GO FOR CYCLISTS: Cyclists know only too well the problem of traffic lights that don't detect their presence. Pleasanton in the US is using a microwave motion and presence sensor called the Intersector to detect cyclists and extend or trigger the light. This is just one of the measures the town is using to be more friendly to cyclists. Smart idea, Pleasanton. Contra Costa Times has the rest.
SEALED WITH A ROBOT: We may think of robots as industrial workers or toys, but some elderly Japanese survivors of this year's tsunami see them as friends. Two Paro robotic seals were donated to residents at a retirement home near the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Residents care for the pet robot seals as though they were live animals, but without the problems live pets bring. Residents are finding great comfort from their pet robots. Might the seals be too perfect though? Live pets are always a bit unpredictable. The Guardian reports. Video here.
WHERE ARE YOU?: LocataLite is a sort of highly accurate ground-based GPS out of Australia. The transmitters contain timing chips that are cheaper and less accurate than the atomic clocks used in GPS satellites. But they use the timers to keep in sync with one another rather than keeping accurate time as the satellites do. The technology can locate items to within a couple of centimetres. Smartphones and other devices could use this system for accurate positioning. Checkins will be so much more precise. MIT Technology Review has details.
CAR POWER: An electric car has batteries. Those batteries store power.
That's the point. But what say you needed power in an emergency? Could you plug the car batteries in to your house to power the lights, heating and other systems? Nissan say you can, with their Leaf electric vehicle. The Leaf's battery system could power a house for 2 days, using Nissan's control device. Which really shows up how much energy cars require. Nikkei.com.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
SOUND SPECS: The vOICe lets people see with their ears. Sunglasses contain a tiny webcam. Images are fed to a pocket PC which then turns them into sounds sent to headphones. Differences in pitch, loudness and other aspects of the sounds clue the wearer in to their surroundings. For example, higher frequencies indicate higher objects, white is loud and black is quiet. One drawback is that it takes 3 months of training to use the device. I bet kids would learn it quicker. Discovery News has more details.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz