Here is some random stuff I have stumbled across in the past week, which I was hitherto unaware of, and which may or may not make it into a future work of near-future fiction. Can you think of a short story plot that uses any three of these four things?
(Note: when playing "think up a story around these objects" extra credit is awarded for characterisation and transparency, i.e. for believable human beings interacting plausibly with these gizmos in a manner that doesn't strain credulity within the reference frame of the narrative.)
a) The Helikopter-Streighquartett by Karlheinz Stockhausen; to be performed by a string quartet, each member of which is flying in a different helicopter.
A performance requires: four helicopters, each equipped with a pilot and sound technician, television transmitter and 3-channel sound transmitter, and an auditorium with four columns of televisions and loudspeakers, a sound technician with mixing desk, and a moderator (optional), as well as the members of the string quartet. The piece focuses on the simple idea of a string quartet, with the rotor blades acting as a second instrument, with microphones placed so the helicopters may blend with the instruments themselves, whilst the instruments remain louder than the blades.Yes, this composition has in fact been performed and there's a free podcast of part of it available via iTunes.
b) The HK P11 underwater pistol. What it says on the label: a pistol, for shooting underwater. It looks like a modern version of the old pepper-box revolver, minus the revolver side of things — the barrels have to be reloaded back at the factory. Fires special dart-like bullets; maximum effective range underwater is around 15 metres.
c) Elastration. (Link is Not Safe For Squeamish Males.)
d) An "internet of things" camera — more succinctly, a tiny Arduino board with a compact camera and an Eye-fi card (so that any images saved to the card get uploaded via wifi to ... well, wherever you configured it to send them).