A plastic film developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology deflects heat from the sun without requiring any power. It can be integrated into buildings and clothes to regulate the temperature. It is made from inexpensive polyethylene with added nanoparticles and colour pigments. The resulting composite films offer a variety of combinations of optical, thermal and mechanical properties. The material can also be used to trap heat and produce warm clothes.
"Beat Saber" is a virtual reality game from the Czech game developer Beat Games and sees gamers burn six to eight calories per minute, which is the equivalent of a game of tennis. This was calculated by the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise based on data from the game. Users can download a calorie tracker from the fitness start-up YUR and integrate it into the game. The aim of "Beat Saber" is to smash flying light discs with a saber; the work-out effect comes naturally while enjoying the game in combination with music.
The American start-up OnMed has announced the launch of telemedicine stations. After entering the booth, patients are connected to a doctor and a video chat begins. As well as inspecting a patient's vitals through video and audio, the doctor can get readings of their height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, respiration and blood oxygen saturation, and diagnose infections. At the end of the visit, the OnMed station can dispense medications from a reserve of hundreds of the most common drugs or print out a prescription that a patient can then take to a pharmacy.
Researchers from Tufts University have developed smart textiles that change colour when they come into contact with gas. The researchers used the dyes MnTPP, methyl red and bromothymol blue, which can detect ammonia and hydrogen chloride. The dyes are then effectively tied to the thread so that the colour changes upon contact with gas and the result can be read using a smartphone camera. Although this technology does not replace the precision of electronic devices, it could be used for inexpensive safety tests in various fields, such as medicine, the military and emergency services.
Scientists from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have added a phase-change material to transparent wood to enable it to regulate the room temperature. They had previously managed to remove lignin from the wood, leaving it without colour; now, they have included the important property of making the wood cool the room when it's hot and warm it when it's cold. The team did this by impregnating the wood with phase-changing polyethylene glycol. This polymer absorbs heat and becomes transparent when it melts, but when temperatures fall it hardens, releasing energy in the process. The processed wood is biodegradable.