Making tram power lines disappear

The thick “spiderweb” of overhead cables needed to keep electrified light rail on the move is ugly, costly to maintain and requires a complex network of infrastructure and sub-stations. Now though, there’s a new development that could do away with overhead power lines and move everything safely onboard the tram. Supercapacitors are milk carton size devices that can store large amounts of energy, release it in fast bursts, and then recharge rapidly. It means a tram could arrive at a stop, be charged up with megawatts of power in a minute, then continue on its way. All without the need for overhead power lines. The CSIRO is working on a range of supercapacitor projects to do this with the Australian Government’s Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre and the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation https://blog.csiro.au/supercapacitor-magic-making-tram-power-lines-disappear/

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A 10 year vision for retail

Westfield global shopping centre group has presented its vision for the future of retail as Destination 2028. It describes the future mall as a “hyper-connected micro-city” which will go way beyond shopping to incorporate wellness enhancement and community involvement. It offers interior features such as sensory gardens and waterways, as well as spaces for wellness workshops, walkways with AI, magic mirrors, drones to deliver parcels and even toilets that can diagnose hydration and vitamin levels. The concept was developed after internal research highlighted consumers’ growing interest in health and wellness.. www.jwtintelligence.com/2018/06/enlightening-retail/

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An installation that protects a national treasure

A special technical installation, a sort of “artificial lung”, is at the entrance to the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. The Chapel is a masterpiece in the history of painting in Italy and Europe in the 14th century. The special air-conditioned environment in the installation both purifies the air inside the Chapel and monitors its atmosphere continuously, in order to protect unique frescoes, some of the most important of all time. Groups of maximum 25 people wait at the door to the air-conditioned waiting-room to the chapel for 15 minutes, the time needed to stabilise the interior microclimate. They then enter the Chapel for another 15 minutes. Visits last a total of about 30 minutes. Automatic access doors open only once on entrance and exit, to allow stabilisation of the interior microclimate. http://www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it

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Sleep and exercise could prevent Alzheimer’s

The brain’s cleaning system has been observed working naturally by scientists for the first time in research that may help in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Researchers have been able to use MRI scanners to watch in real time as spinal fluid flushes waste products out of the brain and circulates them alongside blood vessels, to be removed by the body. Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the build-up of waste products, and some scientists hypothesise that it could be caused by the brain’s inability to clean itself. This finding could explain the link between Alzheimer’s and poor sleep and exercise. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/brains-cleaning-system-raises-dementia-hopes/news-story/ba28a4f9b2810cf8cd5b31380bcc5afb?

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A retirement village calculator

A new retirement village calculator developed by business analysts is designed to protect seniors from making devastating financial mistakes. The free calculator takes a complex range of fees such as entry fee, ongoing fees and exit fee, and calculates a simple ‘equivalent monthly rent’ for the years of residence. A second version of the app will be aimed at people who advise consumers considering retirement villages, such as lawyers and financial planners. www.rvcalculator.org

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Your driver’s license on your phone

Having a driver’s license on your phone is part of the digital transformation where everything is available electronically and on your phone. It’s a digital, secured rendering of your driver’s license that is dynamically connected back to the system of record. It will mean less tension in approaches to your vehicle because identities will be known. Iowa is the first U.S. state that will offer digital driver’s licenses following pilot testing. https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/qa-digital-drivers-licenses-go-digital

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A quick and easy way to get flood warnings

Floodmapp aggregates real time, modelled, and historical flood data in Australia. This data allows them to produce live interactive maps, heat maps, reports, and alerts. The system helps anyone living in a flood plain-rapid personalised warnings allow them to protect their families and valuables. It also helps insurance companies minimise claims and losses. www.floodmapp.com

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Tutors who have aced your subjects

Vygo’s app offers personalised tutoring for university students. Students who have done well in their subjects can apply to Vygo to become tutors. This means they can give you relevant and affordable advice. The 100% service guarantee means if you’re not fully satisfied with your tutor, they’ll fully refund you. Their first Uni contract was with University of Queensland. https://vygo.com.au

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Smart glasses that help blind people “see”

Aira is video-equipped smart glasses, a smartphone app and one-button access to a network of trained professional agents. You get immediate assistance for almost anything you want to do without a sighted person nearby. The system uses augmented reality to enhance your everyday experience. One of the most requested services among Aira’s customers is medication recognition. As a result, AT&T is currently helping develop a recognition solution using Aira’s new AI platform, to correctly identify prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. https://aira.io/

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Electric scooters that could revolutionise urban transport

Depending on who you ask, the electric, internet-connected scooters appearing all over California are either the future of transportation or a public nuisance. They’re managed through smartphone apps. With Bird, for example, you open the app to see a map of nearby available scooters, from which you can select one, scan a QR code on the scooter, tap “unlock” in the app, and start your ride. Once you’ve scooted to your destination—Bird says most rides are less than 2 miles—you lock the scooter up again. https://qz.com/1257997/electric-scooters-are-flooding-california-and-theyll-be-on-your-sidewalks-soon/

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Get all your school’s communications in one place

A new app called Skool Loop helps school principals who are spending an increasing amount of time on administrative functions. It provides a simple, user-friendly process for schools to quickly and easily communicate with the school community. The app contains features such as instant messaging, school calendar synchronisation, absentee messaging, newsletters and notices. It’s free, secure, and doesn’t require any training to use. Participating schools in Australia and NZ are allocated a team member who will set it up for them, free of charge. www.skoolloop.com

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Immunotherapy to cure cancer

A friend was diagnosed with cancer this year and advised he had 3 months to live. He was given the option of immunotherapy at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney and, though it had risks, took the option and his cancer has now gone. This exciting new approach to cancer treatment involves creating drugs that target cells of the immune system, not the cancer. Basically, the immune system is strengthened to protect against, or attack a specific tumour type. https://www.garvan.org.au/foundation/immunotherapy-changing-way-think-cancer-treatment/

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