iPhone app tells you how to avoid swine flu

Worried about Swine Flu? Wondering how you can avoid falling victim to the deadly virus that's sweeping the world? Fear not – now there's an iPhone app with help at hand.

Well, almost. IntuApps' Swine Flu Tracker will tell you everything and anything a true Swine Flu enthusiast needs to know about the pandemic - but it's not yet on the App Store. The app is designed to give you symptoms to look out for and key facts; places to avoid (complete with map of confirmed and suspected cases), and there's even an alert page for breaking swine flu news.

The good people at IntuApps will be giving the app away for free, according to employee Barry Schwartz, who gave us permission to include these sneek-peek images.

If that all sounds a bit too serious, the choice of Swine Flu-inspired internet computer games is growing by the day – they'll provide all the refuge you need.

In other news, a new 'double laser' could be about to make bomb disposal a whole lot safer. According to reports, the US army is developing a high-energy laser/microwave combo – a "laser within a laser" – that could blow up threats such as roadside bombs from a distance. The weapon will apparently have "scalable effects from non-lethal to lethal".

And it seems Russia's next space rocket might land back on Earth under a cushion of fire, using a similar technique to take-off. If a new rocket-powered system for landing is accepted, it will be the first time a manned space craft has "relied solely on rocket engines for touch-down," reports the BBC.

Should space-station officials be looking for something to douse the flames, the Rovio fire-extinguisher robot mod may not be quite up to the job. It's impressive though: consisting of a CF2ClBr flame-retardant fire extinguisher and remote-controlled nozzle, the robot can identify fire and automatically extinguish it.

Over in Sweden, a factory north of Stockholm has been fined £2,100 following a near-fatal robot attack on an employee. The worker broke four ribs and almost died when he attempted to repair a malfunctioning machine – normally used to lift rocks – that hadn't been switched off properly.

And if you're in the market for a new car, the AAA's top ten in new car tech for 2009 and 2010 models might come in useful. Among the list is MyKey. Using a computer chip in the vehicle's ignition key, it limits teen drivers to a top speed of 80 mph. The list also includes lane departure and blind spot warning systems among the best new additions. It looks as though intelligent cars are becoming truly mainstream.

And finally, another new iPhone app came out this week, albeit somewhat more trivial than the gallant Swine Flu Tracker. The Newo iLauncher lets you control your USB missile launcher (think foam missiles and sound effects) from your mobile. Very useful.

Dubbed "the one and only robotic remote control missile launcher for the iPhone or iTouch," you can control it from anywhere in your network. (Yes, we know it should be the iPod touch.)

Bring in webcam compatibility, and we think there could be a market…

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.