Tech for the Road
The products and services you see here will make your travels more convenient, more productive, and more fun.
Half the fun is getting there? Please. If you fly frequently, you know all about long security lines, delayed flights, and no room in the overhead bin. Driving isn’t any better, especially this time of year (you know it as summer; most states know it as construction season). We wish we could say this special section will cure all your travel ills. It won’t. But we do promise this: The products and services you see here will make your travels more convenient, more productive, and more fun.
SMART BAGS FOR SMART TRAVELERS
Leave your baggage behind: One of these high-tech carryalls will better suit your lifestyle.
1. Your Personality: Wet and Wired
Your Bag: The Lowepro DryZone 200 ($334)
Wet electronics don’t work very well. The solution: a waterproof backpack that floats. With welded seams and a watertight zipper, DryZone is unsinkable-even with 85 pounds of gear inside. It’s designed for camera equipment but accommodates laptops, MP3 players, and more. www.lowepro.com
2. Your Personality: Backcountry Survivor
Your Bag: The Vortex SmartStay ($79 to $435)
When you’re hauling around a lot of gear, a backpack with a “second spine” can transfer weight from
your back to your hips. Unlike other backpacks-which have metal bars bent to fit your spine-the SmartStay’s
internal structure varies in strength, flexibility, and
thickness, like your spine, to better distribute the
3. Your Personality: AV Junkie
Your Bag: Eagle Creek Matrix Symphonium ($225)
With a speaker tucked into each side pocket, your bag becomes your boom box when hooked up to a CD or MP3 player. Jacks are stored inside a Velcro sleeve so they won’t be unintentionally disconnected. www.eaglecreek.com
4. Your Personality: Business Elite
Your Bag: Samsonite 625 Series Hardlite ICT ($140)
This 4.5-pound briefcase is as smart
as it looks. Place it upside down, and gravity pulls a small lever down to
prevent you from opening it. When upright, a switch limits its opening to 30 degrees. Available this month. www.samsonite.com/hardlite
5. Your Personality: Frequent Flier
Your Bag: Samsonite Ultra 3000 SideRoller Carry-On ($300)
Wheeled bags are great, but all but the slimmest get bogged down in the airplane aisle. The SideRoller’s six-wheel design adds four side-rolling wheels for tight spaces. www.samsonite.com
MOBILE TECH TO THE RESCUE
Cold beer in a hot spot, dry kid in a sticky clime, clean water in a pinch.
1. Yuma, Arizona: Quick Cold One in the Hottest U.S. City
The Amazin’ Beer Chiller cools beverages to 44
Sure, there will be plenty of heroes struggling for survival aboard the sinking cruise ship at the center of Poseidon, but the real star of this film may be the rogue wave that causes all the problems in the first place. Scientists believe that these ocean giants form when two wave fronts intersect. On rare occasions, the overlap focuses the combined wave energy to produce a wall of water up to 100 feet tall. Naturally, narrative needs forced the filmmakers to stray from reality in places. For example, visual-effects supervisor Boyd Shermis notes that rogue waves typically form in turbulent seas, whereas Poseidon´s monster strikes out of nowhere. Shermis says they also created a 170-foot wave-nearly twice as tall as the largest rogue on record. The Big Draw: The bulk of the filmmakers´ science homework went into making water behave as it would in a real ocean. The physics models that drive the effects account for the water below the surface, not only on the ocean´s skin. So when a wave breaks, Shermis says, Ã¢a’¬You´re not just slabbing foam particles onto the surface. You´re actually spawning the foam from within the 3-D volume of water.Ã¢a’¬
Worst Fear: The two hours that follow the two-minute wave sequence
EGQ: Low. All they want is a way out, not an explanation of what happened. For more on rogue waves, visit PopSci’s blog.
X-Men: The Last Stand
Genetic mutations let these superheroes sprout wings, manipulate metal, and control the weather. In this sequel, scientists discover a way to suppress the supergenes. ** The Big Draw:** Colossus–the metallic strongman required heavy special effects.
Worst Fear: That the resident biochemist, Beast, offers an RNA-based explanation for the gene silencing
EGQ: High. This franchise has less respect for evolution than Fred Flintstone.
After an extended hiatus away from Earth, Krypton´s first son flies back to find that the people of Earth-not to mention Lois Lane-no longer need him. The Big Draw: Want to feel a little closer to the Man of Steel? In IMAX theaters, a 20-minute section of the movie will be shown in 3-D.
Worst Fear: That the story line and acting, in contrast, will be one-dimensional
EGQ: Low. Suspension of disbelief, people. There´s no point trying to explain Superman.
Lightning McQueen gets lost on his way to a race and ends up in the town of Radiator Springs, a forgotten spot populated by, among other autos, a sexy 2002 Porsche 911 and a quiet 1951 Hudson Hornet. The Big Draw: Driver Richard Petty´s cameo as a 1970 Plymouth Superbird
Worst Fear: That Cars won´t live up to Pixar´s last few movies
EGQ: Low. Someone could conjure an AI-run-amok backstory to explain this world run by autos, but why bother?
A mad scientist in a Bed Bath & Beyond gives the ultimate remote to a time-crunched family man. The gadget offers a new twist on time travel: Instead of transporting him to the past or future, it changes the flow of time around him. The Big Draw: Watching Adam Sandler try to outsmart time-travel paradoxes
Worst Fear: Watching Adam Sandler try to outsmart time-travel paradoxes
EGQ: Medium. Mad scientists are always good for a few mentions of string theory.
A Scanner Darkly
In this adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, a cop becomes addicted to a mysterious drug and develops a split personality. The Big Draw: The film was shot with live actors, then tweaked by rotoscoping. Artists draw over the film´s frames, creating oddly realistic animated scenes.
Worst Fear: That the scramble suit, an outfit that makes someone look like any and all people, won´t live up to Dick´s description
EGQ: High. This is Philip K. Dick, after all.
Director Mel Gibson hopes to transport audiences to the last days of the ancient Mayan empire. Concrete causes of the collapse of the Mayas have proved elusive, but some recent evidence suggests climate change-specifically, droughts-may have contributed. The Big Draw: Reconstructed Mayan cityscapes and reported scenes of human sacrifice
Worst Fear: Mel Gibson
EGQ: Astronomical. All the characters will speak Yucatec Maya.