Short Science, December 2, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2012, 5:02am

Hi-tech collar monitors your pet dog's health

Worried the family dog is too chubby? Japanese information technology giant Fujitsu says it may have the solution with a new health management service that lets owners keep a close eye on their pet's exercise regimen through a pedometer attached to its collar. The "Wandant" counts how many steps the dog took during its latest outing, with the data then available online for pet owners' perusal, Fujitsu says. "Wan" is Japanese for "woof", while "dant" comes from the word "pendant".

The device also measures the dog's temperature, while owners can use an online diary to track how much their dog is eating, its weight and "stool conditions". "The data are presented graphically on a custom website that makes trends in the dog's activities easy to understand at a glance," according to the firm. "This helps owners get a stronger sense of their dog's health, while enabling communication with the dog." AFP


Robot realises dreams for Japanese inventor

Like many Japanese, Kogoro Kurata grew up watching futuristic robots in movies and animation, wishing that he could bring them to life and pilot one himself. Unlike most other Japanese, he has actually done it. His four-tonne, four-metre tall Kuratas robot is a grey behemoth with a built-in pilot's seat and hand-held controller that allows an operator to flex its massive arms, move it up and down and drive it at a speed of up to 10km/h. Reuters


Space agency approves UK firm's novel engine

A small British company with a dream of building a reusable space plane has won an important endorsement from the European Space Agency (ESA) after completing key tests on its novel engine technology. Reaction Engines believes its Sabre engine, which would operate like a jet engine in the atmosphere and a rocket in space, could displace rockets for space access and transform air travel by bringing any destination on earth to no more than four hours away. Reuters


Data proves a boon for Higgs boson theorist

The physicists who theorised the existence of a basic subatomic particle half a century ago are confident recent data is proving they were right all along. Peter Higgs, whose eponymous Higgs boson is the long-sought target of the US$10 billion Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, said on Tuesday that he was sure a particle detected last July was one he had predicted in 1964. Reuters


Bus-stop light therapy for Swedish commuters

Commuters in the northern Swedish town of Umea are being treated to ultraviolet light therapy as the long, dark winter for which the Nordic state is renowned draws in. Energy company Umea Energi has decided to install ultraviolet lights at about 30 bus stops for people, which will be in place for the next three weeks. Reuters