LUNGS FOR BIKES:
It's an annoying fact of life that bike tires go flat. Imagine if just riding the bike were to inflate the tires to the right pressure, as set by you. The PumpTire Kickstarter project aims to make self-inflating bike tires a reality. A small hollow channel called a lumen is compressed where the tire is in contact with the road. The pressure forces air through a valve into the tire itself. When the lumen expands again it draws in air from outside. A special valve allows the rider to set a desired pressure. Simply brilliant.
TV BEHIND THE TIMES: Sony have come up with a way to try out a virtual TV for size in your living room. Print off a special marker, take a photo, upload the photo to a website and then select which TV you want to assess. The website shows the selected TV in place on your image. Once you decide on a particular TV you can then download a PDF with specs. Which all seems rather longwinded and last century. Surely there should be a smartphone app for that. Video here.
BUOYS IN THE NAVY: The US Navy has installed PowerBuoys about 30 Km off the New Jersey coast. Their job is to produce up to 40 kilowatts of electricity each and power ocean-based sensors. The system detects and tracks vessels as part of an anti-terrorism and maritime surveillance program. Ocean waves move hydraulic fluid in each buoy, which spins a generator to create power. Using what's at hand: so sensible. Scientific American tells the story.
MEMORY VORTEX: At the University of Southampton in the UK researchers are working with nanostructured glass to create a new type of computer memory. The radially polarized optical vortex converter creates whirlpools of light that can be read in much the same way as data in optical fibres. Data is written, wiped and rewritten into the molecular structure of the glass using a laser. This approach is cheap and compact. I like the sound of a vortex reader. University of Southampton have the scientific detail.
READ THE MOVIE: People who are deaf or hard of hearing really need subtitles to be able to enjoy most movies. But those subtitles may be thought to detract from the movie experience for those who don't need or want them. Sony created a clever way to reconcile those differences: special glasses that add subtitles just for the wearer. The glasses add subtitles below the movie that appear to be in the same plane, so the wearer doesn't need to constantly refocus. Imagine using these for a backchannel commentary. BBC reports.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz