I kid you not, some of the geniuses at Google are working on an elevator to space, as reported by Clare Cain Miller and Nick Bilton for the New York Times:
In a top-secret lab in an undisclosed Bay Area location where robots run free, the future is being imagined.
It’s a place where your refrigerator could be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space.
These are just a few of the dreams being chased at Google X, the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. In interviews, a dozen people discussed the list; some work at the lab or elsewhere at Google, and some have been briefed on the project. But none would speak for attribution because Google is so secretive about the effort that many employees do not even know the lab exists.
Although most of the ideas on the list are in the conceptual stage, nowhere near reality, two people briefed on the project said one product would be released by the end of the year, although they would not say what it was…
Google may turn one of the ideas — the driverless cars that it unleashed on California’s roads last year — into a new business. Unimpressed by the innovative spirit of Detroit automakers, Google now is considering manufacturing them in the United States, said a person briefed on the effort.
Google could sell navigation or information technology for the cars, and theoretically could show location-based ads to passengers as they zoom by local businesses while playing Angry Birds in the driver’s seat.
Robots figure prominently in many of the ideas…
[continues in the New York Times]