Millennium Park turns into high tech playground

September 26, 2008 3:53:28 PM PDT
In Techsmart on this Friday, a look into the future - and you can see it over at Chicago's Millennium Park.Starting Saturday, an exhibit called "Wired Nextfest" will be showing-off inventions from around the world. Some of them may change your life. Looks like Millennium Park is heading off into the next millennium. For instance, Toyota is developing what they call the I-real ... It's a souped-up, cooler, smoother version of the segway. It could hit the market in a few years. This is all part of "Wired Nextfest" which for the next two weeks will feature forty inventions from around the world.

"These are really like passion projects of the world's leading visionaries, artists, designers and inventors. Some of them will come to market and some won't. But they will influence how the future evolves," said Victor Friedberg, Exec. Dir. of Wired Nextfest.

For instance Xerox is developing erasable paper. The print disappears in a few days and the paper can be reused over and over again. There's a game called brain-ball and the more vacant your brain the better you are.

"The more relaxed you are the better your brain will play," said Magnus Jonsson, Swedish Interactive Institute. "You move the ball by your brain waves."

Cameron Clapp now has microprocessors in his knees. Going down stairs without holding on is something he couldn't do with old technology.

"I can walk down stairs. You can see I can trust my knee to be there for me," said Clapp.

There's also the Hover-It Lounger, which leaves you floating on air.

"It's truly zero gravity. ... It uses the power of opposing magnets to lift the lounger above its base," said Keith Dixon, inventor of the Hover-it Lounger.

The magnet-powered lounger sells for $11,300.

Other noteworthy inventions: a robotic slithering snake that someday will help locate victims in collapsed buildings or mines; and a remote-controlled sheep that chews your grass off. It does not provide fertilizer.