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     Volume 4 Issue 76 | December 23, 2005 |

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Vehicle Design Goes Global
Engineers from around the world are collaborating to design the vehicle of the future. A new project called the PACE Vehicle Collaboration Project links engineers from GM with university students from eight nations. Students from 14 schools including Virginia Tech, BYU, the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Shanghau Jio Tong University (China) will earn college credit for designing low-cost fuel-efficient vehicles. And I thought passing Calculus was tough. More than 110 engineers will contribute to the project, which will use design software from UGS. This looks like a challenging test of the capabilities of remote collaboration software. Hopefully the group will design technology that will be beneficial to consumers as well as help GM to turn things around. Cars powered by Jolt cola? Seat covers made from recycled pizza boxes?

Cellular ID Cards
Kanagawa Institute of Technology employee displays the new student ID card for mobile handset and smart card, which enables to record class attendance, entrance and exit control for security zone at a press preview in Tokyo. The institute will distribute the mobile handset as students ID card for freshmen entering next April.

Citizen Knows What Time It Is
We still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea -- especially when they're four feet wide, 3mm thin, and can run for 20 times longer than a conventional clock on a single charge. Citizen and E Ink have now produced just such a watch using electronic ink. The massive bendable watch isn't just a nifty innovation in timepieces, though. It's also the first product to begin moving toward our personal dream of having enormous, ultra-thin displays in our homes.

Print your meal and eat it too!
Technology seems to have inspired a chef to design an amazing invention, edible ink made of liquidised food to print a picture snack on low-cal edible paper using a specially designed printer. Chef Homaru Cantu's food paper can even be downloaded from the internet. He adapted an ink-jet printer with computer wizards from local firm Deep Labs. They first experimented with ink made of crushed carrots, tomatoes and purple potatoes. He has already started printing edible menus at his restaurant Moto in Chicago. Diners can rip up the menu and toss it in their soup or have the sheets baked or fried. "You can make an ink-jet printer do just about anything. Just imagine going through a magazine and looking at an ad for pizza. You wonder what it tastes like so you rip a page out and eat it," he added.

Delete Defrosting
If this "NASA-based technology" is for real, people who encounter snow fall in winter might be able to keep the ice scraper in the trunk all winter. WorldSource claims that by applying Ice Free to your windows before the chill sets in, you won't have to go through the annoying routine of running the defroster (and wasting gas) and scraping off the ice before you start your journey. The company recommends wiping off the fluid before you drive (is this for visibility purpose, or to sell more product?). I would expect a company in Alaska to have developed the technology, but alas, WorldSource is based in balmy Palm Desert California.

Process cuts computer chip power use
In February Sony will start selling a car stereo that simplifies extending your music collection to your car. The $350 Xplod MEX-1GP has a removable faceplate that functions as an external hard drive when connected to a PC. Sony was smart in using a standard USB connector to make it dead simple for the widest variety of users. The faceplate has one gigabyte of flash memory, so you can shuffle between about 50 CDs worth of tunes during your drive, which should get people through even the toughest commute with a smile. The Xplod's CD drive accepts CD-R/RW discs, and it will play both MP3s and Windows Media Audio files. People who buy the Xplod will have to be extra careful to prevent theft as being able to make off with a mini music library is a nice bonus.

Google Earth
At long last, Mac users are getting a crack at Google Earth. MacUpdate posted a beta version of the OS X app for download last week, giving many users a sneak peak at the software. And while users' response to the beta was overwhelmingly positive, it turns out the file on MacUpdate was never intended for public consumption, so it's no longer available. Still, it's nice to know the beta seems to be going so well.

Time for Disaster
If you live in an area where the earth shakes, rivers flood, land slides, or tornadoes twist, you probably ought to move. Failing that, you might want to think about preparing yourself for the next big catastrophe. The $45 Seiko Disaster Clock KR866N might be the sort of thing you'd like to keep handy. When disaster strikes, you can use it as a flashlight, a radio and a personal alarm. And when disaster doesn't strike, it makes a handy -- if homely -- radio alarm clock. Perhaps they'll make them in other colours.

Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN

Source: AFP, Wired and Webindia123


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