Tech Universe: Tuesday 24 June

By Miraz Jordan

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

THE PANTS SAY OW: Some sports inflict hits and blows in the course of play. Paralysed sportspeople may not be aware of their injuries though. That's where Bruise Trousers come in. Developed by students at Imperial College London, the light-fitting, breathable, high-waisted Lycra trousers contain a pressure-reactive film. When the film is struck a magenta stain appears. The stronger the impact, the deeper the colour. The students also developed a chart that matches colour to the severity of impacts so wearers of the trousers can gauge whether they need medical assistance. The students hope to develop a complete bruise suit to cater for sports where impacts may occur on other parts of the body. Those trousers must need very careful packing and transport.

CAP THAT: When someone has a stroke they risk brain damage, but speedy action can prevent that. That action depends though on whether the stroke was caused by a leaky blood vessel or one blocked by a clot.

Usually a CT scan can show which kind it is, but scanners aren't always readily available. Now Swedish researchers plan to microwave the brain to determine the cause. They aren't the same microwaves that cook your food though, or at least, they are nowhere near as powerful.

The researchers have developed a prototype cap for use in ambulances that bounces very weak microwaves off the brain. Tests have already found it useful, though not 100% accurate. The team hope that eventually the diagnostic tool could take the form of a pillow rather than a cap.

YARN IN CHARGE: A piece of yarn at Fudan University can be repeatedly stretched to more than 3 times its own length. The yarn is special though. It's made by winding two carbon nanotubes and lithium oxide composites onto an elastomer substrate and covering the whole with a layer of gel electrolyte. That creates positive and negative electrodes, forming a Lithium ion battery. The stretchable fibre-shaped batteries can then be woven into clothing that can adapt to the body's movement. Now charge the clothing with kinetic energy from walking and other activity and your phone need never run out of juice.

THREE FOLD FUN: The 12 Kg Trikelet will take you to the station or bus stop and then fold small enough to fit in a luggage rack. The electric powered push-type scooter has a range of 15 Km and can travel at up to 20 Kph. With two wheels at the back and one on the front it even has room for a shopping bag or briefcase on the platform. Don't worry if it's raining and the wheels get wet: they fold to the inside to contain dirt and water. If you don't feel like folding it up while not riding it you can just pull it along behind you like a wheeled bag. At the right price that could be a real winner.

TAKE 2: It takes 2 minutes to erect the Compact Shelter, and another two to take it down again. Designed for emergencies and disasters, the shelter is made from UV stabilised polypropylene and weighs only 16 Kg. The 2 metre cube packs flat for transport or storage and can shelter two adults and 2 children, though individual units can be joined together to create larger dwellings or two separate rooms. Air vents allow for cool air to enter at floor level and be expelled via the ridge line. At end of life the shelter can even be fully recycled.
Grab one as an instant garden shed even.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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