Tech Universe: Tuesday 12 February

By Miraz Jordan

Charge anything outdoors. Photo / Thinkstock
Charge anything outdoors. Photo / Thinkstock

IN CHARGE: There you are, out in the bush camping, when you feel an urgent need to check your phone, which is now out of juice, even supposing you could get a signal. Don't worry, just make a cup of tea with the PowerPot and let it charge your phone while the water boils. The pot itself can be used with almost any heat source, such as a wood fire or a propane burner and includes a built-in USB connector so you can charge all your devices. The pot uses the temperature difference between the heating plate on the bottom and the inside of the pot to generate power. How many cups of tea does it take to charge a phone?

EGG TIME: Take a pot of water, add an egg or two, bring to the boil, and then hope you get the timing right for a perfectly cooked egg. Or, take an egg from the fridge, nestle it in the Eggxactly egg cup and tap the lid to start cooking. The device uses stretchy heating elements that enclose the egg and a microprocessor to control cooking time, reducing energy use to around 1% of the pot and boil method.

It sounds great, but you may need to be in the UK for this one.

WRITE RIGHT: The Lernstift is a pen that could be handy for people who still actually write by hand. The pen contains motion, text recognition and pressure sensors, batteries and Linux-based electronics that detect when you've made a spelling or grammar mistake. If it detects an error it vibrates to alert you. The pen can also be used in calligraphy mode to help learn letter shapes.

Charmingly, the website explains that the pen will 'alarm' you when you make a spelling mistake.

CLEAN BEAM: The toilets on a plane aren't the easiest to use, what with the cramped space and the special fixtures. Because blind people may find them even harder to use that sighted people do the School of Design at Hong Kong Polytech have created a BrailleWise system to help. The system adds a beam at waist height around the toilet compartment. The beam includes text and symbols in Braille to explain where amenities such as toilet rolls are located. That's a simple and elegant solution.

GAS DOWN: If you're creating a $40 million gas platform out at sea one thing you don't want it to do is sink while it's still being built. Yet that's what happened to Iran's latest 1,850 tonne structure a few days ago. Iran has the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia. Reports say no one was injured in the accident. At least it didn't explode.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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