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Technology

Glib Globe

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Globes afford a god's-eye view of the world, its oceans, and exotic lands. But until this year they never talked. Now, with the touch of a special pen, the Atlasphere tells you the name of the country you're pointing to, its population, rainfall, and other statistics. It even plays slightly tinny versions of ethnic music and national anthems. You can spell out a country's name on a keypad on the Indian Ocean, and the globe will tell you where to find it. Other features instantly calculate time differences, distances, and flight times between any two points. How does all this happen? Four metal contacts in each hemisphere of the globe send radio signals that the pen picks up and uses to triangulate its position. The pen relays the coordinates to a computer in the base, which determines the pen's location. The Atlasphere comes loaded with a variety of games to test your knowledge of geography.

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