Tech Universe: Tuesday 13 May

By Miraz Jordan

Leo Selvaggio has made masks of his own face to fool facial recognition software. Photo / urmesurveillance.com
Leo Selvaggio has made masks of his own face to fool facial recognition software. Photo / urmesurveillance.com

NEW FACE: Can you fool facial recognition? Chicago has more than 25,000 surveillance cameras, all feeding into a single hub that uses high-powered facial recognition software. That led one artist to the idea of producing masks of his own face to help people keep their identity private. The masks are available as high quality prosthetics, but also in a much cheaper paper version more suitable for use by groups such as protestors. The idea is that when out in public an individual can't be tracked because the fake face will seem to be that of Leo Selvaggio, the artist. He may suddenly prove to be in many places at once.

NEW FRIEND: Tired of texting your friends? LG's HomeChat service lets you see what food is in your fridge and control other home appliances such as the washing machine and oven via text messages. The smart fridge has a built-in internal camera positioned at the top of the main compartment so you can see what food you have.

The wide angle camera can show content not only in the upper shelves, but also food items on the bottom-most shelf. A Freshness Tracker makes it possible to keep track of expiration dates, while Smart Manager can recommend meal options based on the ingredients in the fridge. For tonight's meal I suggest cheese on toast.

A CUT ABOVE: That little tray you get on a plane if you're lucky enough to have meal service? It turns out redesigning it can save space, weight, fuel and carbon emissions. The MAP Project worked with Virgin Airlines to redesign their meal system, making the trays smaller and giving them a non-slip surface so the tray doesn't need a paper liner. Other aspects of the redesign changed the cutlery and how the meals were served. Making trays smaller means more fit on trolleys, reducing the number of trolleys and saving extra weight. Making the trays even smaller? How can that even be possible?

A LITTLE READ: On a US Navy submarine there's very limited space, but sailors who want to read in their spare time aren't allowed tablets or Kindles for security reasons. Now the Navy General Library Program has come up with an eReader of their own. The Navy eReader Device is an an eInk tablet that resembles a Kindle, but with no internet capability, no removable storage, and no way to add or delete content. 300 popular books are loaded onto each device, which is designed to be shared around the crew. At least the crew will all be reading the same books, so will have plenty to chat about.

QUICK CHANGE: Circuit boards are very important to our everyday lives, but recycling them can be hazardous and difficult once they are of no more use. Three British companies have developed a circuit board that can be recycled and reused after a good wash in hot water. Rather than using reinforced epoxy glass and solder, the recyclable circuit uses a new adhesive and ink system, which puts components onto a thermoplastic substrate with a conductive adhesive. In the presence of hot water the ink and adhesive soften so significantly that all the components are easily scraped off with a business card and can be reused for new circuits. The added bonus: they'll be nice and clean.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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