While that bikini or radio might not have been at the top of your must-have list, those two items made the cut as the “Coolest Inventions of 2003,” according to Time magazine. The freshest ideas from the world of fashion, music, transportation, sport and more came together in the magazine’s annual list.
Home décor gets glowy
Interior decorators will be able to put the glow in glowing when a new line of pillows and home decor products comes out next year. The Italian company CAEN and the Swiss company STABIO Textile invented a new space-agey kind of fabric called Luminex. The fabric literally glows from within via tiny, flexible optical fibers that designers weave into ordinary cloth. Developed originally for physics experiments, the light from the fabric comes from a small battery sewn into the fabric.
To keep information on CDs, ATM cards and floppy disks out of information-burglars’ scheming hands, Royal introduced the MD 100 Media Destroyer. This shredder slices CDs into tiny shards, cuts apart floppy discs, and flattens raised numbers on old credit cards before cutting them up.
An environmentalist’s dream, the new Java Log makes a good, warm fire, but it doesn’t produce soot or carbon dioxide. The log is made from used coffee grounds, and according to its creators, it can burn hotter and last longer than a traditional wood log because it boasts a higher heat density than real wood.
The shoe fits
How to get the right shoe for a baby whose feet seem to change day to day? One company has the answer with its Preschoolian shoes. These little shoes have a see-through plastic bottom to help ensure proper fit.
Glasses at work
Realtors won’t even need to peel off their sunglasses to get work done if Motorola and Frog Design have their way. Set to debut in 2006, the two companies are introducing the Offspring Wearable sunglasses, a pair of glasses that house a tiny digital camera lens in the eyepiece, as well as a mini display inside the left lens for reading e-mail or surfing the Web. The glasses can also hook to a cell phone via an earpiece that pops out on the frames.
Fear and clothing
The No-Contact Jacket is shocking. Literally. If the wearer feels threatened in any way, she can activate a switch held in her hand that blasts an 80,000-volt electrical pulse through the jacket’s material. The No-Contact Jacket runs off a standard 9-volt battery and is insulated so the wearer won’t feel anything when the jacket is activated.
That’s one smart oven
Stick your meal in the refrigerator before you go to work. And right before you leave the office, call that same refrigerator and tell it to turn itself into an oven and cook up your meal. The Intelligent Oven can alternately cool, then cook food by following instructions sent over a cell phone or through the Internet.
The easy-park car
How tough is it to get into that tiny parking space when visiting homes in the city? Simple, says Toyota, which has invented a car that parallel parks itself. The newest version of the Prius, its hybrid gas-electric car, has an optional auto-parking feature called Intelligent Parking Assist that includes a rear-mounted camera, power steering and special software that will automatically slide the car into its spot.
For duffers wanting to improve their game, the MAC Powersphere might be the answer. This new driver redirects wasted energy from a golfer’s swing back into the club head. The small hole that is scooped out of the bottom of the golf head captures the shock waves that come from hitting the ball, then sends them back toward the ball.
It’s a car! It’s a boat!
The Gibbs Aquada is a car that starts out on the road. When you get to the ocean, push a button and a few moments later the wheels of this automobile slide under the car and turn the automobile into a boat. The Aquada can do 100 mph on land and up to 30 mph while afloat.
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