Five Ideas to Watch
Real Beer Goggles
They don't turn barflies into hotties, but goggles from Wisconsin-based Drunk Busters of America could save lives. Schools use the $99 eyewear to simulate for students how a few Buds can impair their motor skills. Inventor Curt Kindschuh projects that sales will grow 25% this year.
A $15 million promotional campaign by Indiana-based Carbolite Foods gives shoppers a free whiff of what its low-carb foods smell like. Sales are up 30% to 35% so far, says CEO Roeland Polet, who observes that "readership on your ads goes up if people can smell them."
A Baedeker for Baghdad
It can't point you to Saddam's spider hole, but Baghdad City Streets software can help you navigate Iraq's capital city. The $200 program, which has already sold hundreds of copies, was created by two New England firms, Maptech and LeadDog Consulting. For $100 more, you can add a "you are here" global-positioning function on your PDA. Demand from civilian contractors, troops set for deployment, their families at home, and even the Coalition Provisional Authority has been so great that maps of Basra and Fallujah are now set for release.
Dick Tracy's Wrist Communicator
Speaking of getting around in a battle zone, G.I.'s may someday receive orders in the field--perhaps with satellite images included--from portable, flexible computer displays carried in their pockets or worn on wristbands. The Army has awarded a $43.7 million federal grant to Arizona State to develop these low-power minicomputers. The university will establish and help oversee the Army Flexible Display Center, pooling the resources of small businesses, high-tech corporations, and academic researchers.
Yes, That's a (Well-Protected) Banana in My Bag
Vancouver emergency room doctor David Agulnik dreamed up Banana Guard after he and a nurse both found smooshed bananas in their bags while on break. Since launching last fall, Agulnik and his two partners have sold more than 10,000 of the oversize plastic cases, online and in stores. Banana Guard is available in nine colors, one of which glows in the dark. "In clinical trials in grocery stores," Agulnik says, "we found about 90% of bananas will fit." Rod Kurtz
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