This summer, Noah's Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, opens the country's only looping waterslide. The Scorpion's Tail gives you the thrills of a roller coaster without having to strap to a track (or wear a shirt)—and it uses sophisticated engineering to keep you secure as you slip any which way.
Riders stick to the walls because the loop travels a tilted angle, not a straight-up-and-down line that could drop people on their heads. Then there's the computerized control system, exit hatch and host of sensors to make sure riders splash out intact.
Mary Lou Jepsen has created massive holograms and cheap laptops for the developing world. Now she’s rethinking the LCD screen, leading the way to the next great gadget: an e-reader to replace your laptop
Mary Lou Jepson's hybrid computer screen blends the best aspects of both laptop and e-reader displays
John B. Carnett
For Mary Lou Jepsen, getting an MRI is not unlike getting a massage—a relaxing ritual, a rare slice of time when no work can possibly be done. I'm accompanying Jepsen to her doctor's appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital because it's the only few hours she can fit me in. She's in Boston for three days, in between trips to her Sausalito, California, houseboat and her apartment in Taipei, Taiwan, and she's booked back-to-back with appointments. Yesterday she had a meeting with the team at One Laptop Per Child, the nonprofit she helped create and with which she still collaborates on new computer designs. Today she's talking with her doctor about the medicine she needs to take to stay alive, after a tumor nearly killed her 10 years ago. Tomorrow she will appear at the Boston Book Festival in a debate about the future of reading, along with top executives from Sony and Google.
While Jepsen gets her brain scanned, I sit in the waiting room and guard the tote bag that contains the reason her life is so frenzied: a 10-inch slab of glass that, she says, merges the best of computers and e-readers into a single screen.
Computer users of all stripes—whether they usually say "I'm a PC" or "I'm a Mac"—have a few reasons to look forward to the launch of Windows 7 next Thursday. For one, this latest version of Microsoft's operating system has a clean, easy-to-use interface and a significant structural overhaul that makes up for a lot of Vista's mistakes. For another, it's ushering in a new wave of finger-friendly computers. Learn why—and see the breakdown on eight brand-new multitouch machines built for Windows 7.
We've been waiting almost five months for the Palm Pre smartphone to hit stores. Now Sprint has finally announced the details: In two and a half weeks, you'll be able to get the Pre for $200 (after a $100 mail-in rebate) in stores around the country. If you don't have a Sprint retail outlet in your town, not to worry. Best Buy, RadioShack, Sprint's online store, and even some Wal-Marts will carry the phone, too.
Today, Amazon announced a new Kindle e-reader that has a bigger screen -- 9.7 inches diagonally -- and a bigger price tag: 489 smackeroos. So should you fork out $130 more than the last Kindle for the new version? We can't say for sure until we get to play with it for a while, but here's a preliminary guide based on the specs and our quick demo at today's press conference.
The New York Times just reported the death of a man who saved -- and contines to save -- many lives: Dr. Earl Wood, one of the inventors of the G-suit. The G-suit, created in the 1940s, is a pressurized outfit that keeps pilots from losing consciousness during fast turns and dives. Military pilots started using it during World War II to remain alert and prevent crashes, and they (and astronauts) still use similar suits today.
Hundreds of thousands of Web sites show ads provided by Google, such as those little text ads that offer you everything from diets to dog training. Now Google has announced plans to track your clicks across all these sites, and then serve up ads personalized to your tastes. Visit a bunch of electronics-related sites, say, and the next site you view may show you an ad for the latest must-have gadget, even if you're now reading about ways to reduce stress through yogic meditations.
As Big Brother as it sounds, this is actually something that many advertising companies already do. But don't worry: There's a way to stop Google--and all the others--from prying.
Create a business card that automatically places a Skype call when waved near a computer, or a photo that opens an online video of your vacation. A new kit makes it easy to devise your own uses for radio-frequency ID tags, something that previously only programmers could do.
Freeplay Energy's new digital radio has looks inspired by modern design—and electronics inspired by rural Africa. The radio, for sale in Britain, uses low-power tech similar to that in the company's wind-up radios for developing countries. That means it uses 10 times less electricity than an ordinary digital radio, so it can run entirely off a solar panel on its cover. And according to panelists at today's CES session on "Greener Gadgets," it's an example of a how products designed for places with little electricity—products that have to be energy-efficient if they're going to work at all—can lead to more eco-friendly gadgets for everyone.