STICK IT OUT
Pops-a-Dent Dent Remover. Anyone who has suffered outrageous parking lot fortunes will appreciate this dent remover system, consisting of a proprietary, hot-melt polyurethane (PUR) adhesive coupled with a unique pad and patent-pending bridge tool. The glue is applied to the pad, on the end of a threaded stem, which is attached to the dented surface. According to inventor George Ventura, holes through the pad surface ensure that the glue adheres to the pad, not the paint. When the stem is threaded through the bridge-which flexes to evenly distribute the forces-it pulls the dent out just as the bond to the surface breaks. The result: No residue on your car. Inventor:George Ventura (www.pops-a-dent.com) Enter 576
TAG Event Communication System. These smart tags allow people with common interests to automatically find and greet each other via an IR link-and even exchange contact information electronically. "The challenge was balancing technology and social norms," says inventor Rick Borovoy. "People are protective of face time, and we had to get it right." Studying face-to-face communication dynamics, engineers formulated algorithms that determine what information typically is exchanged when people connect socially. Line-of-sight and short-range (1m) IR transmission keep the interaction to a normal conversational range. Co-founder:Rick Borovay, [email protected] (www.ntag.com) Enter 577
Cheetah SS Trike. Unlike conventional tricycles, Engineer Tom Walters' design carries the driver and passenger within a sturdy cage with a retractable aluminum roof. It's made from 2-inch square (1/8-inch wall thickness) 304 stainless steel tubes, which he says are more than 50% stronger than the mild steels used on most conventional trikes and bikes. The triangular truss frame structure, skinned with aluminum panels, connects the rails on each side to each other for added rigidity. The doors are also stainless steel. Engineer:Tom Walters, [email protected] (www.cheetahtrikes.com) Enter 578
Kodak EasyShare DX6490 Zoom Digital Camera. This latest addition to the Easy-Share dockable digital camera line involves the tight integration of Kodak Color Science algorithms and Texas Instruments DM270 digital signal processor. Based on the dynamic range of a scene, the algorithms correct for color shift and low color saturation of the camera's CCD imaging array. Project Leader Susumu Hasegawa says that achieving better image quality with faster image processing time (0.6 seconds click to capture) was a challenge. "If we just added code to improve Kodak interpolation, auto white balance, and edge enhancement processes, the process time would be longer. By optimizing for the TI DM270 (eliminating any extra steps in the data flow) and using hardware processing, total image processing time is reduced." Project Leader:Susumu Hasegawa, (http://support.ti.com/sc/pic/americas.htm, www.kodak.com/go/DX6490/) Enter 579
Garmin Geko 101 GPS. These compact (1.9w x 3.9h x 0.96d inch) GPS units may be small and light (3.1 oz with batteries) but store up to 250 waypoints. Geared for GPS rookies, the simple five-button, one-hand interface permits one-touch waypoint marking. Engineers designed the device as a low-cost ($100) option for navigational novices, leveraging technology developed for its etrex(R) product line, including a compact footprint and user-friendly interface. Product Manager:Brad Wiseman, [email protected] (www.garmin.com) Enter 580
CE KEY TO SEWING COMPUTER
Bernina of America artista 200E Sewing Computer. For ease of use, engineers say they turned to Windows CE for the interface and web browsing capabilities on this computer-driven sewing machine. Because so many hardware manufacturers support the driver for embedded applications, Engineer Boris Zickenberg says that they saw CE as easing future machine upgrade efforts. Further, he says that CE allowed crafting an interface using MDA (model driven architecture) resulting in pop-up messages and icons that ease navigation, file management, and general use. The result is a secure Windows system with a user interface that is very insensitive to errors, Zickenberg says. The machine combines computerized stitching and embroidering with the ability to download motifs and stitches directly from a dedicated Internet portal. Engineer:Boris Zickenberg, [email protected] (www.berninausa.com) Enter 581.