Tech Universe: Tuesday 10 June

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

GROOVY: Cocktails in space anyone? With commercial space flights in mind the question of how to drink cocktails in zero gravity becomes more pressing. The Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass could be an answer. Grooves on the inside of the glass use capillary action to draw liquids from the bottom up into your mouth when you take a sip. 3D printed prototypes have proven the concept, now the drinking vessels just need to be made from glass for the discerning drinker. Next up: dealing with the consequences of overconsumption in zero G.

ROCKING: The rocks around us have generally developed over the ages by geological processes. Not plastiglomerate though. The newly named material forms when melted plastic rubbish on beaches mixes with sediment, lava fragments and organic debris such as shells and coral to produce a whole new type of rock. The material has only been found in Hawai'i so far, but researchers believe it probably exists elsewhere too.

Hmm, is it better to have plastic floating loose and disintegrating in the oceans or forming into rocks that may never degrade?

HEART ON SLEEVE: PulseOn measures your heartrate on your wrist rather than your chest. The watch, designed for athletes and people aiming to keep fit, has an optical sensor on the back to detect the pulse through the wrist. Built-in algorithms make sure the readings are accurate in different situations. Data goes to a smartphone app via Bluetooth so wearers can view graphs and all the info they need. It sounds easier to use than a chest strap.

JOINED UP THINKING: Some LED lightbulbs can be connected to a WiFi network for added features. Samsung's LED bulbs though can form their own Bluetooth mesh network — up to 64 bulbs at a time. That network can also include smartphones or other devices, meaning you can control features such as dimming and colour from your phone. It also means you could flash the lights when you receive a call. How about adapting the flashing sequence with caller ID?

JOINED UP DRIVING: If we want to use cars that drive themselves or perhaps are networked to one another and traffic lights and parking meters and so on then they'll need to be tested and redeveloped and tested again. At the University of Michigan researchers have an area of around 130,000 square metres to test their ideas on. The test facility will simulate a city centre and 4 lane highway, along with merge lanes, stoplights, intersections, roundabouts, road signs, a railroad crossing, building facades, construction barrels and eventually a mechanical pedestrian. One pedestrian? That may need to change.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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