We've seen the all-in-one flat-screen PCs before, and they always seemed a little half-baked. Sure the CPU was behind the monitor, but that made the monitor something less than svelte. HP's latest concept PC, the Matisse, reduces the bulk by storing all the brains in what it calls "knowledge pods," removable palm-size cartridges that hold everything but the monitor. The keyboard, mouse and Internet connection are wireless, as you'd expect, but Matisse also provides wireless power through a metal rail at the base of the monitor. At the end of the day you'd place the keyboard in the tray, rest the mouse next to the base and pop the PDA into the cradle that snaps into the rail. No plugs required. What you see here is only a prototype, but the pod and wireless charging rail technology exist today and could show up on HP products as early as this winter.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.