Some of today's most innovative thinking goes into entertainment gadgetry.
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Good, clean fun
Next time your significant other bugs you, pick up the Zero Launcher and blow off some smoke. No, it's not a gun, it's a toy that creates fog rings for fun. From Zero Toys Inc., Concord, Mass. (www.zerotoys.com), it launches 2-to-6-in.-diameter fog rings capable of sailing up to 14 ft. The Launcher comes with three ounces of nontoxic cherry-scented Super Fog-Ring Fluid, the same liquid Hollywood depends on to make special-effects fog.
To blow smoke, an elastic diaphragm pushes a burst of air through a small opening. Airflow slows at the edge of the opening, causing a toroidal vortex to form with the fast-moving air through the center. The fog ring moves forward when a plunger strikes the diaphragm, sending a fast-moving pulse of air, continuously creating a low-pressure area behind it. The low pressure takes a ring of fog along with it.
The specially formulated liquid used to make fog rings quickly disappears at room temperature, leaving no trace. Price: $19.95 for Launcher, $3.95 for fluid.