Tech Universe: Thursday 30 January

By Miraz Jordan

The Easybreath mask.
The Easybreath mask.

BREATHE NORMALLY: To use a standard snorkel mask you need to breathe only through your mouth which may not come easy to nose-breathers. The Easybreath mask is a full-face snorkel mask that offers the wearer an unobstructed 180 degree field of vision, and uses a double air-flow system to prevent fogging. The wearer can breathe normally inside the mask, while a special mechanism plugs the top of the snorkel tube if it goes under water. It sounds like the new standard to meet.

FROZEN RABBIT: China's Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover landed in mid-December 2013 for a 3 month mission of geological surveys and astronomical observations. Unfortunately it has now suffered a mechanical control abnormality that may prevent it from closing its solar panels for the upcoming 2 week lunar night. The lunar daytime temperature can reach 100 degrees Celsius, while at night it plunges to minus 180C.

If the rover can't close the panels vital internal electrical components may freeze and stop working even after the rover wakes up again. It sure is a harsh environment up there.

A CLEAR BENEFIT: SolTech roof panels collect heat from the sun, but they aren't standard solar panels. Instead they're tiles made of clear glass laid over a black nylon canvas that absorbs the sun's rays.

Below that layer of canvas are columns of air that absorb the heat and in turn warm water that is connected to the house's heating system via an accumulator. The system generates about 350 kWh heat per square metre. A glass roof to catch the sun: a simple but clever idea.

IF THE SUIT FITS: Buying clothes online can be a risky business: should you choose the Small or Medium size, or perhaps the Large, and would you like a tight or loose fit? Fits.me is a virtual fitting room that aims to help online shoppers try on clothes before they buy.

Customers take a photo of themselves then upload it to the site. They tell the computer where their hands and feet are and provide information about their height, weight, age and gender. A server cleans up the photo to remove the background and works out the buyer's body shape. Using data provided by the retailer, the software then recommends the correct size for the shopper and shows the garment on a mannequin. That could boost online sales of clothing enormously.

SMART PHONE, CLEAN PHONE: The Gorilla Glass in your smartphone already resists cracks and scratches but in future it will kill bacteria too.
Corning announced they will add silver ions to the mix that creates Gorilla Glass. Since silver has natural antimicrobial properties that should help keep the nasties that might accumulate on your phone at bay. Washing your hands could help too.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 19 Apr 2014 22:42:21 Processing Time: 813ms