ON A ROLL:
GroundBot from Swedish firm Rotundus is a 25kg, 60 cm robot shaped like a ball that hosts cameras and sensors. It can move across most surfaces almost silently at up to 10 Kph either using GPS or by remote control. The sphere is sealed and can operate up to 16 hours on its battery. The GroundBot could be used for surveillance, search and rescue or industrial tasks such as checking possible gas leaks. Surveillance cameras on walls and poles are so old-fashioned now. Details at
SOLAR AIRSHIP: A Canadian company called Solar Ship reckons its hybrid airship will be useful for aid organisations and mining companies.
Their new delta-shaped craft is a hybrid solar ship — it's filled with helium, and has solar panels across the top of its body. The solar panels provide lift and drive. The makers say the craft can take off and land on an area the size of a football pitch, yet travel up to 1,000 Km with 1,000 kilos of cargo. Smugglers may like this one too.
Toronto Star has more, and there's video here.
TV ON THE MOVE: In the US the U-Verse Wireless Receiver from AT&T will let subscribers move their viewing device around the house to any room where they want it and still watch TV. The TV is paired to a wireless device and then broadcasts are re-encoded and streamed over the home's wireless network. I'm guessing you won't use this with the ginormous flat-screen attached to the wall. More at Gizmodo and video here.
BLOBBING BEHIND WALLS: Researchers at MIT have developed a shortwave device that displays real-time video, in the form of red blobs, of human beings moving behind a 20 cm thick concrete wall up to 20 metres away. Problems include the wall being the brightest object and huge loss of signal strength, but the researchers have found workarounds. Mounted on a truck, their system would be practical for combat in urban areas. And be sure to hide in amongst a flock of animals if you're the one being sought. Details at MIT News and video here.
STRETCHY TOUCHSCREENS: Researchers at Stanford University have created a flexible and stretchable skin-like sensor using spray-on carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes in the transparent film act like springs that enable the sensor to accurately measure the force being applied to it. Then the film springs back to its original shape. The film could be used for touchscreen computers or perhaps as an artificial skin for prosthetics. Does it come in pink and brown? Stanford University has details more, plus video here.
- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz