1. Healing Torn Rotator Cuffs Double Quick
A device that pros rely on to recover from sports injuries is making its way into the high-end physical therapy and gym markets. The Accelerated Recovery System from Game Ready, a Berkeley, Calif., company, can cut in half the recovery period for fractures and sprains and even arthroscopic surgery. Made from material similar to that used in space suits, the system, which maintains constant cool and pressure on the injured area, costs from $2,225 to $4,000.
2. Deck the Halls Without a Ladder
Here's an invention Clark Griswold would love: The Safe-T-Reach from the Christmas Light Co. simplifies hanging lights. Users snap plastic clips to a roof gutter from a hand-held 9-foot telescoping pole. The Mesa, Ariz., company is rolling out the $29.99 kit in Lowes, Target, and Home Depot.
3. Carryon Entertainment
The folks at InMotion Pictures have taken the concept of Netflix to a whole new level -- 30,000 feet. The Jacksonville, Fla., company rents out portable DVD players and movies for air travelers from kiosks that can be found in 23 airports nationwide. The rentals cost up to $12 per day and may be ordered online. You have the option of returning the DVD player at your destination airport or keeping it for the duration of your trip.
4. No More Cold Feet
The Wool Research Organization of New Zealand and Aussie entrepreneurs are jointly developing electrical-conductive wool socks. Powered by tiny rechargeable batteries housed in a pocket below the ankle, the prototypes feature none of the wire coiling that is found in most heated socks. And the voltage will be low enough that they are washable.
The Internet, Part II
More than 200 universities, federal labs, and businesses -- the folks who developed the original Internet, then gave it to the public -- have joined forces to build a $300 million private network reserved for their use. High powered and superfast, Internet2 is meant to be a testing ground for advanced applications. Already, meteorologists use it to track tornadoes with greater accuracy, deep-sea explorers feed real-time images to researchers on it, and a lab in North Carolina is experimenting with a way of transmitting the sense of touch that could enable consumers to feel products before they buy them online.