Spectrum: London Underground Tests Regenerative Braking Tech, Wayback Machine Gets Searchable in 2017

Plus, NYC teenagers create Live Time Closed Captioning system to help deaf individuals engage in naturally flowing conversations.

by / December 17, 2015

Power Up

The same technology that captures energy from braking in electric and hybrid vehicles is being tested on a much larger scale: London’s Tube trains, which transport 1.3 billion passengers per year. The tech, called regenerative braking, recovers “waste energy” when the trains brake and send it back as electricity. London Underground reported that over the course of a week on one of its transportation lines, the system generated 1 megawatt hour per day — or enough energy to power 104 homes for a year. Source: Treehugger

Tech for Social Good

A new pairing of tech tools could change the way deaf individuals communicate with the hearing world. Through the combination of augmented reality and speech-to-text systems, a group of New York City teenagers is creating a platform that converts audio into text that’s shown on a wearable display that connects to any pair of glasses. The Live Time Closed Captioning System, currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, consists of a clip-on heads-up display, smartphone-sized microcomputer and a clip-on microphone. The tech-savvy teens want to help users engage in naturally flowing conversations. Source: Indiegogo

Ghost of Websites Past

The ultimate recordkeeping site of the Internet is going to get a big upgrade in the next couple of years. The Wayback Machine keeps an archive of 445 billion Web pages, saving snapshots of sites throughout the years (and providing a great reminder of how far Web design has come). But the site isn’t searchable; users must know the exact URL of the page they want to see historical versions of. That will all change in 2017 thanks to a $1.9 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to build a search engine for the Wayback Machine, providing an easier way to comb through pages of the past. Source: Gizmodo

4 mph ...

is the speed at which a new robot, created by the Skype co-founders, travels on sidewalks to deliver goods like groceries. The concept by Starship Technologies is a new take on local delivery services: Clients request a delivery via a mobile app and the robot independently traverses a neighborhood at the speed of a brisk walk. Source: Engadget

Grocery-delivering+robot+prototypeImage via Starship Technologies
Elaine Pittman Former Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.