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Monthly Archives: February 2012

DIY Hack Lets You Use Real Tree Branch To Play Angry Birds

By David Ponce

Playing Angry Birds, for me, got boring after the first week. Then as the months rolled by with the application at the top of the App Store, I wondered just what was wrong with people and how on earth they managed to stay interested. At least with the above DIY hack, there’s a bit of a novelty infusion that could get me to squeak maybe another couple of hours of gameplay. Maybe I’m just getting old. Whatever the case, Chris Jarratt was walking in Epping Forest, London when he found the above branch and decided it would be cool to turn it into a controller for Angry Birds. Why not? So he set about to hollowing out part of the branch to accommodate a microcontroller and an accelerometer, as well as a USB connector at the bottom. He then wrote some software that translated the different movements experienced by the slingshot into mouse movements on screen and voila, a real life Angry Bird slingshot.

Fortunately for the DIY enthusiasts out there, Chris included a step by step, as well as a video of the thing in action.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ CNet ]

Apple Passes $500 Billion Market Cap

By David Ponce

It’s no secret that Apple is making money hand over fist. As a matter of fact, it’s arguable that Apple’s greatest product of late is their money printing machine. On the strength of these numbers, its stock has been doing more than well and just lately the company peeked above the $500 billion point in market capitalization. That, dear friends, is half a trillion dollars. It’s rarefied territory, so some perspective is in order. Only five companies ever climbed this high and only Exxon did it in the last 10 years. What’s even more encouraging for the company is that it managed to add $150 billion since Steve jobs died last October. Perhaps even more sobering is that we don’t really know just how high these numbers could go. An iPad 3 announcement is just a few days away, and of course there are more iPhones to be released as well as 5 years worth of products with Steve jobs prints on them.

How long until Apple tops the trillion dollar mark?

You should check out the link below for The Verge’s interesting timeline of Apple’s market cap over the years.

VIA [ The Verge ]

Is The Future This See-Through 3D Desktop?

By David Ponce

Much as the industry is constantly evolving in terms of faster computers and ever more ingenious and polished operating systems, the very basic interaction between man and machine has remained pretty constant over the last decades. You still have a flat screen projecting flat images at a user sitting in front of it. Sure, some of these images may depict a three dimensional object, but the images themselves are still 2D. A project by Jinha Lee and Cati Boulanger, former intern and researcher respectively, at Microsoft Applied Sciences would change all that. They’re using a special transparent OLED screen from Samsung and a series of sensors, along with custom software that reshuffles the keyboard to the back of the screen. So in a way, you’re now working with your hands inside the virtual desktop and you’re free to manipulate what you see. Sensors detect your motions and even where your head is in relation to the screen so as to maintain proper perspective at all times (think of that scene in the latest Mission: Impossible).

There are no concrete plans to put this into production but as a proof of concept allows us to play and discover potential new interfaces for systems of tomorrow. Watch it in action below.

[ Cargo Collective ] VIA [ Geekosystem ]

Video: More Wingsuit Madness In Avatar Country

By David Ponce

We like to step away from digital consumer electronics now and then because frankly, some things are just too awesome to pass up. Plus, geeks in general have an insatiable appetite for wonderment, so the following video should fascinate. There’s an area in China’s Hunan province called Zhangjiajie National Forest Park that features enormous quartz-sandstone pillars that look exactly like those in the movie Avatar. And for good reason as the park’s officials say that it was these very formations that served as artistic inspiration for the scenery in the movie; indeed one of the park’s larger pillars was renamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” by local officials. So it’s in this fabulous setting that some base jumpers decided to ply their trade, seemingly under the sponsorship of extreme sport enthusiast company Red Bull. Watch the below video. It’s really incredible. We may not go to the moon, or even Mars, for quite some time. But there are still things we can do on this little planet that can almost compare.

VIA [ MICGadget ]

Whole Foods Developing Kinect Powered Shopping Cart

By David Ponce

Grocery shopping can be a nightmare, especially at Whole Foods where the variations on any one item can be dizzying. Gluten-free, low sodium, organic, free-range, peanut free, lactose free… that stuff’s complicated, man. Not to mention, you have to know where to find it all. That may be why Whole Foods is partnering with an Austin-based company called Chaotic Moon to develop a shopping cart that can help you out. The early prototype features integration with Microsoft Kinect. It follows you around the store and scans items as you drop them in, simultaneously checking them off your shopping list and alerting you in case you pick up the wrong version. It’ll even tell you where to find the right one. Check out is accomplished on the cart itself and you can then stroll right out, unless you need bags.

The version shown in the clip below is of course a very rough prototype. There’s no word on when or even if this will actually ever make it into stores.

VIA [ Engadget ]

WANT: Interactive Super Mario Coin Block Pendant Lamp

By David Ponce

It’s a 6 inch plexiglass cube lamp with energy efficient LEDs inside, which is made to look like the iconic Super Mario Bros. coin block. What’s really cool is that the lamp has a touch sensitive bottom; simply punch touch it and it will light up while emitting the classic “coin” sound. Even better, every 8 cycles, you’ll get a “1-Up” sound instead. There’s an 11 foot power cord, while the power supply is 100v-240v compatible. There’s even an optional night stand if you don’t want to hang it from the ceiling.

It’s $75 and there is a two week lead time. Hit the jump for two videos of it in action, plus links.

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Albatros Bookmark Doesn’t Need You To Remember To Use It

By David Ponce

For those of you still reading dead tree books, the use of a bookmark is almost indispensable. There’s nothing hard or complicated about how these work; they’ve probably been around for as long as books themselves. But as it turns out, there is a way to improve on their design, and the Albatross Bookmark is it. Install it once at the start of your reading, and you will never have to remember to place it. Its folded design keeps it at your open page at all times, and it stays there when you close your book. Suddenly in a rush to catch a bus? Don’t fumble around with a bookmark. Just close your book and run. It’s simple and brilliant.

Currently fully funded on IndieGoGo, you can still pre-order them for $10 for a set of 6. We’re not exactly sure when they’ll ship, but it should be sometime after March 23rd, when the campaign ends.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Reddit Gadgets ]

Laundry Folding Device Is An Indispensable Bachelor Accessory

By David Ponce

Moving out of your parents’ home is great, until you realize that you now have to do a lot of menial tasks you never really bothered to master while growing up. Doing your laundry now and then is one of these, and while stuffing dirty clothes into large machines is not so hard, folding them back into neat stacks is a skill most young males don’t really possess. The usual path taken through this part of life involves wearing perpetually wrinkled clothes, picked out from a messy pile thrown in the corner of a dresser. And then the missus comes into the picture and takes care of things. But for those of us forever alone, the above accessory can help. It’s a plastic template for folding clothes that can have your things neat and tidy in 6 simple steps. Place the item on it, and follow the steps; it couldn’t get any easier.

For $27, it’s a no-brainer.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Amazon ]

Skate Home Is Obsessed About Skateboards, But In A Good Way

By David Ponce

Manuel Llorens is a skater. He also happens to be a technical architect and with his wife decided to launch Skate Home. It’s a company that sells furniture made from skateboards. Nothing but skate boards. There are skate board chairs, mirrors, shelves, benches and even mirrors. Manuel really likes skate boards. But his designs are different and striking. The prices however are a reflection of this uniqueness: the above shelf for example costs €269 (abut $361 in today’s dollars).

Manuel contacted us and directly pitched us. Seeing as we like good design and often feature household items, we figure we’d give him a little shout out. So if you share his passion, or are just looking to deck your place out with stuff that isn’t from IKEA, hit the jump for more pictures and a link.

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