Tech Universe: Wednesday 09 October

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

HELP AT WRIST: Folks often worry that their elderly parent may fall or have other problems and not be able to get help. The QMedic bracelet aims to take away the worry. It's waterproof, has a single large button on top and is meant to be worn all the time. The passive medical alert system warns the caregiver if the user isn't wearing the bracelet, fails to get out of bed, or is out of the home for extended periods of time, and also sends weekly status updates. Sensors in the bracelet monitor sleeping habits and gauge physical activity, to help predict problems. If the wearer has problems they can press the button to contact the landline base station which calls for help. The initial response comes through a speakerphone, then by phonecall and if contact still can't be made, then emergency services can be despatched. If the bracelet detects an emergency, designated contacts are alerted. That could relieve a lot of concerns.

CHARGED WITH SECURITY: Has your mobile phone being infected with malicious software? Could it be, if you plug in to some random charger or open the wrong email? The Skorpion charger from Kaprica aims to both safely charge your phone and check it for malware at the same time.

That sounds like a useful approach.

SKI FOR STATS: If you're into pushing the speed on your downhill ski runs you may consider Oakley's Airwave 1.5 goggles. They include a built-in heads up display that integrates GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometer, barometer and gyro sensors that give you instant jump analytics that show distance, height and airtime. The goggles give you access to loads of stats, your phone, Facebook, and maps, music and buddy tracking too. Fresh air and views — who needs them?

DRIVEN BY DATA: The A14 highway in the UK is extremely congested, connecting a busy port to Birmingham. It will soon become a smart road though, able to monitor traffic by sending signals to and from mobile phones in moving vehicles. Small base stations beside the road will send data on to a central database. Rather than using mobile phone networks the system will send signals over the white spaces between television channels. The data will help planners make better use of the road, but in future a system like this could perhaps directly control cars and traffic flow. Now even the roads have ears.

66 LARGE: With 66 ultra-precise antennas the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array stretches for up to 16 kilometres across the desert in the north of Chile. The telescope has now been completed and will start observing the universe in wavelengths between infrared light and radio waves. Light at these wavelengths comes from some of the most distant objects in the cosmos and has not been studied much before. Let the new discoveries begin.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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