WINDOW DETECTIVE: There are systems to detect whether a window is open or closed, but mostly they need the windows to be wired up. Now there's a new system that needs neither wires nor batteries. A sensor embedded in the window frame detects whether a window is closed, partially or fully open. It sends the data wirelessly to a base station that can be accessed directly or via smartphone. The sensor itself draws its power from sunlight and ambient heat. Mass production is expected by end of the year. Then you need a proximity-enabled app to alert you before you leave home that one of the windows is still open. Fraunhofer Institute elaborates.
HEARTS AND PHONES: A 17-year-old student in the US wanted to tackle one of the problems of health-care access in developing countries. She created a prototype EKG that needs only a cellphone and a small circuit board. The circuit board reads and amplifies the slight fluctuations in voltage as the heart beats, then sends the signal via Bluetooth to a cellphone.
A Java app on the phone then displays the EKG signal for a doctor to read. Her approach could bring better health care to countries where sophisticated medical equipment is beyond reach, especially since many have ready access to cellphones. Probably a lot of previously costly health care could be handled by a small device and a cellphone. Click The Mary Sue for more info. Check out the video here.
REMOTE DOCTORS: It seems rural areas everywhere are short of doctors. In some US states the MDLive system is helping rural dwellers get the health care they need without long trips to the city. The system uses videoconferencing equipment to allow patients to consult a doctor. A nurse may also be present and carry out physical examinations. With well-qualified nurses around it makes sense that the doctor doesn't need to be there in person. KurzweilAI has further details.
PHOTO FINISH: Scientists need extremely short bursts of laser light in order to study the motion of electrons. The shorter the burst the more detail they can gather. Ideally they'd like to capture movements of electrons during chemical reactions. That's why the University of Central Florida are so pleased with their latest short pulse of laser light: it was the briefest yet, at only 0.000000000000000067 seconds. And if that's too many zeroes for you to grasp, it's officially known as 67 attoseconds, beating the previous record by 13 quintillionths of a second. That's a mighty brief blip. Wired explains.
PHOTON PAIRS: Quantum teleportation is a technique that sends the quantum state of an object such as a photon to make a distant photon's state identical to the original. Now scientists from the University of Waterloo in Canada have managed to do this across 143 Km, or roughly the minimum distance between the ground and orbiting satellites. The information was sent between the Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife. This success could be the first step in quantum communications via satellite. We're going to have to stop using 'rocket science' as the standard for something being hard and start using 'quantum teleportation' instead. University of Waterloo details.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz