Tech Universe: Friday 30 November

By Miraz Jordan

Umeå, Sweden. Photo / Wikimedia Commons posted by user Tage Olsin
Umeå, Sweden. Photo / Wikimedia Commons posted by user Tage Olsin

BLUE STOPS: In mid-December the Swedish town of Umea receives only about four hours of sun per day. A local power company is installing temporary ultra-violet lights in some of the bus stops to help make up for that. The idea is to help people avoid the winter blues brought on by lack of sunlight. I guess they couldn't be solar powered though. Reuters has more.

IDENTITY CRISIS: DNA results don't really come back as quickly as your favourite crime show makes out. But NEC's DNA analyser in a suitcase can do it in an hour, or maybe soon, 25 minutes. The idea is to process samples at the scene of a crime or at disaster sites. The device uses a disposable lab on a chip which handles all the stages: DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction amplification and Electrophoresis. Having a portable device that quickly returns results could be invaluable at the site of a disaster. It's a massive improvement, but at 2 readings per hour it's still incredibly time-consuming. PhysOrg details.

RED LIGHT BABIES: If the baby's asleep in another room or while you sleep you may not know it's stopped breathing. Sadly this happens all too often with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Students at Brigham Young University have invented a wireless monitor that spots the problem and sends a message to your smartphone. The Owlet Baby Monitor is integrated into a sock and uses pulse oximetry to do its work. The monitor measures the pulse and oxygen content of the blood with red and infrared light which show up oxygen saturation. These could be essential footwear for babies. Brigham Young University finds.

PERSONAL PRINTER: If you've injured a joint you may need new cartilage. A new 3D printing process may be able to help. The printer combines a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine. The electrospinning machine creates very fine fibres from a polymer solution. Then the inkjet deposits layers of a solution of cartilage cells. Tested mechanically and then on animals, the artificial cartilage performed as the researchers hoped. Before long hospitals may be filled with printers to produce body parts. Institute of Physics elaborates.

BUZZ OFF: LG's latest air conditioner does more than sort out the temperature of the room. Designed for Nigeria, it includes ultrasonic wave technology to repel mosquitoes. Cool air, free of mosquitoes. Sounds good. LG Newsroom explains.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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