it often blocks parts of the spectrum, including blue. But our biorhythms are particularly affected by blue light as it makes a difference to our hormonal balance. That's why the Fraunhofer Institute used an inorganic coating only 0.1 micrometers thick to make glass that lets more blue light through.

The creators claim the glass can improve health and may help people feel more cheerful in winter. Plus, step outside now and again. Fraunhofer Institute explains.

REALITY PAPER: When photos are printed on normal photo paper the picture looks flat, and changing the direction of a source light just creates annoying reflections. But what say you could view the images in 3D instead? US researchers are creating a new kind of paper with specular micro-geometry, which means the surface is actually covered in thousands of microscopic hills and valleys that change how light reflects. A photo printed on that paper would reflect light the way real objects do as the light source moves, and we'd perceive it as 3D. Now that's adding realism to photos! Gizmodo elaborates. Video here.

PAPER VIEW: Electronic paper from Plastic Logic can display video in colour at up to 12 frames per second. While that's not good enough for movies it should be enough for animations on web pages. Their organic thin-film transistor uses less power than an equivalent display with an LCD backlight and is thin, light, flexible and extremely robust. Now add specular micro-geometry for some interesting 3D effects. Techworld has further information. Here's the video.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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