Tech Universe: Monday 11 March

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

BRIGHT EYE: Canon's new 35mm CMOS image sensor is intended for video purposes such as security cameras and astronomy. The sensor features pixels measuring 19 microns square and use new circuitry that reduces noise. That makes it extremely sensitive to low light. In an example video shot in a dark room lit only by 3 burning incense sticks, the face of the person holding the incense was clearly visible. So, no more need to use such dazzlingly bright lights at night for city safety?

SMART ALERT: Women in urban India are using their smartphones to improve their safety. They send reports of incidents of sexual harassment and abuse to the Safecity.in website which adds the reports to a map. Anyone requesting alerts will be sent them based on location. Meanwhile the free SafeTrac app has an SOS button to alert emergency contacts and lets relatives or friends track the user's journey. Those aren't the only apps or devices women are turning to either.

It seems it's a sadly thriving market. Collective action is always a good thing though.

BRAKE FOR CYCLISTS: Some new Volvo cars will automatically detect pedestrians and cyclists, using a radar in the front grille and a camera between the windscreen and rearview mirror. If the system detects a potential collison it sounds an alarm and applies the brakes. The system doesn't yet detect animals such as deer or horses, but engineers are working on adapting it for that. Braking's fine, but could lead to its own problems if swerving would be a better option.

LIKE A RAY: We've seen folks flying through the air in wingsuits, but the Oceanwings wetsuit is designed to let you glide underwater. The neoprene suit stretches a membrane between the legs and between each arm and the body to create a sense of flying through the water rather than swimming. Be prepared to hold your breath for a while though.

PLASTIC TO PLASTIC: One of my reservations around 3D printers is to do with how much plastic they use and add to the environment. The Filabot though doesn't just consume spools of plastic thread. The Filabot can grind and melt plastic objects such as milk jugs, bottles and other types of plastics, along with bad prints, to make new filament. Make friends with a printer user and sell them your waste plastic.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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