Redfox Tech Talk on Zinc FM with Peter

Apple patents new phone -saving ‘fall protection’ system

We all know someone who’s had that moment: the dropped phone. Your heart skips a beat as it slides out of your hand or off the table top and goes crashing to the floor. If you’re lucky, the screen doesn’t crack and it still works. Better yet, you’ve got a tough case that can take a beating. But you’re not lucky, you don’t have a tough case, and now you have a cracked screen and a few hundred dollars in repairs coming up. Fortunately, this moment might soon become a distant memory as Apple has received an official patent for a device that can actually spin your phone in mid-air, ensuring it lands on its back or on a non-sensitive edge, protecting your screen and internal components. By leveraging tech already inside iPhones (e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS), the mechanism could activate a small motor (potentially they could even use the vibration motor) to quickly correct the way the phone falls by adjusting its centre of gravity. More advanced variants include mechanisms to jettison the headphone cables, or to extend or retract air foils to further control the fall. One embodiment even included miniature gas canisters that would exert thrust forces to slow the fall!

Apple was awarded a patent covering a futuristic iPhone protection system that can recognize when a phone is dropped, calculate an estimated point of impact and shift its center of gravity to avoid striking sensitive components.

Google unveils ‘smart cutlery’ which compensates tremors

Google is throwing its money, brain power and technology at the humble spoon. But these spoons are a bit more than your basic utensil: Using hundreds of algorithms, they allow people with essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease to eat without spilling. The technology senses how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced. In clinical trials, these “Liftware” spoons reduced shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76 percent. The technology senses how a person’s hand is shaking and makes instantaneous adjustments to stay balanced. Google acquired the small start-up back in September, and hope to have these in full production within the next 12 months.


Google unveils its latest product – smart cutlery that steadies tremors

PYRO Fireshooter turns you into the wizard you always wanted to be

Ever wanted to literally shoot fire from your fingertips? Yeah, me too. Well now we can! A company called “Ellusionist” has released the PYRO Fireshooter, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a wrist-mounted device that shoots fireballs. Yes. Fireballs. The PYRO unit comes with 4 individually triggered barrels and a remote trigger used to launch the fireballs. Designed primarily to be part of a magic act, this thing shoots fireballs up to 10 feet in the air and, frankly, is just insanely, James-Bondishly cool. At a price point of $174 US, it’s also completely affordable for the amount of amazing it offers. A must-have for any illusionists, wizards, or secret agents: 10/10.


The first of its kind, PYRO is a high-tech, wrist-worn, James Bond style device that allows you to shoot magnificent balls of fire from your open hand.

Hacked hearing aid lets you listen to WiFi

A UK science writer and a sound artist have teamed up to turn a set of hearing aids into devices that are actually in tune with inaudible digital frequencies and convert them into something you can hear. The writer, who is actually the one wearing the hearing aids thanks to a decade of slowly progressing hearing loss, was inspired by the aids themselves, which are Bluetooth-enabled and can stream audio from a mobile phone. The modified device takes a range of information including signal strength, network names, the number of networks in the area, and even their location to create an alien soundscape. Taken at face value, it’s a pretty cool idea. But the implications go far beyond hearing digital signals: the ears are actually better at processing mass information than the eyes are, and many researchers are looking into auditory interfaces as a potential new avenue to improving people’s lives in all kinds of ways.

Swain and sound artist Daniel Jones hacked the writer’s hearing aids in order to translate the unseen world of wi-fi signals into alien soundscapes.