(Clipped from Tod Maffins Future file)
Muggers beware – your next victim’s high tech undergarments could land you in jail. A British inventor is working on a security bra that can tell if its wearer is being attacked and notify authorities with her precise location. The Smart Bra acts like any normal brasseire until its built-in heart monitor detects the rapid jumps in heart rate that denote sudden scares. An on-board GPS device then kicks into action, pinpointing the wearer's location, and the small cell-phone built in the strap calls police. Though still a hand-built prototype, the bra's electronics are embedded in a thin, gel-like substance only 3 millimeters thick – that’s thinner than most traditional bra liners. The inventor hopes to have a commercial deal this summer, with the smart bra out next year – giving police an easier way to make a bust.
~World War I dealt the bra a fatal blow when the U.S. War Industries Board called on women to stop buying bras in 1917. It freed up more than 28,000 tons of metal.
Ever been frustrated at the grocery store trying to figure out which fruit is most ripe? In the future, let an electronic nose do the testing for you. Engineers at the University of Warwick have developed a device that is poised to help both the fruit industry and ordinary shoppers. Most of the traditional methods that have been used to assess fruit ripeness have ended up in the destruction of a piece of fruit. But researchers have put together the sensors of an electronic nose coupled to a neural network to produce a device that calculate the exact ripeness of the fruit by its smell. Once the electronic nose has been ‘trained’ on a particular fruit it doesn’t require a skilled operator and can obtain the results in a few seconds with over 92% accuracy.
~The human nose can detect the odor of artificial musk in such low concentrations as one part musk to 32 billion parts of air.
We’ve got curtains that block light, curtains that block fire – now comes word that scientists have developed curtains that block sound. And their first market – hospitals and nursing homes. The Quiet Curtains work like this: Sheets of noise shielding material are sandwiched between two pieces of fabric and supported by a unique pocket system. A variety of materials can be used for the noise shields -- ranging from cardboard to metal, depending on how much noise you want to reduce. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, say it’s probably not that unique a concept, but they’re surprised nobody’s come up with it yet. So far, tests have found the futuristic curtains can reduce noise by more than 12 debibels, a reduction of sound intensity by a factor of 16. Though initially designed with nursing homes in mind, you can expect variations of these Quiet Curtains to show up in offices, hotels, libraries, and even motor vehicles – in the future.
Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
"Nanotechnology: solutions for the future."