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Entertainment news for the week of June 16, 2000

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INSPECTING GADGETS
If Tom Cruise as kung-fu master in Mission: Impossible 2 wasn’t hard enough to believe, what about those snazzy gadgets? EW asked experts from high-tech design firm IDEO and MIT’s Media Lab to accept this mission: Evaluate the plausibility of the film’s doodads.

Voice simulation strips worn on Cruise’s throat
DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE? Theoretically possible. IDEO’s Rickson Sun notes that similar technology — electric charges that stimulate muscles — is now used on quadriplegics’ limbs. So when can we find one for Fran Drescher?
YEARS TO REALITY 10

Sunglasses doubling as video screens, displaying the mission
Impossible, says MIT. While clumsy headsets with LCD screens currently exist, lenses of normal shades are too close to the eye to project clearly.
YEARS TO REALITY Infinite

Camera that beams racetrack images to Ving Rhames’ van
Though digital cameras at your local Circuit City can’t transmit data wirelessly, MIT’s Wesley Chan says there will soon be prototypes that can. Maybe Blair Witch III can skip theaters entirely.
YEARS TO REALITY Less than one

The tiny global positioning system chip in Thandie Newton’s ankle (used to track her)
With current technology, that chip would have to be about the size of a refrigerator. The problem? You’d need a massive battery to beam Newton’s position to a satellite, says MIT’s Wendy Ju.
YEARS TO REALITY 25, at least

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