Tech Universe: Wednesday 18 September

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

ON THE BALL: In the US the National Basketball Association are installing SportVU cameras and software to track every aspect of play. Six cameras and proprietary software will calibrate and measure the movements of all players and the ball on the court. This will allow a continuous stream of statistics based around speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession. That's more stats than anyone could ever need.

ALARMING FALLS: Falls can be very serious for older people. While some have buttons they can push to call for help, they don't necessarily wear the button all the time. Electrical engineers at the University of Utah have come up with the idea of an array of radio-frequency sensors to detect falls. The sensors are placed at two heights around a room. A fall alters the path of signals sent between pairs of sensors and can trigger an alarm. There may be a lot of development work in store for that one.

BALANCE BOARD: The S-Walker skateboard has two wheels — half way along and on either side of the long axis. You control the board with your body, but it balances itself with gyros as it travels at up to 6 Kph. The board includes 2 x 250W motors and a lead acid battery. A charge lasts about 20 Km. That should get you to work and back.

TRAVEL BUZZ: Tourists tend to stand out as they consult paper maps or maps on their phones. But keeping your eyes down means you're missing out on the sights. Triposo's Travel Belt vibrates so you know which way to go. Use a smartphone app to choose your destination then connect a cable from the audio jack to your belt. Four motors in the belt vibrate to indicate direction: left, right, back or forward. That's one way to keep the buzz in a trip.

HIGH BEAM: NATO is developing a device that uses a high-intensity electromagnetic beam to disable vehicles such as cars, boats and airborne drones. Their aim is to stop potential suicide bombers before they can reach their targets. The beam interferes with electronic controls and stops an engine, without harming anyone nearby. The device can also jam radio signals, preventing remote detonation of a bomb. And in the wrong hands that could be devastating. What could it do to a plane in mid-air?

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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