braces. NovaCare Inc.'s Sabolich Research Center in Oklahoma has developed two new technologies that help amputees feel hot, cold and pressure through their artificial limbs.

For example, a mother who has lost both arms can check water temperature before bathing her child. As she dips the artificial hand into the water, sensors in the hand deliver an electrical signal to her upper arm, where it is felt as warm, cold or hot.

Pressure sensors deliver vibrations to the undamaged portion of the upper limb, allowing those with electrically operated hands to sense how hard they are grasping an object. The faster the vibration, the tighter the grip. Patients easily learn to interpret the signals, says the company. This feature is also useful in the lower extremities, where amputees can sense toe and heel pressure and thus balance themselves.

The technology is in beta testing, so it is not yet available to the general public.

For additional information, contact NovaCare Sabolich, 4301 North Classen, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. Call Marge Pittenridge at 800/522-4428.


Follow the Light Rope (JANUARY)

Finding the way out of a burning, smoke-filled building is easier with the LiteLine 360; a rope containing a series of small lamps.

FlexLite's plastic sheathing is water resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 450 F. It costs $1,200 for 100 feet.

For additional information, contact FlexLite Inc., 102 Fernwood Ave., Edison, NJ 08837. Call 800/932-9899.


Dolphins Use Touchscreen Kiosks (JUNE)

Dolphins at Sea Life Park in Hawaii are using an underwater touchscreen -- developed by Carroll Touch -- to interact with computers, giving researchers a firsthand opportunity to study these intelligent mammals.

The system includes an infrared beam grid mounted on a tank window and a monitor screen that faces the dolphins through the window. Infrared beams projected through the tank window are directed parallel to the window by four 45-degree mirrors. When a dolphin's snout interrupts the infrared beams, the touch is detected by the infrared beam grid and relayed to a Macintosh computer.

Carroll Touch has a special Web page devoted to the dolphin touchscreen.

For additional information, contact GTT Communications Inc., 5524 Bee Cave Road, Building L-2, Austin, TX 78746. Call Jean Gardner at 512/347-1010.


Who's Driving This Thing, Anyway? (SEPTEMBER)

In an effort to reduce traffic congestion around and between terminal areas, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is using fully automated trains to transport an average of 15,000 passengers per day.

The system, developed by MATRA Transit, uses a fully-automated computer system to regulate train speed, stations, stops, doors and traffic. Trains are in continuous contact with a control station -- sending and receiving digital data, video and audio.

The 3.5-mile track carries 13 vehicles -- operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- between three terminals.

MATRA is also automating subway systems in France and Taiwan.

For additional information, contact MATRA, 25 E. Spring Valley Ave., Maywood, NJ 07607. Call John Marino at 201/843-6687.


"Black Box" for Cars (MARCH)

After every airplane crash, investigators search for a "black box" recording instrument to help determine the cause of the disaster. Now, the Drive Right 130AL serves a similar function for automobiles.

The system monitors and records how a car is driven by keeping track of start and end time, distance traveled, maximum speed, average speed, time and date.

Limits can also be set for speed, and the equipment will sound an alarm whenever the limit is exceeded.

The system is protected by a password that prevents unauthorized changes to data or limits. Data is downloaded to an IBM-compatible computer and can create reports and graphs as well as separate databases for each vehicle or driver. The DriveRight 130AL, with