In this week's wrap, new technology that monitors the digestive health of cows could result in better milk products; and smart glasses could help the blind navigate unfamiliar environments. Get the details on these stories and more below.
Bracelet optimises body temperature
Engineering students at MIT have created a thermoelectric bracelet designed to keep the wearer's body temperature at the optimal thermal level.
Called Wristify, the prototype monitors air and skin temperature and then shoots thermal pulses into the wrist to cool or warm the user according to their needs. Very small, quick changes in temperature on parts of the skin with high blood flow can make the whole body feel several degrees cooler or warmer, the creators say, and their watch-like thermal system can change the body's temperature by up to 0.4 degrees Celsius per second.
Via: Popular Science
nEmesis names, shames dodgy restaurants
Scientists from the University of Rochester, in New York, have developed an algorithm that analyses tweets to determine which restaurants serve dodgy food.
The system, called nEmesis, detects tweets sent from restaurant locations and then tracks user tweets for the next 72 hours, looking for words describing classic food-poisoning symptoms. If any users tweet about being ill, nEmesis captures this data and flags the restaurant.
According to The Atlantic, nEmesis mined 3.8 million tweets from 94 000 unique users in New York City over a four-month period, tracking 23 000 restaurant visitors and spotting 480 reports of possible food poisoning. The results correlated with Health Department scores - the more tweets associated with being sick, the more likely a restaurant was given a failing grade.
The developers hope to create a mobile app soon.
Via: Times Live
Clever window controls building temperature
A team of scientists from Shanghai University have developed a smart window that regulates temperature fluctuations and doesn't require external power to work. The team's goal was to find a way to merge a window with the power-generating capabilities of a solar panel.
The team sandwiched a thin film of vanadium oxide between two layers of polycarbonate. At room temperature, the polycarbonate panels appeared transparent. But once the temperature rose above that, the VO2 turned metallic and started reflecting the infrared wavelength, even though the panels appeared transparent to the eye. Some of the reflected light was used to power a 1.5V lamp.
Via: Live Science
Smart glasses for the blind
A pair of "smart glasses" might help blind people navigate an unfamiliar environment by recognising objects or translating signs into speech. Researchers from Oxford University, in England, are developing a set of sophisticated glasses that use cameras and software to detect objects and display them on the lenses.
Two small cameras mounted on the corners of the glasses capture two different pictures, just as human eyes do. The spectacles display information from the cameras on transparent LED displays on the lenses, so the wearer can see an enhanced image as well as use their remaining sight. Comparing the distance between the cameras reveals how far the object is from the wearer. A set of headphones translates text into speech to provide directions or read signs aloud.
Via: Live Science
Happy tummy = happy cow
Well Cow is a new pill-sized device that, when swallowed, monitors the intestinal flora of cows. Farmers mix the device into cattle feed, which can stay in the rumen for up to 100 days. It sends data to a small Bluetooth device on the cow's collar, which farmers can access through their PCs or Android devices to keep tabs on the digestive goings-on.
The device looks at the pH levels and the temperature inside the rumen and records this information every 15 minutes. Changing dietary needs may lead to better milk supplies and happier cows.
Via: Venture Beat
Modern-day zombie apocalypse survival kit
In the spirit of Halloween and its celebration of all things creepy, dead and undead, we wondered what technology could help us survive a zombie apocalypse. Good thing the guys at NowSourcing did all the legwork for us and put together an infographic of the ultimate tech survival kit.
And it's a pretty useful one, including services that restore cellular connection in emergency situations, monitor changes in street surroundings (including keeping an eye out for passing zombies) and crowdsource images of the converted.
Check out the infographic here.