Tech Universe: Thursday 17 October

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

BABY BLUES: Many newborns suffer from jaundice. It's easily sorted out with blue light therapy, but if left untreated can lead to cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, cognitive damage or death. Standard phototherapy devices are heavy, costly, hard to operate and require a steady supply of electricity — a problem in developing countries. The Bili-Hut is lightweight, collapsible and low cost, but most of all it can run for a month on a 12 volt car battery. It's amazing to think that all it takes to save lives is a few blue LED lights.

THE WOBBLE IN THE WALK: German researchers wrapped three-axis accelerometers round the ankles of 23 people with Alzheimers and their carers in the same home. In a blind analysis of the motion data, the team was able to discern Alzheimer's patients from healthy control subjects 91% of the time. Those results were better than the standard diagnostic methods.

That could mean such gadgets would be a good way in future to make earlier diagnoses and more easily monitor disease progress and treatments. It could probably also be added in to current fitness trackers with an alert feature suggesting a medical checkup.

SMARTEN UP YOUR HOME: The Nest Protect device is a smart smoke alarm that also does a whole lot more. Its sensors handle smoke, carbon monoxide, heat, light, activity, and ultrasonic, and it connects via WiFi. It alerts residents via smartphone if it detects an unusual reading and knows which room it's in for added detail. Control Nest Protect through an app or the website. Next we need a sensor to tell us when the WiFi goes down.

FORK IT OVER: Eat more slowly and you may find you lose a little weight, thanks to the delay before our bodies let us know we're full. It's easy to forget to slow down though, which is where the smart HAPIfork plays its part. The electronic fork helps you monitor and track your eating habits, thanks to its online Dashboard and smartphone app. The fork looks like a slightly chunky normal fork, but in the handle are sensors and LED lights, along with a lithium polymer battery. The fork monitors how quickly you eat and later sends the data via USB to the online Dashboard. If you eat too quickly the fork alerts you by vibrating and flashing its lights. Now, where are the smart plates?

OFF ROAD, ON TRACK: Fancy a bit of off-roading in the snow, or perhaps just on open ground or the beach in summer? Der Ziesel out of Austria will certainly catch your eye with its rubber delta tracks and upright seat. The two-wheeler has a joystick for steering and electric motors powered by a Lithium-Ion battery. Top speed is 35 Kph. Safety features include a tubular steel frame with rollover protection, 4-point safety seat belt and body-contoured seat. The weight including battery is around 210 Kg though, so don't go taking it out on icy lakes.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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