Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Better than Ginger: The Windhexe

Some of you might recall back in early 2001 when word spread that inventor Dean Kamen was preparing to reveal his latest invention. Code named "Ginger", it was said to be beyond revolutionary and had attracted some very rich investors who trumpeted that it would change the world as we know it.

Well, such pronouncements got a lot of people very curious, including myself. Among the theories being suggested was anti gravity devices, water engines or perhaps even cold fusion. When it was finally revealed, the worldwide sigh of disappointment was deafening.

The invention was, of course, the Segway scooter. For those of you who don't know about it, it is a one person scooter that is perfectly balanced and can be steered through very slight body movements. On the whole, it is indeed an impressive invention, but it didn't deserve the hype that preceded it.

Which brings me to a new series on Acrentropy: "Better than Ginger". With these posts I'll be highlighting some very cool developments in Science and Technology. I'm starting with the Windhexe, which I first heard about almost a year ago. It's nickname, "Tornado in a can", is just that: a machine that produces an artificial whirlwind. The results of this is that farmers can put in the bones of cattle, chickens or other animal byproducts in the top of the machine and they emerge out the bottom as dust. Pretty cool.

And though the company continues to pursue the farm angle when talking about it's function, they state as an aside that the Windhexe can do this to pretty much anything. With such an invention, we can very possibly see the end of landfills in our lifetime.

Very cool, and much better than Ginger.

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