New Technologies

January 1, 2008
Peter Myers

LCGC Europe

LCGC Europe, LCGC Europe-01-01-2008, Volume 21, Issue 1
Pages: 54

This portable wireless unit gives you instant readings of electricity use in the home.

Colourful way to monitor electricity use in the home

This portable wireless unit gives you instant readings of electricity use in the home.

It also shows how much each electrical appliance uses when you switch it on or off.

The prominent LED digital display shows electricity usage in either cost or Watts and both are easily readable in all light conditions.

The mood light pulses change colour when you alter how much electricity you use. Cool blue for small amounts of electricity, warning red for higher energy consumption.

It contains an internal battery, has a 5 W average power consumption that reduces to less than 1 W in low power mode. It also has a transmitter that can reach 30 m.

For more information visit www.diykyoto.com/

Interactive paper that actually speaks!

Boring scientific posters will soon by a thing of the past with the arrival of interactive paper.

Touch sensors and even speakers are included in the paper that has been developed in Europe.

Released by Mikael Gulliksson, a researcher at Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, the first-generation paper responds to fingertip touch by playing music clips or spoken dialogue.

To make the paper surface interactive, screen print patterns using conductive inks, which contain particles of silver that overlap, allowing the current to flow.

The interactive poster is made in layers with a 3 cm thick back layer of wellboard — similar to extra-strong cardboard — forming the base. A sheet of paper screen-printed with conductive ink is placed on the base, with a second sheet carrying the billboard's design placed on top. The middle conductive layer is connected to a power supply and simple microelectronics play, pause or rewind sounds when sensors are triggered.

Touch sensors are made using a fine pattern of conductive lines in which the current flow is altered when a hand touches it. The same principal is used in laptop computer touch pads. The speakers are made by printing electromagnets with conductive ink and stretching the interactive paper over a cavity, which is similar to a speaker cone. The electromagnets vibrate in response to a current, creating a sound.

For more information visit mkv.itm.miun.se/projekt/paperfour/

Unusual pets for the home thanks to outer space

AntWorks is based on a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment to study animal life in space and test how ants tunnel in microgravity. The AntWorks Gel offers complete nutrients to promote healthy growth in the new ant colony. Watch ants live, work and tunnel in the nutritious and non-toxic gel as they create series upon series of intricate tunnels.

For more information visit www.antworksonline.com/

Handy scales you keep in your pocket

Measuring just 7 cm by 9 cm these digital scales weighing up to 120 g are idea for any field or laboratory use.

The scales feature a sliding pan that also acts as the protective cover when not in use. In addition, the pocket digital scales piano style buttons provide tactile feedback while offering maximum durability to bumps and drops.

For more information visit www.scaleshack.com/