Tech Universe: Thursday 22 November

By Miraz Jordan

According to Fenugreen, 25 per cent of all food produced goes to waste. Photo / Thinkstock
According to Fenugreen, 25 per cent of all food produced goes to waste. Photo / Thinkstock

FRUIT FRESHER: 25 per cent of all food produced goes uneaten and that waste is a big global problem. FreshPaper keeps fruits and vegetables fresh for two to four times longer. Put a sheet in the fridge or bag and its edible botanical extracts, including fenugreek, inhibit bacterial and fungal growth, as well as enzymes that cause over-ripening. In use, each sheet lasts around two or three weeks. Could there be an end to fruit going off before you can eat it? Fenugreen. Video here.

FLYING CHAIR: Hirobo's helicopter prototype can travel up to 100 Kph and fly for 30 minutes at a time. What's really special about it though is that it's an electric single-seater that could be used in disasters to deliver medicine and food. The helicopter amounts to a chair with windshield, rotors and a joystick. Not much food, surely, given its size. BonjourLife.

Video here.

PIT STOP: There's a hole in the Marius Hills region of the Moon — 65 metres wide and at least 80 metres deep — that could lead to underground tunnels. Naturally, scientists want to explore it. The question is, how? The answer may come in the form of a robot rover that can lower itself into the hole to explore. Here on Earth the four-wheeled Cave Crawler is practising by using lasers to sweep the floors, walls and ceilings of a disused mine, creating a map. The robot, from US company Astrobotic Technology, may soon be headed for the Moon as part of the Google Lunar X Prize. Exploring's one thing; getting the signals back to Earth, another. Nature. Video here.

AT A PINCH: FingerSense from Qeexo can tell whether you're tapping a touchscreen with your fingertip, knuckle or even fingernail. An acoustic sensor captures the sounds made by different types of on-screen touches from the different parts of a finger. Then an app combines that data with where the screen was tapped and how big the tap was to deduce how the screen was touched. If you haven't yet quite got the hang of the current pinches, swipes and taps you'd better get a move on. Technology Review.

SPECCY TWO EYES: Mammograms aren't always as accurate as we'd like: normal tissue can mask lesions and 2D scans don't give a very accurate 3D view. Stereoscopic digital mammography aims to overcome those shortcomings. The technique allows the X-ray tube to move separately from the cassette, providing a more 3D view. Polarising lenses also help identify lesions at different depths. Tests showed the technique significantly improved the accuracy of cancer detection and reduced the need to call women back for further examinations. Now they need to work on reducing the radiation dose. Higher accuracy can only be a good thing, especially if they can get the radiation dose under control. Radiological Society of North America.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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