| Wednesday, November 15, 2006
| BEST INVENTIONS OF 2006: THE BEST OF THE REST
What goes from zero to 60 in 4 sec., tops out at more than 130 mph and appears to be missing a gas tank? The Testa Roadster 110. It's pure California; a hot sports car that doubles as a statement against pollution and oil dependence. Its massive lithium-ion-battery array can power it for up to 250 miles of highway travel, and even though it will fatten your electricity bill, the Roadster is still twice as efficient as a Toyota Prius.
INVENTOR: Testa Motors
AVAILABILITY: Now, US$100,000
TO LEARN MORE: testamotros.com
START YOUR ENGINE
What to do if your car battery goes kaput in a storm, and you don't have a jumper cables or roadside assistance? With Black and Decker's Simple Start you can get rolling again without getting wet. The self-contained battery booster plugs into the 12-volt accessory outlet and will restart your car in about 10 minutes. The device beeps when your cr battery is charged, and the LED area light lets you read while you wait. Schumacher Electric has a new E-Charge Emergency Car starter that works similarly, but we prefer the Simple Start for its slick design.
INVENTOR: Black and Decker
AVAILABILITY: nOW, $60.00
TO LEARN MORE: blackanddecker.com
It floats unsupported - though lightly tethered at tis four corners - 16 in. above the floor. The hovering bed is the daydream of a Dutch designer who says he was inspired by the monolith in the movie 2001:Space Odyssey. Its secret is a matching set of repelling magnets, built into the bed ad the floor below, that's powerful enough to support almost 2,000lbs. The magnetic fields are supposed to be perfectly safe for sleepers, but you've advised to take off your earrings before vacuuming underneath.
INVENTOR: Janjaap Ruijssenaars
AVAILABILITY: Now, $1.5 million
TO LEARN MORE: universearchitecture.com
A GREAT PAIR OF LEGS
You've scorched your last shirt. When you let go of the Oliso steam iron, it automatically lifts itself to stand about an ince above the board. To resume ironing, jut touch it again, and the legs gently retract. The little trick is triggered by sensors located in the patented "smart touch" handle. Leave the iron facedown for longer than eight minutes, and is shuts itself off.
AVAILABILITY: Now, $90.00
TO LEARN MORE: oliso.com
It looks like an ordinary laptop, but it's not. Unlike virtually every other PC in existence. Samsung's Q30 laptop doesn't have a hard drive; instead, it's built around 32 GB of flash memory, the solid state stuff we're more used to seeing in digital cameras and iPod nanos. With no hard drive to slow it down, the Q30 boots up faster, resists shocks better, runs quieter and uses less power.
AVAILABILITY: Only in Korea; $3,700
TO LEARN MORE: samsung.com
FINDERS OF LOST GLOVES
For years, people prayed to St. Anthony for help finding misplaced items. Now you can attach radio-frequency-emiting tags to your most losable possessions. When something is missing, flip up the Loc8tor, and it points you in the right direction - not just left or right, but up or down too. It homes in to within an inch of your item, while the tag itself emits helpful beeps. The only thing the system can't do is located the Lo8tor itslef. For that you still need St. Anthony.
AVAILABILITY: NOw, $190.00
TO LEARN MORE: loc8tor.com
EAT YOUR COFFEE
Spanish culinary mastermind Ferran Adria is famous for tinkering with food at the molecular level to produce wonders like liquid ravioli and frozen Parmesan air. His latest gastronovelty; solid espresso, dubbed 'espesso. It's made by combining regular espresso with sugar and a secret ingredient, then squirting it out of a canister like whipped cream. You eat it with a spoon. The mousse like treat arrived in the U.S. in September, and is available in espresso, cappuccino and macchiato flavors.(Reported by Wendy Cole)
INVENTOR: Ferran Adria
AVAILABILITY: At Lavazza in Chicago: $2.49
TO LEARN MORE: lavazza.com
THE MIX MASTER
Most commercial ice cream machine disperse pre-frozen desserts. The MooBella makes its treats on the spot, strong milk, sugar and other natural ingredients in sterile, airtight containers (think Parmalat). Key in an order - your choice of flavor, premium or light - and it mixes, flash-freezes, aerates, then serves fresh ice cream, all in about 45 seconds. How does it taste? Our tester gave the coffee with M$M's (mix-ins are optional) an enthusiastic thumbs up, mumbling "excellent" and "really, really fresh", between mouthfuls.
