According to this post on Engadget, IBM demonstrated:
. . . a Linux-based technology that transforms a wide range of portable devices into powerful ârescue and recoveryâ devices. An MP3 player, a USB thumb drive, or a cellphone can run the software that enables booting a PC from the device, accessing data from the PCâs unbootable drive, accessing backups located on the device, providing an emergency productivity shell â even rebuilding the PCâs drive.
This is a very cool thing to look forward to, especially for people like me that have a laptop without an internal CD-ROM (although my Toshiba can boot from a SD card, it would be nice to have the thumb drive or iPod option -- I've already lost 2 SD cards).