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Stalker balloon, fragrant PCs aired at design contest

From cool hybrid computers to digital flower vases, entrants to the Fujitsu Design Awards 2011 contest come up with all sorts of intriguing ideas to tickle our futuristic fantasies.

Imagine, if you will, a big floating camera-enabled balloon that follows you around on vacation, recording your hijinks and beaming them to family and friends back home using cloud-computing technology.

Shohei Nakamura, MoonHwan Lee, and YoungWook Jung imagined just such an odd contraption--and it beat out thousands of other entries to win a judge's special award in the Fujitsu Design Award 2011 competition co-sponsored by Designboom.

Posting vacation photos on Facebook, of course, would probably be a much easier way to keep the posse updated on your travels, but the Total Recall Agent, as the balloon is dubbed, is certainly a novel way of going about things. And that's precisely the point of the contest--soliciting innovative creations that may or may not make their way into production.

Other prize-winning concepts this year include a smart walking cane with an SOS button and sensors for measuring pulse, blood pressure, and temperature; a laptop that generates electricity when the user presses the touch screen; and several hybrid computing devices that change form factors in an instant. There's even a laptop that gets enhanced functionality, such as a projector and aromatherapy sticks, via pin-like components stuck in the lid. Get a look at a computer getting acupuncture--and other winning designs--in our gallery.