IN THE PINK: UV silently damages us, and apart from waiting till we burn it can be hard to tell when to get in out of the sun. The University of Strathclyde had a great idea: cheap paper wristbands tailored to different skin types that change colour as they absorb UV. The UV dosimeter turns pink when you've had enough. As does some people's skin. Daily Mail details.
SEE THE SOUNDS: What say your doctor can't actually hear anything through that stethoscope pressed to your chest? The Cardionics ViScope for hearing impaired medical workers both amplifies the audio signal and displays the phonocardiogram or phonopneumogram visually. The device is about the size of a smartphone. Press the stethoscope against the chest, then the 1024×768 pixel display shows what the device can hear. Sounds can also be stored and downloaded for later analysis. Why just for hearing impaired doctors? Surely this would be helpful for all of them. Medgadget elaborates.
GO FOR GREEN: If you've ever cycled up to traffic lights and failed to trigger them you'll like the VIP Bike detection system from Traficon in Belgium. It uses thermal cameras to detect cyclists and give them enough time to cross an intersection.
It can also count the number of bikes that pass through an intersection in a given period of time. It'll be your duty to bike fast for the light so you'll heat up and the camera will detect you better. Wired has the info.
IN THE HOUSE: Tesco in the UK is testing an interactive virtual grocery store in the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport. The idea is that while waiting to board shoppers can use the virtual store to buy groceries to be delivered on their return. The select items from the virtual store and pay with their smartphone by scanning a barcode. Surely it would be easier to build a shopping list at home by scanning actual product barcodes and then upload that before you leave? BBC explains.
CONCENTRATING POWER: In isolated areas in some countries electricity may be provided by expensive diesel generators, or not at all. This can make it hard for remote health clinics and schools to be effective. A team from MIT created a concentrated solar energy system that uses a parabolic mirror to focus the sun's rays on a pipe and heat water for washing. The system also exploits the temperature difference between cold air and hot to generate power for other purposes. The parts can be created and assembled locally. A computerised control system adjusts the temperatures, pressures and voltages as conditions change so the system can run virtually hands-free. Even being able to wash hands on hot water is a great contribution to better health. MIT has more. Video here.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz