DEEP SCAN: The Genia Photonics molecular laser scanner is a spectrometer for radiation in the terahertz band. Its low-power non-ionising beam can penetrate most materials including wood, leather, cloth, ceramics, plastic, and paper, and scans the surface of your body through clothing. It silently does its work from up to 50 metres away and at very high speed, detecting traces of drugs or gun powder, dangerous chemicals, or bioweapons. So the airport staff can just check you out for security threats while you hang around the waiting area. Kurzweil AI explains.
QUIET SPEED: The low profile Superbus from Delft Technology University looks more like a stretch limo. The prototype carbon fibre electric vehicle travels at up to 300 Kph on dedicated infrastructure, or slower on ordinary roads. The bus is suitable for long distance travel and runs on 4 electric motors. A lithium-ion battery pack will take the bus around 200 Km. Rather than recharging the battery pack onboard, it can be quickly replaced with a freshly charged pack. The vehicle is seen as a competitor for trains. At that speed though the battery lasts less than an hour. Superbus details.
ONE IN A MILLION: Some cells in the body are rare and unusual, and their presence may signal cancer or various diseases. But picking out these rogue cells from amongst billions of normal cells is very tricky and rather slow. Now a team at the University of California has developed a high-throughput flow-through optical microscope that can detect rare cells with sensitivity of one part per million in real time. The camera checks 100,000 cells per second, making detection fast and effective. You never know when high-speed may make the difference between life and death. University of California has more.
SHAKE A LEG: Robots can walk, but not the same way humans do, until now. A set of robot legs from the University of Arizona walks in a biologically accurate manner, mimicking human legs. In a human being the CPG is a neural network in the lumbar region of the spinal cord that gathers data from different parts of the body and sends appropriate signals to the legs to let us walk without thinking about it. The robot also uses sensors to detect load, ground contact and position, and uses a simple processor to send movement signals to the legs. It almost sounds like a second brain. Kurzweil AI elaborates. Check out the video.
LEGGING IT: One of the sprinters in the 2012 Olympic Games is a double amputee. Oscar Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated before he was one, will be using prosthetics when he competes in both the 400m sprint and the 4x400m relay. He'll also compete in the Paralympics. I guess he has a blade in both camps. Oscar Pistorius has further info.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nzBy Miraz Jordan