THE SIGN OF THE TEXT: Typing out text messages is such a pain — there's the tiny keyboard to deal with for one thing. So how about being able to type text messages by hand gestures and sign language? One group of developers has added flex sensors, a tiny gyroscope and a handful of Arduino to a glove and hooked it all up to an Android phone. After a bit of training the phone will type what the gloved hand signs. Sign you later. Details at dvice.com.
GRIDS IN SPACE: Plenty of groups are trying to restrict the Internet by imposing censorship of various kinds. At the recent Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin a group decided to create a Hackerspace Global Grid. It could create an independent communications network and perhaps even send an astronaut to the Moon. The first step is a grid of low-cost ground stations to track and communicate with satellites. It's a bold plan, even though they're going where the professionals have gone before. BBC has more.
TOOTH BRUSH: If even the thought of the dentist's drill sets your teeth on edge you may like the sound of the painless plasma drill. US researchers have been working on a cool plasma brush that cleans out cavities without pain by creating chemical reactions on the surface of the tooth. The plasma kills bacteria and allows the tooth to bond better to the filling. That means fillings should last longer too. And if it's painless you shouldn't need injections either, so no more numb mouth. So long as it doesn't have the same high-pitched whine. Details at MU News Bureau.
A LIGHT SLEEP: Some wavelengths of light can disrupt our sleep if we're exposed to them for an hour or two before bedtime. A Florida inventor hopes to overcome that problem by creating a bulb whose light still looks white but is missing the blue 465 to 485 nanometers of the spectrum. Clinical trials have begun, and if they go well a new LED bulb could be ready within a couple of years. Don't get the sleepytime
blues. Discovery News has details here.
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A LIGHT CLEAN: Chemical engineers in China found a way to make fabric clean itself when exposed to sunlight. They spiked titanium dioxide with nitrogen ions which gives it photocatalytic capabilities in UV light and visible light. Then they added silver iodide nanoparticles and coated the fabric with nanoparticles of the new compound. The photocatalytic part means that when TiO2 is exposed to light, it breaks down dirt and kills the microbes that cause odour. The silver iodide speeds up the process. And you can still wash the fabric the old-fashioned way with water, if you like. That sounds good: a spot of sunbathing could replace doing the washing. io9.com has details.
-Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz