A couple of months ago I was bellyaching in this column about the lack of any genuinely helpful technological innovations (see  Not that this was a sweeping statement or anything, but I thought this issue I’d put my mouth where my moany is, and suggest a few innovations that will send our captains of industry lunging frantically for their Platinum cards.


Name Buddy’TM  spectacles

Research shows that if you want to influence someone, using their name regularly will get you further than just about any technique – apart from waving a £50 note under their nose or threatening to tell their boss about the cheesecake incident.  The problem is, of course, that none of us can ever remember the name of someone we’ve just been introduced to.  Until now. 


Cunningly concealed within a pair of fashionable horn-rimmed spectacles is a miniature ‘heads up display’ projector - similar to that used in fighter aircraft – which flashes the names of the people in your meeting onto the inside of the lens as you look at them.  A microchip inside the spectacle frame can store up to 15 billion names – more than enough for the average conference.  And rest assured, after a while most people will stop wondering why you keep going cross eyed just before you say hello to them.


Name BuddyTM also features a digital camera, mp3 player, 300-year diary, Firewire port and a thing for getting stones out of horses’ hooves




The ‘virtual phoner’TM

Have you any idea how much money your company spends on needless mobile phone calls?  (Probably not – as you make many of them yourself, you’re careful never to add it up).  Now, anxious executives everywhere can relax, knowing that they can keep in touch with their office when on a trip overseas – without ever having to switch on their phone. 


A state-of-the-art microchip in your office telephone system links simultaneously to the company switchboard and your computer itinerary.  At the point at which your plane is scheduled to take off, the central processor dials your PA and nominated colleagues and plays a recording of your voice saying “I’m just getting on the plane.”  Via an internet link to the airline’s computer, it checks your arrival time and phones colleagues with a message saying “I’ve just landed”.  At five minute intervals it will ring them repeatedly with a series of personalised messages: “We’re just arriving at the terminal”; “I’m just collecting my bags now”; “I’m just getting in the taxi”; “I’m just arriving at the hotel”; and, for added realism, “Er, I think my batteries dying on me – could you print out all my emails and fax them over?”


For a small extra charge, you can have a ‘virtual colleague’ plug-in installed in your mobile – just switch the phone on when you land and, without having to make a call, you can hear a recording of a nominated colleague or PA saying up to 20 selected phrases, including “I’m not sure we can manage without you,” “What number can I reach you on between 2 and 4 am?” and “The client’s expecting a 450-page proposal on his desk in five minutes.”


The virtual phonerTM also features a 50 terahertz mp3 player (enough for 5,000 years continuous play), Space Invaders, digital camera, voice recorder and cocktail cabinet.



Friendly face’TM nap protector


Fed up with colleagues spoiling your well-earned catnap?  Before settling down for a snooze in your swivel chair, simply place this plain white mask over your face.  At the flick of a switch, the built in LCD display comes to life with a photo-realistic animation of your face looking awake and alert.  The integrated vocal processor and audio chip will respond to colleagues’ enquiries with a range of preset phrases including “Sure, leave it with me,”, “No problem,” and “Great idea – love it – go ahead!”.  Not only will you sleep undisturbed, colleagues will find you much more helpful and efficient than when you’re awake –that promotion may come sooner than you realise!


Friendly FaceTM Nap Protector also features a mini DVD player, digital radio, GPS receiver, passenger airbag and interactive Cardiff Restaurant Guide


(c) Phil Lowe, 2004.  All rights reserved