Redfox Tech Talk on Zinc FM with Peter

Peter Brewin (L) and Will Crawford (R), founders of Concrete Canvas. Photograph: Gareth Phillips/Gareth Phillips for the Guardian

Concrete Canvas can assemble fireporrf and waterproof structures within 24 hours

British engineers have developed a fabric laced with cement which can be inflated with a fan and sprayed with water to become completely waterproof and fireproof buildings/shelters within 24 hours. Dubbed ‘Concrete Canvas’, the designers got the idea 10 years ago when they were in university together. Inspired by plaster-infused bandages which are used to help set broken bones, they came up with the idea of making ‘inflatable shelters’ that could be constructed quickly for use in emergencies. However the product has also started to find use in the civil construction, mining, and petrochemical industries where customers can potentially cut major costs on transport and labour compared to traditional concrete solutions (the smaller shelters can be erected by 2 untrained people in approximately an hour).


Samsung’s prototype system combines a smartphone app with brainwave sensors to detect the early signs of stroke.

  Samsung’s brainwave-reader can warn of impending strokes 

A group of engineers at Samsung has developed a prototype wearable device dubbed the Early Detection Sensor & Algorithm Package (EDSAP) which can warn about impending strokes. The prototype device monitors brainwaves to detect early signs of strokes and alarms a user through a smartphone or tablet app. There are two parts of the system; a headset with inbuilt sensors which records electrical impulses from brain, and an app which analyses the data in less than a minute using an algorithm and determines the likelihood of a stroke. Apart from warning about possible strokes, the system can also monitor sleep and stress patterns. Now, the team is looking at how it can monitor heart function in a similar fashion.



The HoloLens headset.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is “flat out magical” 

2015 may very well be Microsoft’s year. Most people have either gotten over Windows 8 (or at least stopped comparing it to 7), early reviews of Windows 10 have been almost universally positive (glowing, even), and last week they unveiled the HoloLens, a headset system that seamlessly blends virtual images with objects in the real world. Early demos and tests have left users universally awestruck: blocks and structures from the popular Minecraft game (Microsoft acquired Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 billion last year) were projected onto coffee tables, couches, and walls as convincingly as if they had been put there by Steve himself. Skype video calls projected the person on the other end directly onto the wall while he drew holographic lines to help install a plumbing fixture. The surface of Mars came alive thanks to imagery captured by the Curiosity rover. The implications are staggering: engineers and designers manipulating their virtual 3D blueprints JARVIS-style, watching a movie or playing a game on an infinitely-large screen without disturbing others or taking up massive wall space…I could go on. Personally, I can’t wait for the production models to be released. I just hope I have the bank account for it when it is.



This app tells you which friends stress you out, make you happy

New app will tell you how you really feel about your friends and relatives

For the truly indecisive and ambiguous among us, or maybe those of us who are just struggling with a relationship in our lives, there’s an (ambitious?) new app which should help guide you in making better decisions regarding who you spend your time with. It’s called pplkpr (people keeper), and it works by pairing up with any Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor to track your physical response to the people in your life. Biofeedback from those monitors are able to log reactions such as joy, sadness, anger, etc., and then upload its findings to the app. The app then makes suggestions regarding un-friending, blocking, or removing people from your life (conversely, it can recommend spending more time with certain people too). The overall goal is to get you to spend more time with the people who have a positive effect on you and remove those who don’t. It also provides a handy excuse: “sorry, we can’t be friends anymore because my app doesn’t like me hanging out with you.”





Peter Reeve bringing you the latest in Technology