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CNN.com users like the idea of Katie Williams' smart goggles.

SPARK

ON CNNI TV

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Spark

(CNN) -- Spark wants to hear from you. Are you passionate about technology? What topics do you want to learn more about? What sort of technology advances would make your life better?

Send your comments and ideas to spark@cnn.com. Here are some of your e-mails.

Walk tall

More importantly than monitoring lost cell phones, these sensors (Full story) that measure your stride and lock a walking style to the owner to identify theft, we should put these in guns. Amy Greene

Super charging

I think it would be possible to place a big solar panel in orbit in space so that it can revolve round the Earth like a satellite -- then we will have negative charge accumulated and as the Earth is positively charged. Tushar S. Bhatt, Germany

Perfect marriage

I am really impressed with chef Ferran Adria (Full story). As a food scientist who needs to work closely with the chefs in my company, we have always have our fair share of conflicts -- their culinary beliefs are different from my scientific teachings. After watching the program, I have now come to believe a perfect marriage between culinary and food science is not impossible. I shared what I saw with other fellow scientists, and they are all very excited. Lilian Tan, Singapore

Alternative fuel

Spark recently visited Germany but you should have mentioned Brazil -- here, we have 30 years of experience with alcohol-powered cars. If you want to present the future, also go 30 years back into Brazil's alcohol-car history! Billy T. Brazil

In your discussion of the "green" revolution with cars you did not speak about the decade-plus use of flex-fuel cars in South America. Why does it seem like we're "almost there" when many of these technologies have been mass produced and field tested? Ivan Williamson

Electric cars, which I have been driving for seven years, are convenient and ideal for commuting, cheap to operate, although not yet to buy, and non-polluting when charged by a photovoltaic system or very low polluting, even from coal generated power, compared to the environmental impact of extracting, refining, and transporting petroleum fuels. Norm Rhett

New kind of energy

I have recently invented a Fluid Gravity Pump. It is hydraulic-pneumatic device containing no mechanical parts (except switches) that can make liquid flow continuous upwards using power of initially compressed air and gravity. It can work using same liquid from reservoir all over again or using any water/liquid source in a same way! Borisa Antonijevic, Topola, Serbia & Montenegro

Driving safe

I like the idea of the clever clothes pegs, (Full story) and it gave me another idea regarding cars that detect when the driver is inebriated. Make an alcohol-detecting car key, that won't let itself be inserted until the driver's alcohol limit is normal. Certainly the driver could ask a friend to start the car for him, but it would be less expensive than asking car builders to build in an automatic ignition interrupter based on alcohol readings, don't you think? Wayne Lonsdale, Ottawa, Canada

Helping hand

It's great to see CNN highlighting new technology and inventions. We hope it will encourage more innovation and "Spark" an interest in the subject. Please also remember there are thousands of people around the world that have great ideas and inventions and aren't getting the help they need in getting their inventions to market. Our own Web site has links to more than 40 clubs around the world and we also work with other inventors clubs in the UK to help each other out as well as people in the invention community around the world. You can read more hereexternal link. Mr D. Braganza East London Inventors Club London, England

Cool idea

Why not design a fridge with a glass inner door that would remain closed while one browses the fridges contents? When a selection is made, the inner transparent door is then opened and the food is removed. The cold air within the fridge unit would not spill out every time the main door is opened. The fridge would last longer. Electricity consumption would drop. The electric bill would be less. I could stand in front of the open fridge longer. Laurence Smith Canada

Powerful stuff

I want to share a simple idea I have for electrical power generation, which revolves around using an unconventional power source to generate electricity at a low cost. Normally, alternative power sources are more expensive that conventional ones. My idea is to have a "tethered balloon" or "blimp" to harness strong winds at high altitudes (higher then that of wind mills) in order to drive air turbines, which generate electricity. A small turbine generating, say 500 watts, can easily take care of a single household and thus making power bills lower. In order to act as a wind turbine and generator, windmills need a mast but a tethered balloon does not need one. The latter can also be easily brought down for maintenance during storms. The blimps could be filled with hydrogen to keep the cost low. Even though hydrogen is hazardous, it would be out of the way. If implemented, such systems would be a boon for third world countries with erratic power supplies. I am working on building a small model if and when time and resources permits. It could become a very important non-polluting source of affordable power. Abhay L.Kharade, Mumbai, India

Offshore activity

It would be interesting if Spark dedicated an episode to offshore software development. Increasingly, U.S. companies are delegating part of their work to companies in other countries. What actually happens is that the "kernel" of the company is located in U.S., while there may be some minor development centers in countries like Brazil, Russia, China and particularly India. Hence, the goal of the episode I'm describing would be showing what is being done outside the U.S., and how the American headquarters interact with these distant workforces to continue delivering high quality software. Carlos Fontoura, Brazil

Seeing things under water

Spark has received several e-mails about the "smart goggles" story featured on our Web site in June 2005. Here are some comments from CNN.com users. Full story

If only this were on the market seven years ago, it would have helped me so much in my club and high school swim teams. I think I would probably be an improved swimmer if I could constantly see my time. I know I would push myself just that much more to get a better time. Great idea. I hope it hits the market soon. Caitlin Cash

