Phone of the Future

NetVision Data Phone combines the capabilities of voice, data networks and the Internet. It allows users to make and receive phone calls, enter and submit data, communicate by radio, access server-based applications and even scan a bar code.

It features a 16-line, 12-character LCD, a configurable tool bar layout and buttons, a data rate of 1Mbps and a scan rate of 36 scans per second. It even supports HTML 3.2 and HTTP 1.1.

It weighs 8 ounces and its battery provides 180 minutes of talk time and 15 hours of standby operation.

Additional information is available by contacting Symbol Technologies at 800/722-6234

IT Foam Home

Scientists at the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories have created a foam that neutralizes both chemical and biological agents in minutes. The foam is not harmful to people and could be dispensed on a disaster scene immediately, even before casualties are evacuated.

In laboratory tests at Sandia, the foam destroyed simulants of the most vicious chemical agents and killed a simulant of anthrax -- the toughest biological agent.

The United States has a number of strategies to prevent a chemical or biological attack from occurring in this country, said Greg Thomas, Sandia program manager for chemo-bio nonproliferation. "But if we are attacked, we'll need to have the tools available to respond."

Additional information is available by contacting Sandia National Laboratories or John German at 505/844-5199.

Do They Point Out Virtual Landmarks?

NASA's virtual airport tower provides an accurate approximation of real air-traffic control towers found in America's largest airports such as Chicago's O'Hare, Dallas/Forth Worth and Atlanta's Hartfield.

The tower allows air-traffic controllers to move around as they would in a real tower, adding an even greater feel of realism to the computer-generated images that simulate weather conditions, seasons, time-of-day and the movement of up to 200 aircraft and ground vehicles.

The two-story, 5,130-square-foot facility uses a Silicon Graphics Onyx2 workstation to process 3-D graphics, imaging, and video data in realtime. Using numerous data resources such as high-resolution satellite imagery, digitized photographs and architectural data, the SGI system can portray any airport in the world in a realistic, 360-degree, high-resolution virtual reality through the tower's 12 huge tempered-glass windows.

"By simulating San Francisco's airport, for example, we can determine if changing traffic patterns in arrival and departure corridors under certain weather conditions could increase safety," said Nancy Dorighi, deputy project manager for the virtual airport tower at NASA. "We can also use the simulator's panoramic IMAX-theater-style view of airport terrain to optimize the deployment of emergency vehicles and communications systems."

Additional information is available by contacting SGI.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Boat?

Seair is an ultralight craft that flies like a plane, and with the wings removed, it skims across open water with the maneuverability of an airboat.

It is well suited for emergency and law enforcement applications. It has an 11-foot wingspan and weighs 151 pounds.

It costs $25,995.

Additional information is available by contacting The Seair Flying Boat at 888/FLY-SEAIR.

The Magic Shot

FujiFilm has developed a new digital camera that helps clear up blurry images often associated with the digital devices.

The FujiFilm MX-2900 features a 2.3-million pixel resolution and a 3x optical zoom lens. The MX-2900 allows users to adjust the shutter speeds and select the aperture setting, while the camera's manual mode allows for the examination of settings before the shot is recorded. The photographer can specify the settings for the white balance, exposure compensation, manual exposure, flash brightness, light-metering mode and continuous shooting.

The 3x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 35