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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Stix Electrostatic Noticeboard

Stix Electrostatic Noticeboard (Image courtesy Jonathan Jordan)
By Andrew Liszewski

Somewhere a forest of cork trees are celebrating since this electrostatic bulletin board, designed by Jonathan Jordan, could eliminate man’s reliance on corkboards for selling cars, hanging seasonal decorations or storing take-out menus. It also reduces our need for staples and thumbtacks since ‘hanging’ an item simply requires you to rub it around a bit to build up a static charge, at which point it will cling to the board through the magic of science. I remember we had a plotter in a high school AutoCAD class that also used a static charge to hold a large piece of paper in place, and I always wondered why the idea wasn’t used elsewhere. I mean who needs paperweights when the entire surface of your desk could be electrostatically charged?

Stix was a finalist in the 2010 James Dyson Award competition, and while there are some drawbacks to the idea, I think it has enough merit for someone to work out the kinks and put it into production.

[ James Dyson Award – Stix Electrostatic Noticeboard ] VIA [ Yanko Design & DVICE ]

Sonic Nausea Device

Sonic Nausea (Image courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Built on the same principles as the larger versions used to disperse crowds, this tiny Sonic Nausea device generates a combination of high frequency soundwaves which will cause most people in its vicinity to feel queasy or suffer from headaches, intense irritation, sweating, imbalance, nausea and if you’re really lucky, even vomiting! The nature of the sound means it’s very difficult to pinpoint where it’s coming from if hidden, and I’m going to assume on a single 9-volt battery it will run for many, many hours. $29 from Shomer-Tec.

[ Sonic Nausea ] VIA [ GadgetGrid ]

Custom Steampunk Optimus Prime Figure

Steampunk Optimus Prime (Image courtesy Encline Designs)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve had more than my fill of the ‘steampunk’ trend, but I don’t feel guilty about posting yet another SP creation when it’s as impressive as this custom Optimus Prime figure. I guess if the Transformers had reached Earth before the time of the automobile they would have had to make do with the available transportation at the time, in this case, a steam locomotive. But, it doesn’t make Optimus look any less badass, that’s for sure.

Steampunk Optimus Prime (Image courtesy Encline Designs)

The figure was created by Encline Designs and is fully transformable from robot to locomotive form. There’s even his trademark disappearing trailer complete with an old-timey cannon inside, and thanks to a set of LEDs, the lamps and boiler on his chest all glow as if they were burning away. Now where’s the Megatron six-shooter to go with it?

[ Encline Designs ] VIA [ Walyou ]

Design Your Own Squishy Circuits With Homemade Conductive Play-Doh

Squishy Circuits (Images courtesy Samuel Johnson and AnnMarie Thomas)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s definitely not the kind of homemade toy you’ll want to bring along to entertain your kids on a long flight (I’ll leave it up to your imaginations how that would play out at the airport) but if you’ve been trying to lure them away from video games for something a bit more educational, this looks like it could do the trick. Squishy Circuits was developed at the University of St. Thomas by undergraduates Samuel Johnson and AnnMarie Thomas, and basically uses a couple of special ‘Play-Doh’ recipes allowing the dough to serve as either a conductor or an insulator. You’ll need a battery pack and some electrical powered doohickeys (like a motor or LEDs) to show that the circuits are indeed working, but otherwise it’s all up to the dough itself to teach and amaze.

The recipes for both the conductive and insulating dough can be found here, and hopefully Hasbro sees this idea and comes out with a circuits Play-Doh set of their own that’s more educational than making wacky hairdos or inedible burgers.

[ Squishy Circuits ] VIA [ CNET ]

R2-D2 USB Humidifier

R2-D2 USB Humidifier (Images courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

For everything R2-D2 did for the Republic and the Rebellion you’d think they’d have let him retire to some beach on Naboo, but it appears the only thing the poor astromech droid has to look forward to is a lifetime of inane servitude. This time around he’s serving as a miniature USB-powered humidifier that you crack open and fill with water that will slowly be turned to steam thanks to a piezoelectric heating element. He draws power from a USB port so you won’t need a restraining bolt to prevent him from wandering too far from your PC or laptop, and he’s available from ThinkGeek for just $19.99.

