Tech Universe: Monday 09 December

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

LEAN ON THIS: A carved wooden cane to help you walk, or at least keep you from falling, can be a thing of beauty. But the Isowalk has brains in its favour. It's shaped to make it move with you as you walk, and it conforms itself to each individual user. The intelligent walking aid is made of carbon fibre and urethanes, has a shaped and tilted handle and a moving foot-shaped foot that mean it automatically positions itself for each next step. The hand grip is designed to be comfortable to hold and can be reversed to fit either hand. The developers are also creating a connection kit to interact with a smartphone to track distance, recovery and location, and biometric data such as cardiovascular levels. It seems that even just in the shape of it the walking aid beats out a wooden cane.

PUSH LESS RIDE MORE: The Copenhagen Wheel was developed at MIT to turn an ordinary pedal-powered bike into an electric bike.

The wheel replaces the rear wheel from your bike and connects with a smartphone app. The smart wheel learns how you pedal, captures energy when you brake or go downhill and can provide a boost when you need some extra push. The technology is contained within a casing that sits around the hub and inside the spokes of the wheel. If it just replaces a regular wheel you may need to watch out for thieves nipping off with it, though the app provides a lock feature.

RUN FOR THE PHONE: If you're the kind of person who goes for a morning jog then add a myPower device to give your phone a day's charge while you run. The device clips to your hip and stores the kinetic energy from your run so you can later charge your phone. 45 minutes of running with myPower can give your iPhone an extra 7 to 8 hours of battery life. Nice idea, once it comes to market.

GO FOR A SPIN: The PAL-V ONE is a 2 seater hybrid car and gyroplane: a personal air and land vehicle. On the ground it's a 3-wheeled motorcycle, so just drive from home to the airport. At the airport spend a few minutes unfolding the single rotor and propeller. Then take off and fly below 1,200 metres to your destination. The vehicle can reach speeds of up to 180 Kph both on land and in the air. Getting the pilot's licence may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the vehicle.

DRONE ALONE: Online retailer Amazon want to speed up shipping to customers who live within 16 Km of one of their distribution centres. They plan to introduce drones to ship smaller packages. The drone would pick the package off a line in the warehouse and drop it at its destination, then return for the next package. First though Amazon need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and to sort out safety issues. How the drone chooses the drop site is an interesting question.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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