Tech Universe: Wednesday 22 May

By Miraz Jordan

A new tracking scope will help hunters lock on to their targets. Photo / Thinkstock
A new tracking scope will help hunters lock on to their targets. Photo / Thinkstock

POINT AND SHOOT: If you're into hunting but not a very good shot then the TrackingPoint smart rifle may appeal: you point and it locks a laser on the target. You pull the trigger, but it doesn't fire until the weapon has been pointed in exactly the right place, taking into account dozens of variables, including wind, shake and distance to the target. The rifle has a built-in laser range finder, a heads-up display, a ballistics computer and a Wi-Fi transmitter that streams live video and audio to a nearby iPad. The recorded video can be shared online so you can show your friends what a good shot the rifle is. The scope can be passworded protected to prevent unauthorised users from accessing the tracking features. The targets, whatever or whoever they are, don't stand a chance.

BELT ON WATCH: People with epilepsy may have no warning before they experience a seizure.

A smart belt from Rice University monitors respiration rate and electrical conductivity in the skin, both of which can give away an impending seizure. The device sends data via Bluetooth to a computer or smartphone that can alert the wearer. The belt was specially designed to be worn by children during the night and to alert caregivers. That's the kind of tracking to invest in.

DVD ON THE AIR: German researchers have really cranked up wifi speeds: 40 Gbit/s at 240 GHz over a distance of one kilometre. That would deliver the contents of a DVD in less than a second. They did it with fully integrated electronic transmitters and receivers with active electronic circuits. The particular high frequency they selected means components can be small, while the atmosphere shows low attenuation in this frequency range. It also performs well in fog and rain. Just keep the DVD data coming.

DEEP DISH DVD: When some folks in Brazil watched rented DVDs recently they found the room filling with the smell of pizza. The DVDs were stamped with special thermal ink and flavoured varnish. As the disc heated it released the smell of pizza and the thermal ink melted into an image of a pizza with an advertising message embedded. I bet it took more than a second to deliver that DVD.

BUY A SMILE: Advertisers are keen to make their ads effective. If viewers enjoy an ad, the theory is they'll be more likely to buy the product. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology collected video of people watching online ads. The viewers were asked for each ad if they liked it or not. Meanwhile software tracked their smile intensity as they watched the video and predicted whether they would respond positively or negatively. More than 75% of its predictions were correct. Of course, the software needs to distinguish between a smile of enjoyment and a grimace of distaste.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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