[ R2-D2 USB Humidifier ] VIA [ Lá em Casa ]

Own A Rare Zenith 13″ See-Through Clear Case TV – You Know, For Prisons

Rare Zenith 13" See-Through Clear Case TV (Images courtesy eBay)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m pretty sure there’s not a big demand for a $400 Zenith 13-inch CRT TV these days, unless you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to watch Glee while incarcerated. These sets were specifically made for the sole purpose of providing “in-cell prison entertainment” while preventing inmates from using them to hide or smuggle contraband. It’s currently up on eBay where the seller points out that it’s not even digital ready, making it a pretty tough sell even if you’re into collecting prison memorabilia.

[ eBay – Rare Prison Security See-Through Cear Case Television ] VIA [ Random Good Stuff ]

Announcing The Winners Of The Ferrari Game Pad And Safe Driver!

By Chris Scott Barr

We’ve got a couple of contests to update you on, as I’m sure you’re all anxiously awaiting the results. First, we’ll start with the Lemur Monitors: Safe Driver, as it was the first contest to go up. User ‘bebe211’ will be happy to know that she’ll be able to monitor her husband’s speed at all times (and my apologies to the aforementioned husband!). So congratulations to her!

Now there is the matter of the Limited Edition Ferrari Wireless Gamepad. The random number deities commanded that reader”jason” be handed one of these controllers. Perhaps it was his offer to paint his consoles and computer to match that appeased them. Congratulations to him, and stay tuned for more contests in the future!

[ Lemur ] [ Thrustmaster ]

Robot Matches, Folds Socks

By Chris Scott Barr

One of these days we’ll have robots to do all of the mundane chores that we don’t care for. Laundry would be one that I really don’t care for. First you have to separate the lights and darks, then adjust the settings on the washer. Once it’s done, you have to remember to go back and move the clothes and set the dryer properly. Then finally you take them out (if they are dry with just one go) to fold and put away the clothes. What a pain. Well now there’s a robot that can do part of this work.

Okay, so the robot can only save you about five minutes during your entire washing cycle. It has one specialty, which is socks. Specifically, it can match a pair, turn them right-side out, and put one inside the other (in some strange substitute for folding). I suppose it’s less of a practical robot, and more one of those “look what we can make it do” sort of things. Oh, and does anyone else feel slightly dirty when watching it turn the sock right-side out on that pole?

[ Berkley ] VIA [ BotJunkie ]

JVC’s New Picsio GC-WP10 Waterproof Camcorder

JVC Picsio GC-WP10 (Images courtesy JVC)
By Andrew Liszewski

At one time it was really easy to choose a flash-based zoomless camcorder. You just walked into your local electronics store and bought a Flip because there really were no other options. But these days it’s not as easy, which is a good thing since competition has brought more options that are far more capable than the Flip, if that’s what you’re looking for. (The Flip’s simplicity is definitely not a bad thing.) Like this latest addition to JVC’s PICSIO line, the GC-WP10, which can capture 1080P footage on dry land or up to 10 feet underwater. At 1080P you’re limited to 30fps since these consumer friendly cameras tend to shy away from 24P, but if you reduce your resolution to 720P you can capture up to 60fps. And if you want to be really creative there are even time-lapse recording options available.

‘Round back you’ll find a glove-friendly 3-inch touchscreen LCD display with on-screen controls for recording and playback, and the GC-WP10’s got an SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot that’s Eye-Fi friendly for uploading footage over a wireless network. There’s also the requisite built-in USB connector which has become the trademark feature for these types of cameras, and last but certainly not least is its ability to record high-quality MP3s thanks to a set of stereo microphones on top. Available “late September” for $199.95.

[ PR – Two New JVC Picsio Pocket Cameras Offer Easy Video and Photo Sharing ] VIA [ Gizmag ]