I am a swimmer and I really think these goggles are a great idea. I know from experience that when lap times are important to a swimmer, stopping and expecting to get an exact split. If they became cost-effective I would definitely buy one. I once had the idea for using mirrors in goggles to help backstrokers avoid hitting walls while swimming on their backs, but never perfected it. Jake Hercules

Excellent story. If cost becomes affordable there will be a significant market for such a device for competitive swimmers, but for now, there is undoubtedly demand for amateur swimmers for their enjoyment. Rozanna Miller

Finally, a consumer-focused real-world application for head-up displays in glasses -- and it looks good too. The idea is basic at the moment, but imagine the possibilities. How about a pair of glasses replacing your car dashboard? Add some of Bill Gates' "Spot Technology" or a touch of Bluetooth and who knows where it could go. A display for your MP3 player, mobile phone, wristwatch or news ticker, and I'm sure with a bit more lateral thinking, it won't be long before we could remove the unit around the back and link it up remotely to one in our pocket or imbedded in our smart cell phone. Of course, they would have to be waterproof if used for the application for which these goggles were designed. Matt Jones, Yeovil, United Kingdom

Katie Williams' idea has a lot of practical uses, and not just for swimming. If she could market this to Nike, for example, I see this product being used in the next Olympic games during marathons. If she finds a way to create the same technology used in her swimming goggles and applies it to ordinary sunglasses, runners would be able to display times and possibly heart rates, without having to look down. Thank you for the article. Alex Cobb

Please send any information about when this product might be available. My son is an avid competitive swimmer and thinks this would be a great birthday gift. Thanks. Vytenis, Ontario, Canada
CNN replies: Unfortunately, Katie Williams' goggles are not yet for sale. She designed them as part of her undergraduate design degree and are only at prototype stage. They may be available in future if she finds a commercial partner.

Asleep at the wheel?

Regarding your story about the car that runs on compressed air (Full story), you failed to mention that you still have to plug this car in to charge the batteries, and that pneumatic engines or motors have been around for years. Using the terms "Hybrid" and "Powered" is deceptive. They are apparently referring to two sources of motive power, the electric motor and compressed air. While leaving out any mention of the source of electricity needed to charge the batteries, which compress the air, and drive the electric motor. The generation of this electricity still requires fuel, and produces pollution. "Hybrids" today generally mean using a fuel cell or gas-powered motor to produce electricity for the battery, meaning that you don't have to plug-in to an outside source of electricity to charge.
Ralph Gallardo, California, U.S.

Wired for action

The idea of wiring dogs with high-tech surveillance devices (Full story) is acceptable, provided they are not used as a convenient substitute for work that could be better performed by robots. Otherwise, the thought of placing the lives of dogs in danger is tantamount to animal cruelty.
Angelo Pinheiro, Halifax, Canada

Shark bait

Ever been in an airplane, flying over the ocean and thought that if it crashed and you survived, what would be your chances of being eaten by sharks? I was wondering if this anti-shark system (Full story) could also be installed into transatlantic airlines. It sure beats being eaten by sharks!
Andy Sinclair, London, England

Animal welfare?

While a phone for a dog (Full story) may seem like a good idea, it may cause unnecessary anguish to the poor dog. When it hears its master's disembodied voice coming from the collar-speaker, the dog will look around for him or her. When it can neither see nor smell the person, it will become extremely confused. We do not understand everything about a dog's psychology, or how its mind works. While it may be safe to assume that a dog feels lonely when separated from its owner, it would be selfish on our part to try and assuage our guilt without knowing what impact such an act would have on the dog's mind.
Jay Chandran, Michigan, U.S.

Flawed idea

I can sum up the very idea of incorporating technology into home firearms (Full story) in a single word: stupid.
Picture this: You wake at night to find you have an intruder in your home. You reach into your dresser drawer to draw your trusty revolver you keep for home protection, and point it at the intruder, demanding they surrender. They look at you menacingly and continue to advance towards you, threatening you with a jagged knife. You pull the trigger in self defense, but instead of a thundering report, you see of feel nothing, because the electronic trigger lock on your gun has no power, its batteries have run dry.
While I keep my own guns triple locked in cases, and cannot fathom unlocking them in time to use for any type of home defense, I know that when I pick them up, they will at least work correctly. Instead of muddying the waters more, let's keep it simple. Start controlling the gun users, not the guns. After all, you can't put a sensor on a baseball bat to keep me from killing someone with that. And that's all a gun is, another piece of sporting equipment that is completely safe when used as it's meant to be.
Ian Robb Baumel

Fair play

As an avid sports fan, I have ballyhooed the judgment of several referees, but that's all a part of the game. (Full story) Human error on both the part of the players and the refs is what the game is all about. I disagree with the use of technology to eliminate such errors as it will spoil the fun and frustration that is football. Ryon Grant, USS Vincennes Yokosuka, Japan

Virtual fairytale

I have written a children's story titled, "The Wild Virtual Enchanted Garden," about a little girl and her mother. The story takes place both in the real world and the virtual world. The virtual world is also a sort of real world for both of them because this is where their business is based and where the family income comes from. Read more about the story hereexternal link. Koty Lapid

CNN reserves the right to abridge e-mails. Not all e-mails can be published.

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