Joseph Carnevale, a student at North Carolina State University, made a 10-foot, roadside monster using orange-and-white, safety barrels. The smiling monster leaned toward traffic, right arm extended with thumb out, as if hitchhiking. After Carnevale was arrested and charged with 2 misdemeanors, hundreds of people in Raleigh wrote to the city, saying they liked the sculpture and wanted Carnevale’s charges dropped. The company that owned the $120-barrels didn’t press charges, wanting to use the monster for advertising. Unfortunately, because Carnevale was already on probation, he faces 6 months in jail. By stealing the safety barrels, Carnevale stole the show.
Georgie Davis, a British fashion student, designed a dress with mobile-phone maker Sony Ericsson as part of a school project. The project was to incorporate modern technology into today’s fashion. The result was a dress that lights up when the wearer’s mobile phone rings. Actually, it’s the translucent, white scales that decorate the right shoulder of the dress that light up. They also move. The knee-length, sleeveless, white dress is also designed to be connected to the wearer’s phone via Bluetooth wireless technology so the wearer can hear it ring too – making the dress quite a little number.
Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg unveiled the “Solar Impulse”, a prototype solar-powered plane they plan to fly around the world in 2012 after 2 years of test flights for the $98-million project. With the wingspan of a Boeing 747 and weighing less than a small car, the plane will be flown day and night using approximately 12,000 solar cells, rechargeable lithium batteries and 4 electric motors. Flying at about 44 mph, the flight will be made in 5 stages, with airtime lasting up to 5 days per stage. Because solar panels are necessary for day flying and charging batteries for night flying, the need for sunlight is a “plane” fact.
John Joseph Houghtaling, who died in 2009, was also an inventor. In 1958 in his New Jersey garage he invented the coin-operated Magic Fingers machine, which was a feature in motel beds in the 1960’s. For 25 cents the guests got 15 minutes of relaxing vibrations. Although Magic Fingers made millions, Houghtaling continued inventing. In the mid 1970’s he invented a machine that reads magnetic strips on plastic cards. He also expanded his coin-operated business with a scale that gives customers their weight and a lotto number. Houghtaling, however, was a self-made winner.