Tech Universe: Tuesday 22 October

By Miraz Jordan

Imagine being able to stay cool with a bracelet instead of a fan. Photo / Thinkstock
Imagine being able to stay cool with a bracelet instead of a fan. Photo / Thinkstock

STAY COOL: The Wristify is a thermoelectric bracelet designed to keep you warm, or cool, whichever you prefer. The bracelet monitors air and skin temperature, then sends tailored pulses of hot or cold waveforms to the wrist. The result is that you feel warmer or cooler. The idea behind it is to help save energy in buildings by making individuals feel more comfortable. 16.5% of all primary energy consumption in the US goes to heating and cooling buildings. The prototype bracelet can be powered for up to 8 hours by its lithium polymer battery.

PUFFED UP PLANE: The Dynalifter is a long slim aircraft intended to carry freight. It's a hybrid aircraft — a cross between a blimp and a normal plane — with both wings and with compartments filled with helium. The helium cells lift 48% of gross weight, while the wings handle the rest. Its cargo bay is 3 times larger than that on a Boeing 747 Freighter.

The craft can release detachable cargo pods without needing a weight transfer system, so loading and unloading can be very speedy. Isn't helium becoming rather scarce?

BOOK A DRONE: University students in Sydney can buy or rent textbooks from the Zookal service. Soon though, they may take delivery by autonomous hexacopter. An app on the buyer's smartphone will send GPS coordinates to the drone which will hover at those co-ordinates and lower the books to the customer. Although the drone doesn't carry a camera it has a collision avoidance system so it can keep out of the way of birds and buildings. There's so much potential there for pranking.

PROTECT THE PROTECTOR: The Paint Defender System from 3M is designed to help protect your car's paintwork from damage. Prep the car, spray on the formula and let it dry for a few hours. The clear coating protects the paintwork from road chips and dirt and keeps the paint looking newer for about a year. To remove the coating just peel it off. That's an interesting solution. Now, what was the problem?

DEEP WIFI: Researchers from the University at Buffalo are working on creating wireless networks underwater. That could lead to improvements in detecting tsunamis, looking for offshore oil and natural gas, surveillance, monitoring pollution and just generally collecting and analysing data from the oceans. Current WiFi networks rely on radio waves which don't work well underwater, so sound waves are more often used under the ocean.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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