KNOCK YOUR PHONE OUT:

Researchers at the University of Michigan have an idea called E-MiLi for extending the life of your smartphone battery. Even when a smartphone isn't active it's still listening for incoming signals and searching for a clear communication channel. That uses power and drains the battery. Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening slows down the WiFi card's clock, but jolts it back to full speed when the phone notices information coming in. Researchers believe E-MiLi could reduce energy consumption by around 44%, although it would require software and firmware upgrades. If they can pretty much double battery life that would be a real winner.

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CLOSER TO AUS: China Communications Service is about to lay a new US$100 million undersea cable between Auckland and Sydney. Work should begin before the end of 2011. More competition, more bandwidth - it's all good. CommsDay reports.

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SICK TEES: Scientists at Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain, have created an intelligent T-shirt prototype for patients. It monitors temperature, heart rate and other physiological parameters. It can also locate the patient within the hospital and determine whether they are seated, lying down, walking or running. The T-shirt sends data wirelessly to a monitor that displays the patient's location and vital signs in real time. Preprogrammed alarms can alert doctors to problems such as increased heart rate or temperature. No sneaking off to the cafe for a quick snack then. ScienceDaily has more.

GAS BRICKS: Hydrogen may be a good alternative to fossil fuels, but it's difficult to store. Its atoms are tiny and can easily escape from many containers. It turns out that activated carbon that incorporates a platinum catalyst bonds the hydrogen atoms and releases them as required. This could allow the gas to be stored at ambient pressure and room temperature in lighter, cheaper and safer storage tanks. How about dropping a few 'bricks' of carbon into a car's fuel tank? Visit MIT news for details.

BOUNDLESS STORAGE: Oops, hard drive full! Those videos and music files sure do eat through the disc space. Bitcasa software aims to stop you from ever seeing that message again. It actually stores most of your data in the cloud, but makes it appear as though it's stored on your machine. The software does some clever work to predict which files should be stored locally, and also allows you to set preferences. Umm, requires fast Internet, yes? Technology Review details.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz