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Wired's NextFest

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flying car

While everyone might be concentrating on E3 right now, up in San Francisco, Wired Magazine's first NextFest opened its doors yesterday morning. Though these two conventions are on conflicting weekends, they really don't share as much clientelle as one might think — the seeming-conflict seems more like a calculated marketing bid to aim for a more general audience and excluding the regular tech-convetion goers. NextFest highlights prototypes of science-fiction style visions of the future, is supposed to draw between 10,000 to 20,000 people, and is sponsored by big players like GE, GM, HP, Motorolla, T-Mobile, the Science Channel, Yahoo, and (the source of this writeup) the San Francisco Chronicle. Some tired goods the Chronicle features is the Moller Skycar, a driving and flying car, the kind which has been hyped every year and in every futuristic movie ever made. Then there's the "invisible cloak" which has been written about extensively for a couple years, made by University of Tokyo's Tachi Lab, and definitely does not grant the wearer invisibilty but does make a kindof cool art piece. Other less flashy but more worthwhile prototypes are HP Labs' "translating camera" which travelers can use to translate street signs by way of a digital camera, a handheld computer and some translating-software. And GE Medical Systems surgeon-aiding technology enabling patient-data-access mid-operation via the surgeons's hand signals and voice commands (if surgeons touch anything during operation they have to rewash and resterilize their hands — or at least they're supposed to). This is the first time Wired has organized this event and if all goes well, and they didn't miss the E3 crowd too much, then it'll be NextFest New York 2005.          

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