A remote-controlled miniature helicpoter, the Flying-Cam II features a built-in camera - 35 mm, 16 mm, or video. The 30-pound, 7-foot vehicle, used by all the major movie studios, also comes with a crew. The Flying-Cam II has a forward speed of 75 mph and a reverse speed of 28 mph, and it can fly as low as an inch off the ground or as high as 300 feet. You can also equip the Academy Award-winning chopper with a transmitter for live video broadcast (excellent for snooping TV crews).
The Flying-Cam II helicopter: for lease starting at US$5,775 per day. Flying-Cam: +1 (310) 581 9276, fax +1 (310) 581 9278.
Shadow Air Muscles - originally designed to power a 6-foot-tall, two-legged android - are now commercially available for a variety of applications such as prosthetic limbs. A rubber tube covered in tough plastic netting, the Shadow Air Muscle contracts when it is inflated with compressed air. The manufacturer claims that the 9-mm-diameter model "has the strength, speed, and fine stroke of a finger muscle in a human hand."
Shadow Air Muscle introductory kit: £10. Middlesex University Teaching Resources: +(44) 0181 447 0342.
Tired of trying to erase digital drawings with the clumsy on-screen eraser tool? Then check out the Erasing UltraPen from Wacom - it makes drawing and painting on a computer as natural as sketching on paper. You input strokes from its pointed end and use the other for rubbing 'em out. The UltraPen is supported by all the major graphics applications, and it even works with some word-processing programs.
Erasing UltraPen (and tablet) from US$174.99. Wacom Technology Corp: +1 (360) 750 8882.
Printing from your laptop away from home is always a problem (assuming you don't want to go to the lengths of faxing your document to yourself at the hotel!). The 300-dpi PocketJet portable printer is a much slicker way to do business. Measuring 10 inches long, 1 inch tall, and 2 inches deep, the 1-pound PocketJet is one of the smallest full-page portable printers in the world. It uses thermal paper, but not the shiny kind that looks like it belongs in an Eastern European toilet. The PocketJet's 20-pound paper stock looks almost like regular paper; you can even use a highlighter on it.
PocketJet: US$529. Pentax: +1 (303) 460 1600.
Studying astronauts at rest in zero-gravity conditions, scientists at NASA determined that the trunk-to-thigh angle of the human body in its natural stress-free posture is approximately 128 degrees. BodyBilt constructed the K-Series chair to emulate this posture: it has arms designed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome as well as an inflatable backrest for that all-important custom lumbar support. In fact, this seat has so many nifty features, it comes with an owner's manual on floppy disk. Climb in and float away.
K-Series chair: from US$1,215. BodyBilt Seating: +1 (409) 825 1700.
If you're a photographer and work in the digital realm, you probably already have a digital camera, a reflective scanner, and a slide scanner. While the FV-7 Image Capture Device from Fuji won't entirely replace your existing equipment, it does let you preview and digitally capture almost any type of colour picture, from 35-mm slides to live action. Photos, transparencies, along with 3-D objects are easily transferred from the 2-pound device to any computer with video-capture capability.
Fujix FV-7: US$995. Fuji Photofilm USA Inc: +1 (201) 507 2500.
Want to set up a groovy multimedia presentation that people can access in public? Forget about using one of those boxy, ugly computer kiosks of the '70s and '80s. Not only is the free-standing aluminium MIKO Plynth eye-catching, it delivers the playback performance of a Macintosh PowerBook 540c. Using the flat, active-matrix touch screen, users can retrieve multimedia information from internal storage, CD-ROM, a local network - even a 14.4-Kbps modem.
MIKO Plynth: US$9,900. King Products Inc.: +1 (905) 625 1111.
Designed in the West Midlands, but unsurprisingly finding more of a market in Florida than in Birmingham, the Breathing Observation Bubble enables you to check out undersea life-forms from the comfort of the submarine scooter's air-filled dome. Would-be Jacques Cousteaus can communicate with their other bubble-bobbing buddies using the built-in microphone and radio transceiver. The air-tank-equipped bubble goes down to 40 feet, and it comes in hot pink, bright yellow, or white. At only US$10,000, you'd be silly not to buy one in each colour for all of your friends!
Breathing Observation Bubble: Bellaqua Inc.: +1 (407) 478 4200.