technology: December 2009 Archives

275x250.jpgAustralian lifeguards will soon get text messages when Great White sharks swim near the beaches they are patrolling.

Researchers are electronically tagging the man-eating predators with GPS units which will constantly monitor their movements.

If the sharks then get too near to a beach a satellite receiver will automatically send out emails and text messages to wildlife officials and lifeguards.

Currently 74 white sharks have been tagged and there are 20 communications-equipped monitoring stations have been installed off the Perth coast.

Bosses say they hope the network will "provide timely alerts of tagged sharks' presence close to beaches" -- obviously this is unless the lifeguard is busy playing a game on his phone at the time.

275x250.jpgExperts claim that wallpaper which emits light could replace lightbulbs, within the next five years.

A Welsh firm has just been given a £454,000 grant by the Carbon Trust to develop their eco-friendly OLED technology.

Bosses at Lomox claim their designs can be used as a thin film to coat almost any surface and light up when a small electric charge is passed through them.

It uses only a fraction of the power of traditional lightbulbs and could be to make almost any item glow and change colour with a natural looking light.

Eventually the lighting OLED film could be used to put TV screens on any surface… and mean you can change your wallpaper at whim.

Safari-goers to use night vision goggles

275x250.jpgVisitors to a South African safari have started using military-style night vision goggles to watch animals into the night.

Bosses at Londolozi Game Lodge in South Africa are issuing tourists the equipment - normally associates with combat - to get a better look at the animals.

They say it not only allows guests to stay out longer, but also get closer to the lions, hippopotamus and buffalo than ever before.

A spokesperson for Londolozi said: "Imagine sitting in the dark with a pride of lion hunting. The lights are off but you are seeing and hearing just like the lions."

We tried imagining it... then we had to imagine changing our trousers

275x250.jpgA Japanese engineer has set a new record for the longest flight with a paper-only plane.

Using a specially designed 10cm long paper plane, Takuo Toda's origami flight in a  Japan Airlines hangar near Tokyo's Haneda Airport lasted 26.1s.

While just short of the world record 27.9 seconds, it was a new record for a paper-only plane -- the world record (also held by Toda) was set by one with tape on it.

Toda - head of the Japan Origami Airplane Association - said he was pleased with the record but hopes to achieve a 30 second flight soon.

Check out his world record breaking flight after the link and find out how to make a Sky King paper plane -- we guess the reasons to click are twofold.

275x250.jpgRather than listening out for the sound of the bells on his sleigh, children can now follow Father Christmas's progress on Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps.

The US military's North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa for over 50 years - thanks to their radar system and satellites.

But this year, children around the world are receiving live updates since Santa set off at 11am (GMT) and seeing his movements plotted live on online maps.

NORAD say they are able to do this because Rudolph's nose gives off an infrared signature, which their satellites can detect… remember these are the people keeping America safe.

275x250.jpg77% of Blackberry owners won’t get a proper break from work this Christmas and many will even check their work emails on Christmas day.

A study of over 1,000 smartphone owners found that the vast majority of workers will check their mobile over the festive season, with two thirds doing it on a daily basis.

45 percent said they will keep their work Blackberry on them at all times - in case something important crops up - and 26 percent said checking emails is a habit they are unable to break.

All of this is despite the fact that 49 percent expect their Christmas Blackberry use to prompt a fight with family members... presumably via email or text.

275x250.jpgResearchers have developed the world’s first motor-powered bionic finger.

The £35,000 'ProDigits' can bend and move like a real finger, and are controlled by the brain signals sent to the nerves and severed muscles.

Makers Touch Bionics say the realistic-looking fingers can allow help partial hand amputees do basic things like point and pick up small items.

The fingers are attached to a silicone skin, designed specifically to fit around a patients hand, and are connected to a wrist strap which provides power and communication.

Patients who have tested the device have given it the thumbs up (sorry) saying it has allowed them to do things they never thought they would be able to do again … like pick their nose.

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