Tech Universe: Monday 9 September

By Miraz Jordan

What if the lens itself was the whole camera? Photo / Thinkstock
What if the lens itself was the whole camera? Photo / Thinkstock

LENS ALONE: Sony's new QX100 camera does away with the body and keeps only the lens. The lens itself includes a shutter release, memory card slot and rechargeable battery so it can be used as a standalone camera. The Cyber-shot DSC-QX100 camera features a 20.2 MP Exmor RCMOS sensor and a Carl Zeiss lens with 3.6x optical zoom. But with no viewfinder, pointing the thing correctly may be tricky. That's where a smartphone comes in: connect via WiFi and you can see what the lens sees, release the shutter, start and stop movie recordings, and adjust common photographic settings all on the phone. Photos are recorded to both phone and camera. The lens can be up to around 10 metres from the phone, depending on the environment, while a removable clip makes it easy to attach to a smartphone. That's an interesting challenge to the smartphone takeover of photography.

TALK TO THE WRIST: If you already have a Samsung Android device then their new Galaxy Gear smartwatch may interest you. Keep your phone in your pocket while the smartwatch notifies you of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts and allows you a sneak preview. Or make voice calls or dictate messages or create alarms through the watch too. Meanwhile a 1.9 megapixel camera can grab those quick shots you'd miss otherwise. The comeback of the wristwatch?

LOOK UP: You're driving along the road when a pedestrian studying their phone steps out in front of you. With Honda's Vehicle-to-Pedestrian system the car may send an alert directly to their phone, while flashing a light on your dashboard. The system uses a smartphone's GPS and dedicated short range communications to do its job via the 5.9 GHz band set aside for automotive applications. To date they've merely carried out a research study on the possibilities but maybe it'll show up in cars in the future. The horn may work well too.

BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ: How long will it be before the air is clogged with drones in the same way roads may be clogged with cars? Chinese delivery company SF Express is testing out delivering packages by drone. The drones have 8 propellers, fly at up to 100 metres above ground, and can carry a small parcel. A staff member gives the drone an address and flight path then built-in navigation systems take over. Staff can monitor the drone's journey though and make corrections as required. So will the air be filled with the buzz of tiny drones?

ELECTRIC BONES: People with osteoporosis may develop tiny cracks in their bones which leak charged particles that create an electric field around the crack. A team of chemists and bioengineers has developed nanoparticles that are attracted to that electric field then deliver bone-healing drugs directly to the cracks. More testing and development are needed before this technique can be used in the real world though. That's a nice finding that the nanoparticles are automatically drawn to where they're needed.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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