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Election officials plan on text messaging young voters to encourage them to go the polls in British Columbia on May 17. Vancouver-based Mobile Media-rich Urban Shared Experience (MUSE) is behind the “Get your Vote On” initiative. Through SMS (text messaging) and social networking technologies, the group hopes to combat the trend of poor voter turnout by “using age-appropriate media and methods to involve young people in the issues, get them to register as voters and get them into the voting booth.” If the initiative proves successful, it might be used for future elections across Canada.

The computer wore tennis shoes

Adidas recently released what it says is the world’s first intelligent shoe: the adidas_1. Each shoe “senses the cushioning level on every step…(and) adapts itself to provide the right level of cushioning.” The adidas_1 measures distance via sensors to a small magnet at the bottom of the shoe. It takes 1,000 readings a second and is accurate to one-tenth of a millimetre. The microprocessor can do five million calculations per second. It adapts via a motor-driven cable system that spins at 6,000 rpm. Price tag: $350. For more information, visit www.adidas.com/1.

Cell phone page turner

Imagine reading the latest Harry Potter book or any best-seller or classic novel on the tiny screen of your cell phone. Now customers of wireless service provider Bandai Networks Company Ltd. in Tokyo can download full-length novels onto mobile handsets in short instalments — they’re run as Java-based applications. Bandai has more than 150 titles in its cell phone library and lets users search by author, title and genre all through their handsets. In related news, a Beijing company has filmed the first ever television drama made exclusively for cell phone screens. The drama, entitled “Appointment,” is a five-minute love triangle romance set to play out in five episodes.

Vivienne, the virtual girlfriend

Meet Vivienne, a virtual girlfriend that will go out on dates with you, kiss you, accept gifts, and maybe even marry you, all through your cell phone — for US$6 a month plus airtime. This is the latest in mobile games for cell phones from Hong Kong-based Artificial Life Inc., deployed by Singapore Telecom Mobile PTE Ltd. The 3D game lets players visit a virtual disco, listen to music and individually invite Vivienne out with them. Competing players can earn Vivienne’s favour through virtual gifts and understanding her likes and dislikes. If she so chooses, she may invite players to her virtual home. However, Vivienne has a no-sex, no-nuditiy policy when it comes to courting her.

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