Tech Universe: Monday 25 November

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

THE HEAT: The London Underground produces a lot of heat, though at the moment that heat is wasted through vents. Now the plan is to capture that heat and use it for warming local homes. Capturing and using the heat will also reduce carbon emissions. The sad thing is that this is a new idea.

EYES DOWN: There are large buildings like airports and hospitals where you need good signage to figure out which way to go. Philips want to make things easier by installing LED lights right into carpets. This idea takes advantage of our natural tendency to look down when we walk. Now power the lights with footsteps and it's a win all round.

4 HOUR TEST: In the US people may be able to go to their local pharmacy for a quick and accurate blood test, rather than visiting a specialist testing lab. Walgreen's Pharmacy is to offer automated lab tests that use a small amount of blood drawn with a finger stick rather than a needle in the arm.

The small capsule of blood is then run through an on-site automated testing machine where each test requires only a single drop of blood. Accurate testing can be completed within 4 hours. I guess the machine will make you answer those questions about having eaten and so on before the finger prick.

CAR ONLINE: An experimental car at Ohio State University weighs only 800 Kg, thanks to having no engine, no transmission, and no differential. Instead each wheel has a 7.5 kW electric motor connected by a cable to a central computer. A 15 kW lithium-ion battery pack keeps the vehicle running. The computer can control each wheel independently, meaning one could brake while the others accelerate, for example. In fact, because each wheel is independent it's extremely hard for a person to control the car without the computer's help. Software updates will have to be carefully timed.

SUN FOR SOME: In 2022 the FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar where they're about to build stadiums to host the games. Designs are out for the first stadium, a 40,000 seat structure that will use passive design to keep the venue cool. The design's based on the form of a traditional fishing boat, with a curved partial roof to shade spectators from the intense desert heat. Mechanical air conditioning will also be required though. It may shade the spectators but it looks as though the playing field is open to the full glare of the day.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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