10 YEARS AGO — 2001
Hijinx beneath the sea: Got a spare $20 mil? If so, you might consider springing for a Seattle 1000 personal luxury submarine, designed and engineered by U. S. Submarines Inc., Ft. Lauderdale. You and 10 friends can cruise the high seas or dive to 1,000 ft, and stay submerged for days at a time in five-star accommodations. The passenger cabin stays at surface pressure so occupants won’t get sick. Oxygen stored in high-pressure bottles outside the pressure hull keeps cabin air fresh. Carbon dioxide lost during breathing gets scrubbed out of the air by a special granular chemical. The Seattle 1000 carries enough oxygen to stay submerged for over three weeks. Six-foot acrylic viewports and external lights let occupants see outside while pushbutton fish feeders attract ocean dwellers of all kinds.

30 YEARS AGO — 1981
Wristwatch computer monitors exerciser’s pulse: The Genesis Exercise Computer, from Biometrics Inc., Minneapolis, provides exercisers with a precise method of determining the most-efficient exercise regime. The device lets them establish and maintain a “training zone” and compute the effectiveness of individual exercises. When programmed with predetermined upper and lower pulse rates, the computer helps an exerciser maintain the rate at which exercise is most effective by sounding a buzzer when pulse rate exceeds or drops below set limits. The computer also calculates the rate of recovery following workouts and acts as a yardstick for determining conditioning improvements.

50 YEARS AGO — 1961
Personal boating without a hitch (or car, trailer, ramp, or wet feet) is the tantalizing prospect offered by the Heli-Bout, a “prophetic boat design” by Brooks Stevens for Evinrude Motors. The idea is to drive a helicopter rotor with a 75-hp outboard motor through flexible shafting and reduction gears, providing a craft that will go directly from the back yard to the water. The Heli-Bout has a 12-ft hull and is 16-ft overall with stabilizer fins. Its two-place cockpit is instrumented like that of a helicopter.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.