AVAILABILITY: Two machines operating in Boston; $2 to $3 for a 4.5 oz, scoop
TO LEARN MORE: moobella.com
In the wake of the spinach scare, even the friendliest food can seem like a biological hazard, and scrubing alone won't necessarily wipe out pesticides or bacteria. The Lotus Sanitizing System, turns ordinary tap water into superoxygenated water that kills microbes and removes toxins. The machine which sounds scarier than it is - it just means the water carries a form of oxygen that acts as a natural sanitizer.
AVAILABILITY: Now, $200.00
TO LEARN MORE: tersano.com
You already drink organic milk, buy free range chicken and shun foie gras. But have you assessed your seafood-eating habits? After watching a lobster thrash about as it was boiled alive at a grocery store, a British barrister devised a kinder way to kill crustaceans. His CrustaStun electrocutes them with a 110-volt shock, dispatcvhing them in about five seconds, vs. the twominutes it takes in hot water. A commercial version is already being used by a pair of seafood wholesalers in Britain. A smaller, home version - meaning about 1.5 feet in width and depth - will be out by year's end.
INVENTOR: Simon Buckhaven
AVAILABILITY: December; $4,740.00
TO LEARN MORE: crustastun.com
Umbrellas are supposed to keep the water out, but those $5 throwaway models will soak through in a downpour, and even the best umbrellas drip annoyingly when you bring them indoor. Here's a dryer, albeit pricier, althernative. The NanoNuno umbrella dries after a quick shake, so you don't have to park it outside the door on rainy days. The canpy is nanotech polyester surface is designed to repel water droplets, so they don't end up on you or your floot. Its inventors were inspired by the way moisture and dirt roil off the leaves of a lotus plant.
AVAILABILITY: Now, $95.00
TO LEARN MORE: proidee.co.uk
Your life may not be a fairy tale, but you can make it a little more like one with your very own magic mirror. Created by a Hollywood special-effects expert, the mirror is designed to be integrated with your home security and home automation networls.(if you're lucky enough to have either of those), It looks like an ordinary mirror most of the time, but when it's activated, an ethereal face appears on its surface, and it makes timely pronouncements - that a car has arrived in your driveway, for example, or that the Jacuzzie is warm - in the voice of snooty English butler. Just don't ask it, Who's the fairest of them all?
INVENTOR: Craig Barr
AVAILABILITY: Now, $19,995.00
TO LEARN MORE: themeaddicts.com
THE DOTING DINOSAUR
Lots of robot toys look like real animals, but they can't walk the walk. Pleo, which is modeled after a baby camarasaurus (a plant eating dinosaur), aims to be more lifelike. When it walks, its whole body sways. It's equipped with more than three dozen touch, sound, light and tilt sensors, and it even has moods. Ignore Pleo, and it will get depressed and sleep all day. Give it some TLC, and it will wag its tail when you get home and purr like a cat. O.K., maybe it's confused about which animal it's supposed to be -- but its' sure got (a mechanical ) heart.
AVAILABILITY: 2007; $250.00
TO LEARN MORE: ugobe.com
GOOD FOR GIRLS
Parents who have a hard time talking to their kids about sex should have no problem explaining why a new vaccine to prevetn cervical cancer is a must. Designed to immunize adolescents against the sexually transmitted human papllovavirus, a major rick facto for cervical cancer, Gardassil could help save teh lives of estiated 3,700 women nationawide who die of cervical cancer each year. Available for girls ages 9 and up, the three shot regimen is best taken before the onset of sexual activity - giving parents plenty of time to initiate "the talk".
AVAILABILITY: Now, $360.00
TO LEARN MORE: gardasil.com
MEOW, NO ACHOO
Love cats but your nose does'nt? A San Diego company is breedint feelines that are naturally hypoallergenic. Most cats produces a protein in their salvia that can trigger an allergic reaction in humans; some breeds, like the Siamese, produce less of it than others. But in Allerca's mixed breed (not genetically engineered), cats, the protein is virtually uindetectable. Allerca tests each cat and offers a one year money back guarantee, Demand is high; there's already a 15-month wait for the sniffle-proff kitties.
AVAILABILITY: 2007; $3,950.00
TO LEARN MORE: allerca.com
The science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishale from magic". Case in point; this water-harvesting machine, which can pull up to 500 gal. of drinkable water per day out of thin air; it's precise workings aren't public, but they use a chemical process similar to the one that causes salt to absorb moisture from teh air (and clump up your saltshaker). The water machine isn't particularly portable - it's 20 ft long - but will be godsend for disaster victims or troops in desert combat.
INVENTOR: Aqua Sciences
AVAILABILITY: now, about $300,000
TO LEARN MORE: aquasciences.com
(Source: Abstracted from TIMEMAG:"Best Inventions 2006")
|posted by infraternam meam @ 10:27 AM