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Monthly Archives: July 2006

Akiko Sakaizumi’s “Get your head #2.”

akiko Sakaizumi LED art piece

By David Ponce

Last time we showed you something from BitEditions, it was a nice, if somewhat sedate, wall art piece entitled Jonh Flear’s Fireflies. This time around though, we’ve got something that kicks some serious butt. It’s the “Get your head #2.”, from Akiko Sakaizumi. Why is it cool? Because anything that has the following description in the press release is worth a look or two, that’s why:

Akiko Sakaizumi creates a queasy, video game-inspired narrative, highlighted by a flying chicken body being shot at and impregnated by a phallic cannon, and giving birth to its own head.

What, actually, is it? Well, $3,500 (now on special for $950), can buy you a 14 by 12 inch LED art piece, which displays a rather interesting animation that’s sure to impress even your geekiest of friends.

For a video, come inside. Out here, you get the link love.

[Akiko Sakaizumi LED Art]

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The Cursor Kite

Cursor Kite (Image courtesy WindFire Designs)
By Andrew Liszewski

Who ever said kite flying was boring and uninteresting? Oh right, that was me. Well regardless this cursor kite by Tim Elverston is probably not as nimble or controllable as those stunt kites we’ve all seen on the beach but it sure does make for some interesting photos. While these shots may look like some clever Photoshopin’ it is an actual kite specially engineered with invisible fittings, quad-line control and opposed-bow tensioning to allow the asymmetrical shape of a desktop cursor to actually fly.

The Cursor Kite is apparently the beginning of the WildFire Designs’ ‘OS’ series of kites but does not appear to be available for sale as of yet.

[The Cursor Kite] VIA [Make: Blog]

Fishing Parachute

Fish Parachute (Images courtesy Google Images)By Andrew Liszewski

That thumbnail is probably a bit misleading but I suspect anyone who prefers to spend their free time on the lake with a fishing rod in hand will appreciate this one. It seems fish are somewhat reluctant to the idea of being pulled out of their underwater home so reeling one in can usually be quite a fight.

For some people this is what fishing is all about but others would prefer the process to be a bit easier. A new patent describes a special fishing line fixed with a small container that holds a nylon parachute that can be up to half a meter in diameter. When the fish is hooked and starts tugging on the line the extra tension pulls the two halves of the capsule apart releasing the chute. As the fish tries to swim away it will tire more quickly since it has to fight the extra drag created by the parachute which can also prevent the line from breaking. In theory this can lead to landing dinner or that tasteful fireplace decoration a lot easier.

VIA [New Scientist Invention Blog]

My Apologies

No, we’ve not been abducted, killed, maimed or gored. We’re around, but suddenly incredibly busy, spending our hard earned money on beer and other essentials. We apologize for the lack of updates, but I promise we’ll be back to a more than normal posting schedule coming next week.

Meanwhile, could I interest you in some goodies from our deep archives? How about something gross, like Eye Jewellery? Or something deadly and controversial, like the Wego Kite Tube (check out the comments there)? Or something technologically artsy, like The Wooden Mirror? Or, finally, how about a way to endlessly annoy your co-workers, with The Mind Molester?

Weed Burner

Weed Burner (Image courtesy Amazon)By Andrew Liszewski

I’m all for accomplishing mundane, everyday tasks through the use of fire even if the situation really doesn’t call for it. If simply uprooting an unwanted weed on your carefully landscaped pathway just doesn’t satisfy you then thoroughly incinerating the intruder might bring some real closure.

The Weed Burner is a lightweight propane-fired burner designed for clearing weeds right down to the roots in driveways or walkways and includes a regulator valve for controlling the flame intensity depending on how vengeful you feel. It’s also suggested the burner can be used to melt dangerous patches of ice in the winter but I’m sure our intrepid readers will be able to think of thousands of other uses for the device.

The Weed Burner is currently available from Amazon for $34.95.

[Weed Burner] VIA [Uber-Review]

Shure’s E500PTH Now Shipping In UK

shure e500 pthBy David Ponce

The cream of the crop of in-ear monitors (fancyspeak for headphones, it seems), according to many, come from Shure. And if we go by the asking price of their latest offering, they better darn well be. See, $550 will buy you the E500PTH, headphones so finely crafted, we’ve heard such crazytalk as “[they will] change personal audio the way HDTV changed television” muttered about.

They feature three drivers: two woofers and one tweeter for vibrant highs and very rich lows. The sound isolating design will block out up to 90% of ambient noise, though a sleek feature called Push To Hear (the PTH in the name) will allow you to let said noise in at the push of a button — no need to remove the headphones.

There’s a bunch more “features”, which you can read about if you follow the linkola at the bottom. The E500PTH were announced quite some time ago (in January), though they’re apparently now shipping… in the UK. Our pals in the USA will have to wait till the end of this month.

[Shure’s E500PTH] VIA [Mobilewhack]

LED Shaking Dice Kit

led dice

By David Ponce

We’re not sure just what kind of cred you would be trying to build by purchasing this LED Shaking Dice kit, but we’re down with anything that requires soldering iron assembly to work. The $15 kit comes complete with circuit boards, LEDs and screws, and once assembled, becomes a new kind of dice. Simply shake it, and it will slowly cycle through different combinations, until it settles on a number from 1 to 6.

No one is vetting for how true the random number generator is, so we don’t recommend using this on a game where someone stands to lose a lot of money, or a finger.

[LED Shaking Dice Kit] VIA [SciFi Tech]

Valve’s Portal

By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve spent a good 20 years or so of my life playing video games on nearly every type of computer and gaming system imagineable and as a result these days I definitely lean towards games that can bring something new and innovative to the table. Without a doubt Half-Life 2 and the gravity gun fit that bill and it seems like Valve’s got a few new ideas for the FPS genre in the works as well.

‘Portal’ is a new game that uses a special weapon capable of firing usable portals wherever you need a quick escape. Describing it is difficult but watching the video above makes it all clear why this could make for some brilliant deathmatches. (And yes I know the recent ‘Prey’ uses a similar idea but I hated that game.)

While it was originally rumored this new weapon would appear in the Half-Life 2: Episode 2 package, according to EA ‘Portal’ will actually be bundled as a standalone game set in the Half-Life 2 world.


The Great Wireless North

Rogers & Bell Wireless High-Speed (Image courtesy Bell Canada)
By Andrew Liszewski

The two largest telcos in Canada, Rogers and Bell recently announced the availability of what they’re calling ‘portable high-speed internet.’ Typically high-speed access flows into a home via the phone lines or though cable tv and in both instances requires a seperate modem. The new portable high-speed internet still requires that modem (which is about the size of a thin paperback now) but does away with the need for a phone jack or cable hookup.

Instead, internet access is broadcasted via network architecture similar to that used by mobile phones, so in theory anywhere in Canada you can use your cell phone you can also access the internet. In reality though at launch the service is only available in major cities and the occasional border town but odds are this will slowly expand. Both companies are hoping people will embrace the idea of being able to access the web from their provider of choice anywhere in the country.

The service does cost a bit more than regular high-speed internet does, about $45-60 depending on speed and bandwidth usage plus the cost of the modem, but if you travel a lot and are use to paying for internet access at various hotels this will probably seem like a bargain.

[Rogers Portable High-Speed] or [Bell Portable High-Speed]