Into the Future
WEEKENDER | Tue, 08/31/2010 12:04 PM |
2010 seems to be a year of technological innovations, with mind-bending gadgets being introduced to the masses.
By Maggie Tiojakin
Technology has always helped humans do things more efficiently, but the plethora of inventions in the past few decades would have Thomas Edison jumping for joy. Look out for these five must-haves, sure to be as common as plasma TVs and 3G phones before you can say “gimme”.
Cheap as Chips
Yes, India has done it again. After announcing the world’s cheapest car two years ago, the subcontinent is now manufacturing the world’s cheapest PC – the aim is to sell them for as little as US$35 each, with the likelihood of marking them down to $10 apiece in the near future. The tablet will come with a 5-, 6- or 9-inch touch screen and software compatibilities to allow users to surf the Internet and do other common PC activities (PDF reader, entertainment application, office use, etc.) According to India’s HR Development Minister Kapil Sibal, the device will be on the market as early as 2011.
Worried that your teenaged kids, or even your driver, might take off in your car, attempting to set new land speed records on the highway? Well, Ford Motors offer its latest invention My Key, to help you keep tabs on them. Set for release next year, My Key basically makes your vehicle “PG-13”. My Key is like any regular key, except it’s embedded with a chip that corresponds with the ignition and won’t let the driver drive faster than 80 miles (130 km) an hour. It can also be set to limit audio levels in the car, signal a warning when the driver is not wearing a seatbelt and reduce tire spin (traction control). So, all ye overprotective Moms, this one’s for you.
The Wheel Deal
General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group are launching the EN-V, which is the prototype of a two-seat electric vehicle designed as a solution to the kinds of problems that dog 21st century car owners: traffic congestion, parking issues, air pollution and cost. EN-V (short for Electric-Network Vehicle) is on display at the Shanghai World Expo until October 31. The models are said to represent three aspects characterizing the joys of future transportation: pride, magic and laughter. Feeling EN-Vious yet?
Seeing the Light
Ever had the feeling that your toaster is trying to cheat you? Like all those mornings when your toast persistently pops up burnt even though you set the toaster level at medium? Say goodbye to all that. Early this year, Magimix Vision Toaster hit the market after 15 years of research and production tryouts. Now, you can watch your bread being cooked through the transparent double-insulated glass on both sides of the toaster. Priced at around US$300, this is one toaster that won’t give you burnt offerings.
Imagine, an electric fan without the bothersome blades chopping the air. Well, the smart people at Dyson did, putting their minds together to produce airflow with their patented Air Multiplier technology. Air is accelerated through an annual aperture. This creates a jet of air which passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp that channels its direction, and the surrounding air is drawn into the airflow, amplifying it 15 times. Well, that may be a bit over most of our heads, but it’s amazing technology and the fan – in gray, blue and white – is a stylish looker. Good news is that it was recently launched here.