Diesel-Powered Artificial Heart Packs Punch

Sept. 7, 2006
DETROIT–In a paper released early Monday researchers from Carnegie-Mellon University and the Ford Motor Company announced successful prototype testing of a promising new artificial heart powered by a diesel-fueled internal combustion engine. “We’re pleased with the new results and are in the process of selecting patients for trial implantation,” notes Leslie Waiste, head of the research team responsible for designing the new heart. “This is quite a breakthrough in both power and durability. This heart is ram tough.”

The heart, nicknamed the “Model H,” consists of a compact 4-cylinder, 4-stroke compression-ignition engine driving a 4-chambered Teflon-coated bellows. The high-power, high-efficiency engine is fed by a close-proximity high-density fuel reservoir, and exhaust is expelled through a set of muffled, micro-articulated stacks designed to emerge discretely from just behind each of the ears. The engine is refueled through a dime-sized nozzle mounted just below the clavicle by means of a handy finger-pump-driven siphon.

“By making use of miniaturized combustion technologies, we’ve overcome the need for bulky external battery packs,” explains Waiste. “The H is the first truly entirely internal artificial heart solution. It also enjoys a significant acceleration and load-bearing advantage over traditional electric solutions. In fact, at idle and under light loads, the H has enough excess horsepower to drive a supplemental AC generator powering an armpit-mounted 110v AC single-plug outlet. Patients will be able to power their own blow-dryers and portable stereos right off of the H.”

Though greeted enthusiastically by the medical community and facing a five-fold over-subscription to planned trials, the Ford heart has been the subject of much criticism in the environmental community. “This ‘heart’ is yet another attempt by the oil giants and their cronies to find a market for petro-products that gets around international emissions controls,” exclaims Frieda Gillenfour, director of the Center for Biolocomotion. “We saw the same thing for years with lawn mowers: small, extremely dirty engines that, for a time, flew below regulatory radar. Now they’re disguising their smog-belchers as medical devices, hooking patients on petroleum for life. This heart is truly evil.”

“It is true that the diesel technology behind the heart is not particularly clean burning,” admits Ford Press Liaison Burt Spunk. “But that was a design trade-off made in favor of the health of patients. The greater power of diesel combustion means that patients will be able to enjoy a completely active lifestyle. And we are looking into alternative fuels, including a tobacco-burning version where the exhaust is repurposed through a hookah pipe fed by the stack behind the ear. Phillip Morris is looking at this with us, and once we can solve the ash-waste problem, maybe with a sort of chest-mounted emptiable tray or something, we’ll be off and running.”

Sources at Ford indicate the company anticipates marketing approval for the heart by early next spring. At launch plans call for the heart to be offered with 0% financing and a 5-year, 50,000 mile power-train warranty. Price and option details are not yet available.

The Caddy That Zips

May 1, 2074
SEATTLE–In a local showroom, officials from Boeing and General Motors today demonstrated a Cadillac concept car equipped with a Quantum Matter Compression Drive based on the same compression technology currently used in Boeing’s commercial aircraft. “We’ve been shrinking passengers and cargo for a while now,” notes Boeing representative Peter Shimp, “Our goal now is to extend compression technologies to other industries. Our work here, with GM, is a fist big step towards that goal.”

Built on Boeing’s proprietary ZipTopia compression platform, the Cadillac prototype, currently known as the “Houdini,” can be compressed up to 70% in both volume and weight. “It’s the ideal car for use in a crowded, urban environment” explains a GM spokesmodel. “You can find adequate parking space almost anywhere. When fully compressed, the Houdini can be easily wheeled about by one person, and conveniently stowed for later use.”

Boeing’s ZipTopia technology enables users to compress physical objects up to 80% in both volume and weight. Exploiting a quantum uncertainty phenomenon known as “superposition,” the ZipTopia device encodes “adjacent, homologous matter units” as a single “unit” of the same type in multiple “superpositions.” Boeing’s Shimp explains: “Imagine you have something very simple, say a thread, one atom thick, made entirely of carbon atoms. There’s a lot of redundancy in an object like that. What ZipTopia does is take that thread, and, ideally, shrink it down to one carbon atom superposited with itself multiple times along a line in the shape of the thread. That’s the basic idea.”

The degree of available compression varies with the complexity of the object, with simple objects made of a single, purified material subject to the greatest compression. For more complex objects, ZipTopia employs industry-standard and FDA approved compression protocols, including HPEG and BPEG for people and other biological objects. To prevent the loss of objects due to excessive compression, the ZipTopia specification employs volumetric micro-sonar to keep objects to a manageable size.

While the initial Houdini prototype uses ZipTopia to facilitate vehicle parking and storage, future models will make use of the technology to improve fuel efficiency. “The Cadillac Houdini is not currently equipped for passenger compression,” explains the GM spokesmodel. “A dash-mounted scanner disables ZipTopia when passengers are present. But, at GM, the environment is a top priority. Future models will enable fuel efficiency through drive-time compression. You’ll be able to enjoy the roomy luxury of a Cadillac and experience the fuel efficiency of a compact or mini.”

In addition to development agreements with GM and Samsonite, Boeing has also recently announced the availability of customized, industrial strength implementations of the technology for the commercial and residential real estate markets. “We’ve already had some serious inquiries from major developers in space-constricted markets like New York, Tokyo, and San Francisco,” notes Shimp. “Developers can really leverage their square footage. A 900 sq. ft. studio apartment can, in many cases, be fit into a 500 sq. ft. space. The same goes for office space. Even storefronts, using a ZipTopia Threshold or Lintel, can easily fit more customers into their existing space. This will be the biggest thing to hit real estate since the door.”

