Unconventional display screens

A new ‘Free Form Display’ technology that makes it possible to break away from conventional square and rectangular screens by using liquid crystal displays, in any imaginable shape, has been developed by Osaka-based multinational Sharp Corporation. The display utilises IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide) technology to create tiny chips that can be embedded throughout the display area, instead of using conventional ‘gate driver’ chips — which help power the display and conventionally determine the screen’s rectangular shape— around the perimeter of the screen’s display area. The technology could create dashboard screens without cowling and more ergonomically designed smartphones.

Making the obese active

A new smartphone app that can produce short term reductions in sedentary behaviour, thereby reducing health risks such as obesity and cardiovascular disease has been developed by US-based researchers at The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island. The app, B-Mobile, automatically monitors the time users spend being sedentary, and after an extended period of inactivity, uses a tone and motivational messages to prompt users to get up and walk around for a few minutes. The app was designed to reduce the amount of time obese individuals sits or recline while awake, but can also be applied to non-obese individuals.

'Smart' glasses for the poor-sighted

‘Smart’ glasses that enable individuals with poor vision to spot obstacles, perceive movement and recognise facial expressions, have been developed by researchers at Oxford University. The pair of glasses relays information collected by an infra-red and a normal video camera, to a small computer which combines and processes the data, from both cameras, before projecting it onto the lenses in the form of line drawings, with closer objects appearing brighter. The researchers also plan on adding a earpiece to their prototype, to relay scanned written information by reading out aloud.

Smartphone de-addiction apps

A new app, Moment, that can track how much you use your smartphone and prompt you to put it away after stipulated periods of time, has been created by app developer Kevin Holesh. The app runs in the background, helps you create daily limits on your smartphone usage and alerts you when you exceed the specified time parameters; it can also set up reminders when you reach 50 percent of your allotted time Moment can, optionally, be used to track where you’ve been throughout the day. The app is currently only available for Apple devices only, although an Android version is in the works.