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Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a fabric that doubles as a spare outlet. When used to line your shirt — or even your pillowcase or office chair — it converts subtle differences in temperature across the span of the clothing (say, from your cuff to your armpit) into electricity. And because the different parts of your shirt can vary by about 10 degrees, you could power up your MP3 player just by sitting still. According to the fabric’s creator, David Carroll, a cellphone case lined with the material could boost the phone’s battery charge by 10 to 15 percent over eight hours, using the heat absorbed from your pants pocket. Richard Morgan
When you aim the SpeechJammer at someone, it records that person’s voice and plays it back to him with a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This seems to gum up the brain’s cognitive processes — a phenomenon known as delayed auditory feedback — and can painlessly render the person unable to speak. Kazutaka Kurihara, one of the SpeechJammer’s creators, sees it as a tool to prevent loudmouths from overtaking meetings and public forums, and he’d like to miniaturize his invention so that it can be built into cellphones. “It’s different from conventional weapons such as samurai swords,” Kurihara says. “We hope it will build a more peaceful world.” Catherine Rampell
Researchers at Imperial College London are closing in on a formula for a new kind of booze — synthetic alcohol, it’s called — that would forever eliminate the next morning’s headache (not to mention other problems associated with drinking). The team, led by David Nutt, a psychiatrist and former British drug czar, has identified six compounds similar to benzodiazepines — a broad class of psychoactive drugs — that won’t get you rip-roaring drunk but will definitely provide a buzz. According to Nutt, the alcohol substitute would be a flavorless additive that you could put in a nonalcoholic drink. And when you want to sober up, all you’d have to do is pop a pill. Clay Risen
This 15-minute shampoo treatment begins when you lean your head back into a machine that looks like a sink at the salon. First it maps your scalp, then it shoots streams of warm water and foam shampoo from its 28 nozzles before 24 silicone “fingers” work up a lather. One conditioning mist, scalp massage and light blow-dry later, you’re done.edit on 4-6-2012 by Bixxi3 because: (no reason given)