New Free Toilet Paper with Banner Ads

Dec. 13, 2013
CINCINNATI–Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble today announced trial marketing in the U.S. of a new version of its classic Charmin bathroom tissue displaying dynamically generated and updated ads for other Procter & Gamble products. The new ad-enabled Charmin will be free to consumers and distributed through supermarkets and other large retail outlets for Procter & Gamble products. “We’re very excited about the changes in the Charmin line,” explains VP of Bathroom Marketing Barry Oile. “This is an ‘attention economy,’ as they say, and we’re looking for new ways to leverage our brands to generate attention-related revenue.”

The new Charmin is made of an ultra-thin, organic electroluminescent film deposited chemically on both sides of a substrate of traditional cellulose-based tissue. Each perforated section of the tissue functions as an independent 256-color, 480×480 pixel display connected through a continuous, ultra-thin ribbon-wire “channel” to a system-on-a-chip etched on flexible substrate and sandwiched between the layers of the roll’s cardboard “support cylinder.” The central system is equipped with nanotube “ballasts” that orient the roll and enable it to determine which of the tissue screens are facing outward.

“One of the challenges we faced was how to cope with the fact that some consumers are ‘under-rollers’ and some are ‘over-rollers,'” explains Trish Falt, director of the research team responsible for the new Charmin. “The system has to know whether the most out-facing square–the square with optimum ad placement–is the leading-square, as it is with over-rollers, or whether it is a higher or ‘shoulder’ square, as it is with under-rollers. The real trick isn’t getting the display and the tissue to work together, but building a system capable of adapting to the variability of consumer behavior.”

The first generation of the new Charmin will offer advertisements for other Procter & Gamble consumer products tailored to individual users on the basis of data gathered through bluetooth communications with the packaging of other Procter & Gamble products in the vicinity. Informed by a nearby bottle of Tide that it is reaching empty, for example, the Charmin roll will generate a reminder ad.

“For this test phase, we are working with ads only for our existing product lines,” explains Marketing VP Oile. “In the second phase we’ll begin selling ad-space. We’ve already lined-up a number of big names, including Ford, AOL, and the Gap. In the third phase we’ll be looking to our content partners, including Yahoo and AvantGo, to help us increase the stickiness of Charmin through the addition of customized news and contentoids.”

Early results suggest significant public interest in the colorful new tissue, and positive response to the price-point. “People seem to be most impressed by the display quality,” notes Falt, “but, from an engineering perspective, the real challenge was maintaining the softness and absorbency for which Charmin is known.”

Toy Uterus Lets Kids Give Birth

May 19, 2018
EL SEGUNDO, CA–Toy and game giant Mattel Inc. today announced the worldwide availability of Baby.I.Birthed.It, a wearable pouch in which kids can grow a range of Mattel-brand biomechanical dolls and pets. “I.Birthed.It is a spin-off accessory to our popular Barbie.Gives.Birth,” notes Mattel spokesperson Randy Doo. “Now kids can share the experience with Barbie. The pouch gets big, just like Barbie.Gives.Birth’s tummy, and, after nine weeks, Barbie has a little baby to take care of, and so does the child.”

Baby.I.Birthed.It consists of a colorful cotton-poly blend “pouch” or “babypack,” with hypoallergenic shoulder straps that hold it in place against the child’s abdomen. A zippered, vinyl-coated sack inside the pouch contains a soup of non-toxic resins and nano-assemblers responsible for growing the Baby and simulating, through control of the density and viscosity of the resin substrate, the changing effects of pregnancy on gait, posture, and center of gravity. I.Feel.My.Baby, a special patch, sold separately and worn on the child’s skin, delivers time-release, child-safe “simulants” that emulate some of the symptoms popularly associated pregnancy, including “morning sickness” and a “healthy glow” in the cheeks and eyes.

“I.Brithed.It is an educational toy, and we’ve taken great care to provide a fun and accurate experience for the kids,” explains Mattel R&D Director Amy Ollie. “Sure, the babypack comes in bright rainbow colors, and is stain-resistant and machine washable, but we’ve also done a lot of work to make sure that things are as anatomically accurate as possible. I’m particularly proud of what we’ve done with the navel.”

After the gestation period, during which the child is able to feel the growing doll moving and kicking, the inner sack is unzipped to reveal a writhing, cooing doll that imprints immediately upon the child’s voice and simulates most of the moods and functions of a three-month-old baby. When the child is done playing with the Baby, the inner sack can digest and reuse the underlying resins with only moderate material loss. Refill packages (sold separately) permit the toy to be reused indefinitely.

“In our initial release, I.Birthed.It only delivers the Mattel Baby,” notes Ollie. “But it’s really a toy birth platform that eventually will deliver products from across the Mattel line, and from our strategic partners. We’re already in talks with Gund to offer a Gund.Bear.I.Birthed.It refill that will grow one of their interactive bears. Our American Girl brand add-on will be released for the holiday season, and we’re currently market-testing a Hotwheels.I.Birthed.It for the boys that grows a fully-functional Hotwheels car with a miniature, biomechanical driver.”

Demand for Baby.I.Birthed.It is reportedly high, driven in part by promotion of the toy in schools as a key part of the Mattel Interactive Curriculum.

Critics of the company point to its history of promoting gender stereotypes through its products. BarbieWatch Director Gil Heamp: “I.Birthed.It is just another in a long line of attempts by Mattel to commodify and monetize the gender stereotypes that persist in American culture. What message are they sending by integrating a simulated experience of childbirth into their curriculum?”

Baby.I.Birthed.It is currently available for purchase through retail outlets worldwide.