Tech talk 18th June

landscape-1434465372-evaporation-engine-2World’s first engine driven by evaporation

So far there has been cars that run off oil, lights that run off gravity and buildings that are running completely from decomposing poo.

Now, new energy source added to the list.  Columbia University Bioengineers  have invented a way to harvest energy from water evaporation at room temperature.

Using just a puddle of water, the engine was able to power LED lights and drive a miniature car. The engine measures about 4 inches on each side and cost less than $5 to build. It uses materials called HYDRAS (hygroscopy-driven artificial muscles) which expand and contract rapidly when subject to changing conditions. HYDRAS can quadruple in length quickly, which means they use a great deal of energy to do so. At this stage, it is a proof of concept but shows this type energy being harnessed from nothing more than a small puddle of water just sitting there at room temperature is possible.

Read more on ‘World’s first evaporation driven engine’ here




Mirrored display


Samsung unveils transparent and mirrored OLED displays

Samsung have unveiled a pair of new 55-inch OLED displays, one is transparent and the other mirrored.  Yes, transparent and mirrored displays have been around for a while, but this is the first ever OLED version of the technology. These displays will be primarily for retail and advertising markets, used as signage and the mirrored display could act as virtual change rooms when combined with something like Intel’s 3D RealSense.  You might be seeing yourself dressed up  as you walk by shop fronts in the future. Could be interesting.

Read more on ‘Samsung unveils transparent and mirrored OLED displays’ here





pizza projectorPizza Hut’s new box turns your smartphone into a movie projector

Dinner and a movie have been the way to chill out after a busy week or date night for many people. Now, Pizza Hut Hong Kong has put a new edge on ‘pizza and a movie’ by turning the Pizza Hut box into a movie projector.

It’s called the Blockbuster box and it was designed by Ogilvy Hong Kong for a Piza Hut marketing stunt.  How does it work? Well, it uses the pizza table that comes inside every box that stops the lid stealing your toppings. It’s been upgraded!  The pizza table inside the Blockbuster Boxes features a lens which sits in the front of the pizza box after you punch out the perforated hole. Once the lens is in place, you will then need a smartphone and a Bluetooth speaker  or audio cable, your phone is going in the box, and the lens magnifies your smartphone’s display and projects it onto the wall. As your phone is in the box, you will need sound to hear the movie, that is where the Bluetooth speaker comes in.

As for the movie, Pizza hut has cleverly included a QR barcode for one free movie. You can pick your Blockbuster Box genre, there is 4 at this stage and the choices are; “Fully Loaded” (action movies), “Hot and Ready” (Romance), “Slice night” (Scary movies), and “Anchovy Armageddon” (Sci-fi). But if you have Netflix, that will work too.

It is only available in Hong Kong at the moment so we will have to wait and see if it’s brought to other countries.


Read more about ‘Pizza Hut’s new box turns your smartphone into a movie projector’ here

Neural Mesh


‘Neural Lace’ may create the first generation of superheroes (or villains?)

Group of chemists and engineers working in nanotech have published a paper about  a type of mesh which can merge with the brain. The mesh can act as a seamless interface between machin and biological circuitry. Called “Mesh Electronics,” the device is so thin and supple it can be injected via syringe. So far the implant has been tested on mice who survived the implant and are “thriving”. The brain cells are growing around the mesh and connecting with the wires.

This could be the first step in technological “telepathy” – brain to brain interfacing via injectable electronics. What could possibly go wrong?

Read more about the Neural Lace here






Our Tech talk guy Peter Reeve