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     Volume 7 Issue 4 | January 25, 2008 |

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Imran H. Khan

When I was young, I always had a dream to be in the cockpit of the Antonov 225. One of the largest planes every built, this six-engined mega plane is capable of carrying over 250 tonnes of cargo - double that of most large Boeings. The Acabion GTBO bike could be a small step for me to make my wish come true. This cockpit-like Acabion GTBO bike features a 750bhp, turbocharged Hayabusa engine that is capable of hurling the motorcycle down the road at 340mph with a 30 second 0-300mph acceleration time. You know that this invention was made for this era because the bike is extremely fuel efficient. It can get 100 miles per gallon at 100 mph. Sadly, the designer Peter Maskus is releasing the Acabion to the public in extremely limited quantities. The price is a little steep at around $2.7 million, add to that a waiting list of 3 years. Honestly speaking, I'd rather buy a ticket for an airbus and have the flight attendant show me to the pilot.

Get over your drinking water phobia with this water purifier.

Now people have a lot of fears. From vertigo, arachnophobia and claustrophobia to Arachibutyrophobia (the fear of having peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth) the list is endless. If you have a phobia regarding your drinking water, this BottomsUp concept may be jus the right thing to help you get over that fear. All you need to do is screw the filter onto any bottle top and the water that emerges on the other side should be nice and clean. You can also attach another bottle on the other end to easily transfer pure, safe water for immediate consumption. This not only very useful but also seems quite handy. Though this idea is still in the conceptual stage, something tells me that this invention just might make it through. The first water I'd be trying this gizmo out will be on Gulshan Lake; that should put it to its ultimate test.

Watch a movie while you walk…the complete lens.

For those of you Newton fans who love objects in motion, here is something for you and all other clock lovers. The SanderMulder's About Time clock has got a fabulously quirky way of revealing the time of day: it's written around the edge of the face. The time is given in a, well, vague manner. So, if it's five-ish, you might want to take yourself for a walk at Dhanmondi or if it's around six-ish, it's definitely time you went home from work (but I would not recommend this item for a clock replacement at the office space). What next, spinning clocks if the alarm rings? Though I could not find the price of the items online, the Dutch designers SanderMulder has made it available to the general people and yes, people are actually buying it.

One item that will really sell like hot cakes this year has to be the two new UMPC units that it has set for the production line. Inventec's UMPC 7-A and the UMPC 5-D walked home with iF Design Awards honours last year, and it's really no competition if we take a look at the gadget. The curved construction of the UMPC 7-A is not done for looks alone; apparently, it will improve the viewing angle and give the keyboard a more ergonomic build than is usually permitted with a flat design. The whole thing gives a plasma display feel and the best thing is, when you are not using the keyboards, it simply slides in, giving it an elegant look. This is top on my list of items to look out for this year.

While I'm on the visual topic, let it be known to all that I love movies. I'm a movie buff and while I'm not too much of a critic, I simply enjoy whatever movies I can get my hands on. The only problem is that there is simply not enough time to watch all the films that are released. Remember in Robocop and Terminator, the first person camera view would always have a robotic look. The character could zoom in, lock target, search database from the internet and do a bunch of other useful things using their bionic eyes. Those concepts were ideas of the future, and the future is now. Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. Though this is a very small step in this line, this will surely have a ripple effect in the wave of technology. "Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising."

The use for such a device is endless. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, you could be surfing the Internet with ease, without having pesky people looking over your shoulders. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens. As for me, I could be watching Casanova while I'm busy at work. I could again catch up on all the new seasons of Jail Break and Heroes. The future, is definitely… now.

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