News Around The World
to Generate Electricity
Beware! Bananas could give you electric
shocks! Farmers in north Queensland have unveiled their latest
brainchild generating electricity from discarded bananas.
Concerned over increasing wastage of the fruit, the Australian
Banana Growers Council has launched a study into the economics
of burning or fermenting fruit for electricity, reports news.com.
Bananas are estimated to generate electricity enough to power
more than 500 homes, equivalent to an average Brisbane housing
estate. ABGC is hopeful that the project will prove to be
feasible and will start producing electricity within a year.
"A survey of the nine biggest growers in the Tully area
showed they produced 19,500 tonnes of wasted bananas per annum,"
ABGC chief executive Tony Heidrich was quoted as saying by
the report. "Australia has the best practice farm management
in the world and throws away a lot less bananas than South
America, but the reality is consumers choose with their eyes
and they only want perfect fruit," he added. ABGC has
also commissioned The University of Queensland to work out
the most viable way to turn the fruit into kilowatts.
to Iron Your Clothes
women can breathe a sigh of relief for now they can have a
robot to do one of the most tedious household jobs, ironing.
According to News.com, the 'Dressman' robot, developed by
Siemens can iron clothes in a few seconds. A freshly washed
shirt is pulled over the 1.72m high device, which fills with
hot air. This inflates the balloon silk skin and it is pressed
against the shirt to shape it. As the shirt does not come
into contact with the high temperature of an iron, there is
less risk of singeing it or leaving shiny marks. Source:
up. O.K., stop. A little more. O.K., now turn the wheel. More.
More. Too much! Sorry, sir, was that your car? If you've ever
driven in a city, you know the agony of parallel parking in
a tight space. But your suffering may soon end. Toyota has
invented a car that parallel parks itself. This new version
of the Prius, Toyota's hybrid gas-electric automobile, has
an optional self-parking feature, which combines a rear-mounted
camera, power steering and special software that automatically
guides the car backward into its curbside destination. With
Intelligent Parking Assist, as Toyota calls the feature, the
driver doesn't even have to touch the steering wheel. Source:
what your dog is really thinking? Japanese toymaker Takara
claims it can get you in touch with your inner canine through
its new Bowlingual. A radio microphone attaches to Fido's
collar, and a handheld receiver "translates" his yelps, growls
and whines into such phrases as "I can't stand it," "How boring"
and "I'm lonely." How does it work? Samples of dog noises
were collected, interpreted by animal behaviorists and stored
in a doggie database. When your dog barks, the sound is beamed
to the handheld and matched to the database. When in doubt,
take him for a walk. Source: Takaratoys.co.jp
Potter isn't the only academic with an invisibility cloak.
A professor at the University of Tokyo has created an optical
camouflage system that makes anyone wearing a special reflective
material seems to disappear. Here's how: a video camera records
the real-life scenery behind the subject, transmits that image
to a front-mounted projector, which then displays the scene
on the reflective material. The system has obvious military
applications and could also be used in aeroplane cockpits
to make landings easier for pilots. This will be available
around 2008. Source: Star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Fender Recognises Pedestrian Impact
An impact sensor for cars that can instantly
recognise and protect pedestrians in an accident has been
developed by engineers in Germany. If the sensor detects that
a pedestrian has been struck, the hood (bonnet) of the car
is immediately pushed a few centimetres upwards by a system
of hydraulics. This creates a vital buffer zone between the
pedestrian and the car's suspension turrets and engine block.
Crash tests have shown this buffer can prevent a pedestrian
receiving a serious head injury on impact. To prevent false
alarms popping up the hood, the system distinguishes between
pedestrians and other objects on the basis of their mass.
The key to the system is a set of mirror-coated fibre optics
in the car's fender. These are broken on impact, meaning the
light that leaks out. A sensor that decreases detects this.
An onboard computer uses this loss and the vehicle's velocity
to calculate the mass of the obstacle struck. The car's hood
is tuned to respond only if a pedestrian or something heavier
is hit. This should prevent the system activating when the
car is struck by something lighter, like a football. The sensor
is designed to operate at speeds between 20 and 60 kilometres
per hour, at which most pedestrian accidents occur. Source: