The Babble -- which hits stores this summer -- is said to mask conversations without distracting the user. Masking office conversations isn't just for goof-offs. The manufacturer says managers will be using it to guard proprietary information. If you can't understand half the things your boss says anyway, he may already be using one.
4. When Mommy Works Late: Remote Hugging
For any parent, the worst part about pulling an all-nighter is that you can't tuck your kid into bed. But soon, you may be able to reach out and really touch someone long distance -- without picking up the phone -- and that special someone can hug you back.
Robotics experts at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University have unveiled "The Hug," a pillow that uses sensing devices and wireless technology to send an electronic embrace to someone you love.
To send a hug, your kid would have a special stuffed animal equipped with a microphone. The tyke would say, "mommy" or "daddy" and would squeeze it. A signal would go out to that parent, who has brought the pillow to work, sending out the electronic equivalent of a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Thermal fibers around the pillow radiate at different temperatures, so that long, tight scared-of-the-monsters-under-the-bed hugs will be different that quick goodnights. If mommy or daddy isn't online, the pillow stores these messages of love for whenever work time ends. The pillows can both give and receive hugs, and can distinguish between the hugs of different children -- or grandchildren.
You can call your kid and you can both hold your pillows as you read a bedtime story over the phone, if you ever have time. There's no timeframe yet for when "The Hug," will hit stores, but several designers are working on products akin to "Hug Evening Apparel" for long-distance relationships, the details of which, I'll have to leave to your imagination.
5. Scanning for Corporate Fallout
If you're fed up with the worst offenders in corporate America, and swear never again to buy any product from an offending company -- or companies that do business with that company -- your wish may soon be granted.
A graduate student at MIT has invented a "Corporate Fallout Detector" -- a handheld scanner that you can run over any product's bar code to reveal the manufacturer's history of pollution or ethics violations. The device, which is still in development, sounds a noise that corresponds to the severity of the infractions.
One can only imagine that the Corporate Fallout Detector will be featured in different models, so that Democrats and Republicans can respectively stay away from companies they loathe.
Perhaps later models will come with personal settings, so that you'll never have to buy anything ever again that's somehow connected to that no-good ingrate of a former boss who worked you to the bone and left you with nothing but a vengeful scanner.
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.