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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Meet Romo, The Smartphone Robot

This has been out for some time now, but we’re just now stumbling across it. It’s called Romo and is a robotic dock for your Android or iOS smartphone. It’s got two treads and is able to roam around the house. But that’s just the start. Depending on the application running on it, you can also use the front facing camera on your phone and turn Romo into a spybot. If there’s music playing in your house, it’ll “dance” to it. Also a new application for Android devices lets you draw on Romo’s face and the little bot will follow the path you draw. The best part about Romo is that the company is young and is seeking developers to expand its capabilities. Anything it’s able to do depends on what application your phone is running when docked, so stay tuned for for more exciting developments from that front. In the meantime, if you want to get your hands on yours right away, it’ll be $149.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ CoolMaterial ]

World’s Most Awesome Trash Can Catches Your Crap No Matter Where You Throw It

It’s annoying how some people don’t really both to pick up after themselves. It’s even more annoying if you actually happen to live with them. But something that could making your current living arrangements a bit more bearable is this robotic trash can hacked together by some fine Japanese folks. It might look pretty ordinary, but hook it up and you’ll soon figure out why this is the perfect trash can for lazy slobs (and for people with bad aim.)

The trash can is actually equipped with wheels that are controlled wirelessly through a Kinect-based program, which detects the path of thrown objects to direct the trash can to the object’s projected landing spot.

Check out the video below to see how it was put together. But if you’re just eager to see how it works, then skip on over to 2:24.

[ YouTube ] VIA [ TechnaBob ]

Stupid Product Of The Day: Text Bands

By David Ponce

We’re torn between thinking there’s some kind of genius, kid’s-mind-controlling magic going on here, and thinking the Hallmark Text Bands are just one of the worst products we’ve seen in the last little while. To be honest, we’re really leaning on the stupid side. They’re these wristbands that kids are supposed to wear and use to exchange texts from a distance. But here’s where the fun starts. The texts are limited to 10 characters. And you only have 3 buttons to type them out! So the kid is expected to scroll left and right, select a letter and press enter, then move on to the next. No wonder it’s only 10 characters! But even if we assume that a kid will be happy to painstakingly enter and send messages like seeyoul8tr, the range at which these things communicate is… 10 feet! Well, for crying out loud, at that range why not just say what you want to say? It… boggles the mind.

And yet, children have been known to make mind boggling decisions, so should they somehow fall in love with this product, know that it’ll only cost you $15.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

NETGEAR WiFi Booster Lets You Roam Your Mansion Freely

By David Ponce

Dropping out of range of your WiFi router can be pretty annoying, especially when you’re in the middle of streaming a really good episode of Breaking Bad on your iPad while comfortably lazing in your yard. If you’ve got a 3G device, it might then just switch to cellular data and keep going, but you’ll be eating away at your very limited (and expensive) bandwidth. Better just splurge $40 on a Netgear WiFi booster. It takes your current 2.4Ghz 802.11 b/g/n signals and amplifies them so they reach out further. There’s no specific details on just how much further, but at $40, any little bit can go a long way.

It should be available later this summer.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Glowing Cufflinks For The Dapper Geek

By David Ponce

Unfortunate as some of us may find it and Silicon Valley influence notwithstanding, there are still plenty of occasions that call for formal dressing. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave your root behind. You can let some of your true geek fred shiny through by using the above iCufflinks. They’re made out of machined aluminum and are stuffed with a tiny circuit board and an LED and a battery. Put the battery in and they’ll start pulsating to a certain pattern. The best part is that it’s an open source system, meaning you can reprogram the pattern and have it be anything you want. Maybe you can set them to signal SOS in morse code to express your discomfort and dismay at being clothed in such an unbecoming attire. The CR1220 battery should last up to 72 hours, so you won’t run out of juice mid party.

They’re $128 at Thinkgeek.

[ Product Page ]

BugASalt Is A Shotgun That Kills Flies With A Pinch Of Salt

By David Ponce

The BugASalt is a plastic shotgun of sorts that expels a pinch of salt a high speed with the aim of killing flies (or other undesirable insects, we suppose). It works. It’s freaking brilliant! The fly is pierced multiple times with tiny sodium chloride pellets, killed instantly. There’s no splatter, no mess like with flyswatters. Only the thrill of the hunt. With an effective range of 3ft. you can stay far away enough that the unsuspecting insects will just wait around blissfully unaware of their impending destruction. If we owned a BugASalt we’d probably leave some food lying around to attract flies and give ourselves something to shoot… and end up emptying our salt reserves all over the floor within the hour, making a mess after all.

It’s $30 on pre-order at IndieGogo. People are understandably excited and the campaign has reached $67,000+ on a $15k goal. Not sure when the shipping date is, though. Still, you should hit the jump for a great video of it in action and for the links.

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Pianobell Lets Guests Announce Their Arrival With a Touch of Class

Pianobell

By Hazel Chua

A couple of piano keys might look out of place when they’re tacked beside your door, where your regular old doorbell used to be. But I’m pretty sure your friends and neighbors will be able to figure out what to do with the Pianobell pretty quickly and maybe even have a little fun with it in the process–unfortunately at the expense of your peace and quiet.

If you need things spelled out for you, then here goes: the Pianobell is basically a doorbell that sounds off with soothing notes instead of boring ‘ding dongs’ or screechy rings to announce that you’ve got a guest at your door awaiting entry. No idea on what notes each key will play, but designer Li Jianye‘s idea is so creative and novel that I doubt this detail would matter.

Unfortunately, the Pianobell is still a concept design–for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone picks up on this idea and starts turning piano-playing doorbells into a reality.

[ Pianobell ] VIA [ Incredible Things ]

Deal Of The Day: $800 Off On Lenovo IdeaPad Y480

By David Ponce

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 is not anorexic; it carries its 5.1 lbs of heft with pride. As well it should, as it won PCMag’s Editor’s Choice award a couple of month ago for its “fast performance, exemplary screen and keyboard.” High praise for a laptop that can normally cost $1,600. But with today’s rebate, you’re looking at $800 instead. For that amount of cash you get a 14 inch machine with a Core i7 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB 5400rpm HDD, and 2GB NVIDIA GT640M graphics card.

[ $800 Off On Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 ] VIA [ LogicBuy ]

Beer/Shot Glass Encourages Stomach Party

By David Ponce

It’s well known that mixing your liquors is the best way to have a happening shindig in the confines of your stomach. It’s the kind of shindig that might have its partygoers leave suddenly… but you knew what we meant, so we’re not sure why that explanation was necessary. Anyway, the Beer/Shot glass is both smart and stupid at the same time. In one direction it holds 16 ounces of malted beverage. Turned the other way, it holds 2 ounces of whatever distillate you have on hand. It’s smart because, hey… good design. But, well, you can see where this is going. Still, if you insist on flogging your stomach, you can get yours for $19 for a set of two.

[ Product Page ] VIA [GearHungry ]