Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 1 | June 25, 2004 | 8th Anniversary Issue


   Editor's Note
   Cover Story
   Nothing if Not     Serious
   Slice of Life
   A Roman Column
   Food for Thought
   One Off
   Straight Talk
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home



Tech News Around The World

Bananas 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.

Source: Webindia123.com

Robots to Iron Your Clothes
Finally 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: Webindia123.com

Parking-Space Invader
Back 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: Time

The Dog Translator
Wonder 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

The Invisible Man
Harry 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

Smart 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: New Scientist





Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004