Tech Universe: Friday 08 November

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

MORE FOR MARS: India's Mangalyaan is a Mars Orbiter that has headed out on a mission to carry out experiments. The craft will travel for almost a year across 780 million kilometres to reach Mars. One of its jobs will be to search for the signature of methane in the Martian atmosphere using its Methane Sensor for Mars instrument. It will also examine the rate of loss of atmospheric gases to outer space. Mars is starting to get a bit crowded.

PHONE SPOTTING: Smartphone cameras are pretty good these days — a feature that Holomic is making use of with its attachment to detect viruses and bacteria less than one-thousandth of the width of a human hair. The lightweight device is 3D printed and snaps on to the back of a smartphone. It contains a colour filter, an external lens and a laser diode, and includes a slot for a rapid diagnostic test strip.

An app allows you to make a picture of the strip which the app analyses in real time. Results can be uploaded and used by health planners. Smartphones are really a great thing for health care.

LET THE HELMET DO THE THINKING: Protective sports wear such as helmets may contain a layer of foam. But what say that layer of foam could report back on impacts? Many football players suffer a concussion during a game, but concussions are tricky to diagnose. Xonano smart foam creates a voltage when it's compressed. That creates a signal that is sent to an app on the coach's computer or tablet and can indicate when the player was hit too hard. The smart foam fits easily inside a helmet and could be used in other sports gear or for applications such as sleep-sensing mattresses. That's a smart idea.

OVER, UNDER, ACROSS: Meixi Lake in China is a purpose-built city. It also has a river running through it, and where you have a river you need a bridge. A new pedestrian bridge designed by Next Architects is based on the Möbius strip. The bridge spans 150 metres, is 24 metres high and gives pedestrians the choice of different walkways at different heights. The bridge includes numerous downward and upward interwoven curves. That could make for a fun bike ride.

WAVING NOT DROWNING: As waves move in and out of the concrete base of the Oceanlinx GreenWave generator they create high-pressure air currents that drive an electrical turbine. The 1 MW prototype generator is made of flat-pack reinforced concrete and sits on the seabed in some 10 to 20 metres of water in South Australia. If the prototype works out the company hopes to create a full size 10 MW unit that can be used in deeper waters. Let's keep those wave energy ideas rolling in.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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