The car’s the star
Microsoft has filed for a patent that would make driving a car akin to playing a video game. Not smashing into stuff and firing rockets at other vehicles on the road (we hope), but a heads-up display (more commonly referred to as a HUD) that would provide the driver with a bevy of information.
Possible features include: what MP3 is currently playing, where the nearest parking spot might be, how fast the car is travelling, and information about the driver’s health. The latter feature is oddly disturbing. One would hope that the driver’s health is currently good enough to keep the car on the road. A display that would indicate otherwise isn’t going to be much good to anyone. What isn’t apparent from the HUD is where the other cars on the road might be in relation to the driver’s car. Apparently that’s not all that important when it comes to motor vehicles of the future. You’ve been warned.
Use the Shuttle, Luke
People like shooting things into space. It’s just one of those peculiar things that mankind has obsessed over since he first lifted his eyes to the heavens. Aside from the various people, dogs, cats, ants, satellites and corpses that have been launched out of the atmosphere – I’m not making the dead people thing up, by the way. Several deceased Star Trek cast members have had their ashes sent into space – a movie prop may be the next object to break the bonds of Earth. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Star Wars film, the original Luke Skywalker lightsaber will be included on a future Space Shuttle Discovery mission. Personally, I think it’s so the astronauts can take it in turns to beat the stuffing out of a Jar-Jar Binks manikin. It beats drinking Tang and contemplating the emptiness of the universe.
Jetpack design all wet
An inventor has filed a patent for a jetpack that uses water as a propulsion method rather than that messy and dangerous stuff, hydrogen. The plans, posted here, indicate a booster mechanism that converts water pressure into upwards thrust. Sounds dubious at best, but people laugh at inventors all the time (I still chortle like a school girl every time I lay eyes on a Segway). One of the posters on the original Wired blog entry made an astute observation, though: isn’t this just the equivalent of strapping a fire hose to your back? Now that gives me an idea. . . .