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New Inferences

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You’ll Be Comforted by Your Car
Stanford professor Clifford Nass has shown that mood-sensing GPS machines could improve driving safety. Computer software can detect moods from the pitch and speed of your voice, and could tailor the GPS announcements to soothe anxious drivers or wake up sleepy ones.

Your Clothes Will Prevent You From Sneezing
University of Michigan researchers have developed a shirt that can conduct electricity—it’s covered in carbon nanotubes that, they suggest, could be easily triggered by allergen detectors to glow a warning in response to changes in air quality.

You’ll Open Your Own Blood-Bank Account
Unlike red blood cells, which can be easily shared, white blood cells are difficult to transplant, and they become less effective as you get older. A California start-up called BioBanc now charges $1,500 plus a yearly storage fee to save healthy cells, offering something like an insurance policy against future illness.

You’ll Have Your Very Own Virtue Scanner
For those worried about unwittingly buying sneakers made by a team of 7-year-old Malaysian seamstresses, Berkeley professor Dara O’Rourke has launched GoodGuide.com. Consumers enter a product’s name on their mobile device (there’s already an iPhone app), and the site, currently in beta, replies with health, environmental, and “social” ratings based on GoodGuide’s independent research.

You’ll Go to a Coffee Shop Just to Drink Coffee
Under the theory that coffee shops are places to enjoy coffee (and maybe conversation) rather than freelance work hubs, some cafés are ridding themselves of Wi-Fi. Mike Walter of the West Village’s S’nice did away with his in April, joining two other laptop limiting neighborhood establishments, Grounded Coffee and Mojo Coffee.

You’ll Surf in January
Last summer, the Rip Curl surfing company introduced the H-Bomb—the world’s first battery-powered heated wetsuit. With a price tag of $1,100, it promises to keep you warm in any water for three hours.

You’ll Program Your Shoes
Inventables, LLC, a Chicago-based company that finds new technologies for other companies to use in their products, has identified an LCD technology that requires no power to display a variety of static images. Customers unhappy with the pattern on, say, their sneakers could download a new pattern to their cell phone and transmit it, via Bluetooth, down to their toes.


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