Tech Universe: Monday 20 May

By Miraz Jordan

SheerWind's Invelox wind energy generators will help send wind down to turbines. Photo / Thinkstock
SheerWind's Invelox wind energy generators will help send wind down to turbines. Photo / Thinkstock

AIR DROP: SheerWind's Invelox wind energy generators capture the breeze from high above ground and funnel the wind down through a tapering passageway that accelerates its flow to drive a turbine at ground level. Once it's turned the turbine the air is released back into the environment. If necessary, the air from several towers can be sent through a single generator for the sake of efficiency. Each tower can be half as tall as traditional wind towers and the blades on the ground-based turbine can be 84% shorter. All of that means cheaper equipment and maintenance, while energy output is greater. Now all they need to do is clean out the CO2 on the way through too.

WAY OFF: Google Street View is well-known and handy for anyone planning a trip to somewhere they haven't visited before. Now GeoGuessr challenges you to work out where in the world a particular view was imaged. In the game you're presented with a view you can travel through.

When you think you know where it is, click a location on the map to find out how close or far off your guess was. There are plenty of clues to help, such as street signs and vegetation, along with which side of the road cars travel on. Be careful though: you could easily spend an afternoon 'travelling' when you didn't mean to.

BRICK BY BRICK: A 4 Km long railway track may not be specially exciting, unless it's made out of 93,307 LEGO pieces. The track was put together in Denmark recently by around 80 enthusiasts who combined their bricks and rails over a period of around 6 hours. Once the train set off it was another 4 hours before it reached the end of the line. Just think what else all those hours of labour and dollars could have achieved back in the real world.

LOOK FOR THE NOISE: Trying to track down the source of an annoying noise? Car mechanics in particular can have trouble with that. Luckily the SeeSV-S205 sound camera is designed to pinpoint the source of a sound. The 1.78 Kg camera is shaped like a pentagon and can be held in one hand. The face holds 30 MEMS microphones sensitive to sounds between 350 Hz and 12 kHz, and a high-resolution optical camera that records 25 images per second. The microphones and camera feed data to a computer that creates a heat map style coloured overlay to show where the noise is loudest. It's warm over there.

LIFE SAVING LIGHTS: One area off Mexico where fishers make a living by catching halibut is also where Loggerhead turtles hang out. Unfortunately many turtles are caught up in the nets and drown. Simple LED lights that activate when they touch the water are not only increasing catches of halibut but also decreasing turtle by-catch. The lights are attached to the nets before they go in the water. It seems a simple but effective solution.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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