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The Wrap: 16 July

Up periscope

A team from two Scottish universities has found a way to give a camera periscope like functionality with a new way to see what’s around the corner.

The method works by firing laser light which bounces around a corner and gets recorded by the camera’s sensor. That data is then analysed by a computer to detect the speed the photons return, with an algorithm used to reconstruct the object that’s hidden from view by a wall or other impediment. So far it’s only a simuation but it sounds pretty handy if it becomes reality.

Wink to get smart

The smart home is where the internet of things – a web of devices connected online – seems most real to the average citizen today. And a new app out in the US claims to be a gift from the future for controlling and monitoring the connected devices in your home. From your couch with your smartphone in hand, you can control air con, door locks, light and even window blinds using Wink. The app works with a hub that lets different smart devices connect where they otherwise wouldn’t.

And head to the smart office

While we’re on the subject of smart places, US venture Robin is gearing up with a big raise for its software for office buildings. Unlike the internet of things, Robin uses iBeacon and Bluetooth Low Energy devices to detect people and things in their vicinity. It then controls things like conference room bookings based on when users walk into a room – and users can join meetings just by walking in the door. It can also update screens in that room for meetings. The minimum a business needs is beacons and the iOS or Android app for the office spaces to be identified.

The smartphone as noticeboard

LokLok has a strange name, but it’s a great idea if you’re one of those people who loves writing notes on communal boards or leaving an encouraging message in someone’s lunchbox.

LokLok synchronises a note or a drawing you leave for someone else onto their Android phone’s lock screen. You can virtually draw or write on the screen or over photos, then share with individuals or groups or post to social media. There are also some basic image editing tools.

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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