SWAP SHOP: In Israel drivers of the electric Renault Fluence ZE don't need to worry about flat batteries and an 8-hour recharge. The 250 Kg battery can be removed, so switch stations use robots to swap the flat battery for a full one — a five minute process. A full battery lasts for around 185 Km, and a navigation computer called Oscar not only knows where all the switch points are, but warns the driver when the battery's running low. Instead of buying the battery with the car, owners lease the battery and access to the switch stations. The Better Place system is a private initiative. Having robots swap out batteries is a smart idea. BBC explains.
4 BY 50: In Linz, Austria, recently a whole swarm of 50 quadrotors performed a synchronised light show in the night sky. The Cloud in the Web show featured 50 AscTec Hummingbird quadrocopters all communicating via radio and performing a preprogrammed exhibition. That's 50 times the fun. DVICE details. Video here.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: We've seen devices that help blind people see their surroundings with sound. Now researchers from the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Korea have a pair of glasses that show deaf people loud sounds and identify where they come from. Seven microphones on the frame pinpoint sounds then LEDs inside the frame light up when a sound is above a certain threshold. The glasses use a laptop in a backpack to process the signal. The idea is to help deaf people react to sounds that would cause a hearing person to take action, such as a car horn or a warning shout. Why a laptop, in these time where a smartphone has so much processing power? New Scientist has further info.
QUIET HANDS: The Bebionic3 prosthetic hand is a stronger, tougher, more accurate version of an earlier model. New electronics and software allow for improved control, while new designs make the hand quieter, stronger and more functional. So if you upgrade a prosthetic hand, what happens to the old one? MedGadget has the details. Check out the video.
ENERGY WAVES: The first commercially licensed grid-connected wave-energy device in the US is being launched next month. The Ocean Sentinel has been deployed off the cost of Oregon. Energy is generated by a shaft in the buoy that moves up and down with the waves. Small devices called wave riders float farther out in the ocean and communicate with the onboard computer in each buoy to optimise the energy capture. A cable carries the electricity to shore. It's great to see more exploration of wave energy. Kurzweil AI elaborates.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nzBy Miraz Jordan