OFF WITH ITS DRAW: There's a new slayer in town: the Powerslayer from Velvetwire. When you charge devices and gadgets, ideally you'd plug them in only until they're fully charged. Leave them plugged in after that and they draw energy wastefully. That's known as vampire draw. The Powerslayer is a smart USB charger that monitors what's going on and automatically powers off and on as needed. Smart, but the biggest problem is that it's US only.
PUFF AND STUFF: Your puffy winter jacket may be full of goose feathers to help keep you warm. The TurboDown jacket from Columbia though combines goose feathers with a synthetic Omni-Heat reflective insulation fill. The company claims the jacket is more breathable and wicks sweat better. One spark for finding a new warm fill material was the goose feathers are in short supply around the world. Calling Kiwi goose farmers.
ON PINS AND PRINTS: Primary-Net has developed a biocryptology scanner that aims to help us do away with PIN numbers and passwords. The device scans and encrypts our fingerprints, after checking a real live finger is providing the print, and then authenticates the print at a data centre. The company claim it's impossible for the data to be stolen or cracked. The system could allow us to buy items in local shops with a fingerprint, and banks are also taking part in trials. If it is cracked though, fingerprints can't be changed like passwords can.
WATCHING ME WATCHING YOU: In Las Vegas the streetlights may soon be keeping an eye on you. The Intellistreets lighting system the city is installing can broadcast messages and play music on digital displays, but it is also able to shoot video and record sound. The streetlights use WiFi to communicate. City authorities say they have no immediate intention to use the recording capabilities. That's OK then.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz