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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Rebels Counter With R2-D2 Boombox


By Luke Anderson

The Rebel forces might not have quite the resources of the Galactic Empire, but they can usually get the job done. The other day we saw an Imperial sound system, the AT-AT Boombox. That left me wondering what exactly the fearless Rebels had to counter such a menacing audio output device. The answer? An R2-D2 sound system.

It appears that our favorite little astromech droid was hiding a few more surprises that we didn’t know about. It looks as though he’s actually a Transformer, or at least he has a cousin that’s a boombox. This piece is a part of the Hype Hustle Rip-Off exhibition by Bill McMullen. I haven’t had a radio that big in a very long time, maybe if it had looked like R2 I wouldn’t have gotten rid of it.

[ TheConstantGallery ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Hasbro’s Flying Star Wars Vehicles

Star Wars Flying Vehicles (Images courtesy Kids Tech Review)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve got a soft spot for flying toys, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for these Star Wars flying ships that Hasbro announced at Toy Fair this year. They unfortunately won’t be hitting store shelves until the Fall (for $39.99 each) and at launch they’ll only be available in a Delta Starfighter and Republic Gunship model. They use a dual-rotor design which is supposedly easier to fly, but I’m not exactly sure if they can be steered around a room, or if they just go up and down. Like with most indoor RC craft they charge via the remote control and will give you about 5 minutes of flight time between charges, and they also feature foam bodies and a plastic ring around the rotors reducing the amount of damage they inflict, or sustain, during an inevitable crash.

[ Kids Tech Review – Hasbro Announces Remote Control Flying Star Wars Vehicles ]

Control Street Lights With Your Cell Phone

dial4lightBy Evan Ackerman

Okay, first of all, this is legit, not a hack. And secondly, it only works in Germany. In a few villages. I know, it’s a shame, and I got your hopes up for nothing. The German system, called Dial4Light, is designed to save energy by only turning streetlights on when somebody actually needs them. If you’re out and about at night, all you have to do is dial a number, enter a code for your street, and the lights will come on for 15 minutes. The system is completely free, and cut electricity bills by an impressive 25%.

Interestingly, a BBC video report on the Dial4Light shows that there is apparently a billing system already in place, it’s just not in use. In some ways, billing people individually for turning on streetlights makes sense: if everyone else is sleeping, why should they be footing the bill for your 2am street hockey games?

What I’d like to see would be streetlights that operate on the same basic principle, except using Bluetooth instead of a phone call. All you’d have to do is carry your cell phone with you, and whenever a streetlight detected a Bluetooth signal, it would turn on. That way, you’d have light where you wanted it, when you wanted it, without any waste of electricity or excess light pollution.

VIA [ Crave ]

mLani Wireless FPS Controller For the PS3

mLani PS3 Wireless FPS Controller (Image courtesy ALBOTAS)
By Andrew Liszewski

Not only will this new controller for the PS3 silence your whiny friends who claim they wouldn’t suck so bad at console FPS games if they had a keyboard and mouse instead of a controller, but it also cuts all the wires, possibly making the experience more, dare I say, Wii-like. It’s also apparently programmable to a certain extent, but other details are sketchy at the moment. You’re welcome to try and find some more info on the mLani website, but it’s an outdated flash mess that’s a pain to navigate. P.S. Web developers; we all hate flash now.

[ mLani Wireless FPS Controller ] VIA [ ALBOTAS ]

Hyundai Dolphin Phone Is Dolphoney


By Evan Ackerman

For some weird reason which probably should not be analyzed too deeply, Hyundai has decided to create a cell phone based on a dolphin. For real. See the picture? Yep, it’s a dolphin phone. The side view is the only really interesting bit, otherwise the phone is mostly ho-hum, with a 240×400 touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera, MP3 player, FM tuner, and a Yamaha speaker thrown in. It should cost an unlikely $320 when it’s released in May. Here’s what the actual phone looks like:


Except, you know what? To my dubiously trained eye, this looks a lot more like a whale phone. See for yourself, after the jump.Continue Reading

OhGizmo! Review – Pogo Sketch


By Luke Anderson

Remember late last year when I told you guys about the Pogo Sketch Stylus? It was that cheap stylus that not only worked for the iPhone, but also on Multi-Touch MacBook trackpads. I figured that since I have both a unibody MacBook Pro and an iPhone, I should check it out. The guys over at TenOne were kind enough to send one over for me to check out. I’ve spent some time using it with both devices, so hit the jump for my full review.

Continue Reading

Ditch The Soldering Iron With Wire Glue


By Luke Anderson

I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at soldering. I can usually get the job done, but it never looks pretty, and takes several attempts. Yes, that’s a skill that I should really put some effort into, as it comes in handy when working with electronics. However, it would seem that there is a different solution for the lazy modder, Wire Glue.

There’s not much to tell about this stuff. It’s a paste-like substance that can be used to glue wires together, allowing electricity to flow freely between them. It uses microcarbon technology to pull off this amazing feat. Just $4 gets you a small container of the stuff. Sure, it’s not going to replace soldering in many situations, but it will definitely come in handy.

[ ThinkGeek ] VIA [ RGS ]

The Games We Played – Star Fox (SNES)

Star Fox (SNES) (Images courtesy MobyGames)
By Andrew Liszewski

My appreciation for Star Fox on the Super Nintendo has grown over the years, and I think it’s because the game’s a perfect example of a developer doing more with less. There’s no denying the Super Nintendo was not a 3D gaming system, in fact, Star Fox probably wouldn’t have existed had Nintendo not agreed to the development of the much hyped Super FX 3D accelerator chip. But even with that extra bit of hardware inside the game cart, the graphics and effects seen in Star Fox were pretty crude. The ship design was basic, enemies at times consisted of nothing more than 3D un-textured trapezoids, but nevertheless everything worked, and came together to become a memorable title.

Star Fox (SNES) (Images courtesy MobyGames &

As I recall, Star Fox was technically a rail shooter, which meant that you weren’t flying around a completely open world. But since you had control over your ship’s speed with braking and boosts, you never really felt restricted while navigating your pre-planned course. And while the game was really nothing more than a mindless shooter, the novelty of the 3D combined with great gameplay made it stand out from the crowd. But to be honest, while I have very fond memories of Star Fox, the Fox McCloud puppet on the game box still kind of creeps me out, and even though he was on my side, I would have loved to been able to shoot down that annoying Slippy Toad character.

[ Wikipedia – Star Fox ]

Mathematician Andrew Hicks Knows His Mirrors

Andrew Hicks' Mirrors (Image courtesy NewScientist)
By Andrew Liszewski

NewScientist has a great photo gallery of mirrors created by Andrew Hicks, a mathematician at Drexel University in Philadelphia. But what makes his mirrors special you ask? Well you might have noticed that the mirror pictured above is actually reflecting the text on the side of a book so that it can be read normally, rather than reflecting a reversed image. The mirror was designed with the help of a special computer algorithm and features a uniquely curved and bent surface that directs the light rays across its surface before sending them back out, basically reversing the reversed image.

Andrew Hicks' Mirrors (Image courtesy NewScientist)

Here’s a convex mirror that reflects a wide-angled view, but without any distortion. As you can see, any real-world objects with straight lines remain straight in the reflection. This mirror was actually developed for a stair climbing robot at the University of Pennsylvania which uses a camera pointed at a mirror to see where it’s going, and the lack of distortion in the image makes navigating a set of stairs considerably easier.

Head on over to the NewScientist gallery for a few more great examples of Andrew’s work. (It must be something common with the name.)

[ NewScientist – Reflecting on a new generation of mirrors ] VIA [ Tech Digest ]