Tech Universe: Friday 21 March

By Miraz Jordan

Cardiff S1 Skates. Photo / YouTube
Cardiff S1 Skates. Photo / YouTube

FOUR ON THE FLOOR: Enjoy skating? Do you prefer 2 wheels inline or one wheel on each corner? Cardiff S1 Skates have 4 wheels in a formation that combines inline and quad. There's one wheel in front and a brake wheel behind, then one on each side like trainer wheels on a bike. Clip the skates on over your shoes, adjust the skate to the correct length, and you're good to go. It's great to be able to wear street shoes while you skate.

BLINK BLINK: Slow down in a car and the brake lights let anyone behind you see what's happening. The same doesn't go for bikes though. Revolights Arc can be mounted over the rear wheel of a bicycle like a mudguard. The Arc constantly measures the speed of the bike using a small magnet inserted between the tube and tire on the rear wheel and uses that information to create a functional brake light.

The arc of red lights can simply shine brighter, or the lights can blink rapidly. A Lithium Ion battery provides approximately 8 hours of run time, and charges in less than 2 hours via USB. A stopping light is a good idea.

BEDAZZLED: On dark nights you'll be able to totally confuse motorists with The Sporty Supaheroe lighted jacket. The jacket includes microcontrollers, a rechargeable battery, 44 LEDs and sensors that react to your body movement as you bike, run or walk. A stretchable circuit board has short-circuit and overheating protection, while an outer layer is both flame resistant and water repellant. The LEDs are visible in translucent display areas in front and in the back around the chest and shoulders. Blinging up yourself and your bike seems to be very popular these days.

LOOK AND LISTEN: The Onyx MIDIA InkPhone has a 4.3-inch front-lit E Ink display and really long battery life — the InkPhone should last for more than two weeks on a single charge of its 1,800mAh battery. While you can happily read books on the InkPhone it's also a fully featured Android phone running Gingerbread. There's no camera or video, but of course it includes a speaker. That could be a great device for the avid bookreader who needs to make a call or two if they can just stop reading for a moment.

LIGHT SHOW: Researchers at Caltech have created a 1 millimeter square silicon chip that bends light. It could do away with the need for bulky and expensive lenses and bulbs in projectors and let your phone display a large image on a wall with ease. An integrated optical phased array projects an image electronically with only a single laser diode as light source and no mechanically moving parts. It does this by manipulating the coherence of light, amplifying it and changing its direction. The image is drawn much as a pen draws a line, but at such high speed we see only a single picture. At the moment the chip can project only simple images in infrared but further development is expected to make possible complex images in visible light. Next up: clip on projector screen accessories for phones.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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