What Will They Think of Next?

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WASHING WATER
INVENTOR: SURBEC-ART ENVIRONMENTAL
Surfactant Enhanced Subsurface Remediation sounds a tad complicated. It's basically just cleaning dirty water. SESR is a process that begins when surfactants, nontoxic elements used in soap, are pumped into a groundwater supply contaminated with oil. They effectively wash the aquifer clean and are then recovered and reused.

BARK, BUT NO BITE
INVENTOR: ROBERT FAIRALL
Dogs are great theft deterrents; they also tend to smell bad and demand Richard Simmons levels of affection. The Barking Bone aims to scare away the bad guys while still keeping canine-hating homeowners sane. Fairall implanted a motion sensor inside a giant, apparently gnawed, dog bone made of solid resin. When the sensor is tripped, a sound chip emits a low growl followed by a torrent of ferocious barking.

INVENTION: FLUIDSENSE
INVENTOR: JEFFREY CARLISLE
The IV-infusion pump was revolutionary when it arrived in the early 1970s, but it was a bulky, even dangerously inexact contraption. FluidSense is the first major improvement--and it is major. Palm size, battery operated and weighing 1 1/2 lbs., FluidSense is easily portable and accurate to the microliter. But the real advance is that it knows what fluids it is pumping and can read a patient's dosage and allergy information, as entered into its tiny computer. The data can't be changed without a doctor's or nurse's electronic ID.

INVENTION: SUNCATCHER
INVENTOR: MONODRAUGHT
Anyone who knows the pain of a windowless office salivates at the prospect of natural light. SunCatcher, a combination wind tower and sun pipe, traps exterior light from a building's roof and sends it down an electrolytically enhanced, anodized aluminum tube, creating yellow-white daylight equal to six 100-watt bulbs. The SunCatcher's wind-tower element has louvers to move fresh air into a building--and stale air out. A computerized sensor monitors and moderates heat and air quality. SunCatcher is currently installed in schools and senior-citizen homes in the Britain.

INVENTION: AERIAL REFORESTATION
INVENTOR: MOSHE ALAMARO
Scientists know that the pace of global warming could be slowed by reforestation, but tree planting is a remarkably slow and expensive process that requires individual attention to each seed. Alamaro, a graduate student at M.I.T., invented a method of aerial reforestation in which one-year-old tree saplings--packed in biodegradable, aerodynamic pouches containing the requisite moisture and nutrients--can be dropped from a small plane at the astonishing rate of 800,000 a day. Not one to think small, Alamaro has his eyes on turning the Sinai Desert and the Scottish Highlands into thick, carbon-sucking forests.

INVENTION: PRS 400 RADIATION THERAPY
INVENTOR: PHOTOELECTRON CORP.
No one knows when a cure for cancer will be found, but in the meantime treatments are getting progressively less invasive and more focused. One such is the PRS 400, a radiation therapy designed to spare as much healthy tissue as possible. After a tumor is removed, the device is placed in the cavity or tumor bed to concentrate radiation on the affected tissue. Researchers have had success inserting the device directly into the tumor with a needlelike probe. Best of all, patients treated with the PRS 400 do not require additional radiation or chemotherapy, sparing them the associated side effects. This technology is currently being used for a range of cancers--brain, spine, skin, colorectal, breast and vaginal--at medical institutions in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The PRS 400's developers at Photoelectron Corp. envision using the device to treat age-related macular degeneration and prevent the reclogging of arteries following angioplasty.

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