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Crystal Ball

Gel battery

And now a battery that can be embedded into devices such as smart cards, wearable computers and intelligent paper. Japanese company NEC has developed this less-than-a-millimetre, lightweight, flexible and environment-friendly battery which can be recharged in 30 seconds. Dubbed as Organic Radical Battery (ORB), it is based on a gel-like plastic which allows the battery to be extremely pliant. Experts think the ORB has a huge potential when combined with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags ' tiny microchips that hold unique identifier information (to keep track of items in a retail outlet). With such a battery, a credit-card-sized tag can be read from a distance of 300 feet.

Cellular deaf-talk

UKís Royal National Institute for Deaf People has developed a software that enables the deaf to have real-time text conversations using a mobile phone. Its creators say relay services allow a deaf person to make and receive a call via an operator, who turns the voice part of the conversation into text and relays the deaf personís text replies into speech. The arrangement allows character-by-character text communication for an unlimited duration of time.

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