This Way Up for Saturday 5 August 2017
A headset measuring quake damage, rough ride for UBER, editing human life, and how artificial light is a pollination peril.
After a big earthquake, the authorities need to quickly get into homes, offices and other buildings to see if they are safe to return to or need repairs.
But going into a potentially damaged building to perform this work is time-consuming and dangerous.
After the Kaikoura earthquake last November, Microsoft teamed up with a local tech company Datacom and a group of students to develop an app to do the job better.
And the key bit of hardware? HoloLens... a head-mounted computer that can overlay images onto your view of the world around you.
It's a field called mixed or augmented reality – not to be confused with the total immersion into an alternative world offered by virtual reality or VR.
This headset technology allows engineers to quickly get in and out of quake-damaged buildings, capturing all the information they need to assess their safety.
Husain Al-Badry of Datacom and Chris Auld of Microsoft show us how the technology works.
The ride sharing app UBER is struggling to make much of an impact in Asia, with consumers preferring variations of the technology more suited to their local market.
And QR codes – the funny looking bar code first developed as a stock and inventory tracking tool in Japan is now leading a cashless revolution in China.
Also, why the field of asteroid mining is so attractive for investors today and the tiny European country of Luxembourg enters a very specialised part of the space race, using tax breaks to encourage asteroid mining companies to base themselves in the country.
A genetic heart disorder has been fixed using gene editing in human embryos.
In a paper published in the journal Nature, Oregon scientist Shoukhrat Mitalipov and his colleagues used the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to fix a defective gene in eggs fertilised with sperm from a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patient.
Tech correspondent Peter Griffin of the Science Media Centre assesses the potential impact of the research here in New Zealand, and discusses how current laws need overhauling to cater for this powerful new technology.
Plus, how artificial intelligence and machine learning will help you take better photos and make better meals... Google and MIT researchers have developed new machine learning algorithms that can retouch your photos before you take them. Similar technology is also being used to produce a recipe from a photo of a finished dish.
A new study has measured the huge impact artificial light is having on our pollinators, and the knock-on effects for our crops and plant productivity.
Plus the quest to build better, longer-lasting batteries for electric vehicles and to power our increasingly power-hungry lives.