Future tech of the week – 13 Dec

By Siobhan Keogh

Coach bus drivers’ eye movements to be tracked

Five transport firms across continental Europe are to trial Seeing Machines’ Fatigue Monitoring System, which tracks coach bus drivers’ eye movements as they drive.

The product was designed by an Australian company and uses cameras installed inside a vehicles to monitor eye movements. If it detects they are distracted or fatigued, the system activates a vibrating motor underneath the driver’s seat.

It also activates an alarm in a co-driver’s sleeping compartment to signal that they should take over driving.

Eye detection technology is now being regularly used in consumer technology, most notably Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

Submarine-launched drones

Last week we looked at Amazon’s PrimeAir drones, which the company plans to use to deliver packages in short timeframes. Of course, as always, the coolest in drone technology is coming out of the U.S. military – in this case the Navy – which has developed an XFC drone that can be launched from a submerged submarine.

The drone was fired from a torpedo tube on the USS Providence.

A real-life invisibility cloak

Chinese researchers are reportedly working on invisibility technology that will be capable of making objects appear (or rather, not appear) to be invisible.

The researchers, a group of graduates led by Professor Chen Hongsheng from Zhejiang University, believe the technology will become a reality within a few years.

The cloaking device is made of glass, and reportedly uses light’s refraction property to create the illusion of invisibility. Two prototypes have been developed by the university which, if used practically, the researchers say could be used to cloak aircraft for the military.

Wedding bands get geekier

By now, technologists have heard of wearable technologies like Google Glass and smart watches. There’s a new wearable technology on the block, however, and it’s a little more subtle than other devices.

The Smarty Ring is a large ring – the kind you wear on your finger – that connects to your smartphone. Currently it’s in the conceptual stage, but it has been funded on crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.

Features of the smart ring include being able to accept or reject calls, make outgoing calls to preset numbers, control music and trigger your smartphone’s camera. It’s also waterproof.

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