For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Monthly Archives: August 2012

So It’s Come To This: Baton Twirling Drones

Ok, so it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say the robots in the video above are full-fledged baton twirlers. But folks at the ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have managed to program a pair of quad-rotor drones to toss a stick to one another, with a flip in the middle. If that’s not baton twirling for bots, I don’t know what is.

Two of the most challenging problems tackled with quadrocopters so far are balancing an inverted pendulum and juggling balls. My colleagues at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have now combined the two. As part of his Master thesis Dario Brescianini, student at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, has developed algorithms that allow quadrocopters to juggle an inverted pendulum.

First, a state estimator was used to accurately predict the pendulum’s motion while in flight. Second, a fast trajectory generator was needed to quickly move the catching quadrocopter to the estimated catching position. Third, a learning algorithm was implemented to correct for deviations from the theoretical models for two key events. [...]

The result is automated flying drones performing the kind of aerobatics that can only foreshadow a fiery death for mankind at the grips of a superior robotic race. It’s a worn-out cliché, sure, but you’ll understand if you watch the video.

VIA [ BoingBoing ]

An Unusual Dessert: Japanese Condom/Boob Ice Cream

Condom Ice Cream

Ever wondered what condom ice cream tastes like? Then wonder no more, because now you can taste it for yourself–if you can get your hands on a Japanese frozen dessert called Gomu Yokki Aisu, that is. (That’s translates to ‘Ice Cream Filled Rubber’ in English, but it’s not being marketed as a condom ice cream in Japan. In my opinion (which many others share, including Youtuber emmymadeinjapan), it looks more like a boob anyway, and ice cream company Kubota agrees, since they used the same packaging as the former and called it Oppai Aisu or ‘Boob Ice.’

Gomu Yokki Aisu has been available for quite a while now, although the Japanese never really thought of it in that way (bless their minds!) until a Canadian exchange student ruined the perky icy treat for the whole nation by posting a review calling it ‘condom ice cream.’

Continue Reading

LivesOn Keeps Your Twitter Feed Alive, Even When You’re Dead

Lives On

There’s a special group of Internet users that I call the Tweet Freaks. They’re the people who can’t go an hour without checking their Twitter feeds or posting updates about mundane stuff that no one else would really care about. If you have people in your network who’re like that, then you might want to tell them about _LIVESON. If you’re a Tweet Freak yourself, then I’m sure you’d love to heard about this as well. But just to make it less painful for everyone’s eyes, let’s call it LivesOn.

LivesOn is a Twitter tool like no other, promising to give you a ‘social afterlife’ once you pass in the physical world. It will ‘learn’ your tastes, preferences, and syntax by analyzing your current feed, so that it can continue posting status updates on the micro-blogging site even when you’re already dead. In short, LivesOn allows you to tweet from the grave, unless the person you appoint as your executor decides to give it the ax.

The service launches on March 2013.

VIA [ Cnet ]

The Breakfast Club: Now You Can Wear Your Bacon, and Eat It, Too!

Bacon and Egg Scarf

This isn’t the first time someone set out to turn everyone’s favorite breakfast food into something wearable, although this is the first time I’ve seen it done tastefully. Want to make your pasta yummier? Make your burger less bland? Turn that dud of a dish into an instant winner? Just add bacon. It’s a miracle food, if there ever was one, and now you can wear it around your neck.

This bacon scarf is different from the rest because it’s not just some bacon-printed fabric that’s been turned into a scarf. Rather, it’s a handfelted piece that’s got a bit more structure because of the material used. To complete your look, it even comes with a side of egg brooch. Mmm-hmm!

Continue Reading

Awesome Invites for Awesome Parties: PercyVites, DIY Balloons, Flip Books, and Superheroes

DIY Wedding

If you’re in the process of planning a grand celebration for a grand event, then obviously invitations are at the top of your list. Because without invites, how can you get people to attend your event, much less let them know why you’re celebrating and where you’re going to be holding the festivities? It used to be that people simply went to a printing press to have their invitations printed. But in this day and age, people are getting more involved and more creative with their invites.

For example, ultimate geek couple Bill Porter and his wife (but then-fiance) Mara decided to do away with traditional embossed wedding invitations and bring out the circuit boards instead. They worked laboriously to print and assemble over 50 invites fitted with LED lights. The coolest part is that the lights flashed a secret message in Morse code when the sensors in the board detect decreased light levels. Pretty cool, huh?

For more awesome invites that were no doubt made for equally awesome parties, hit the break. You might get a few ideas for your own party in the process!

Continue Reading

Rise is the Smart and Simple Alarm Clock App That You’ve Been Waiting For

Rise Alarm Clock

Getting up every morning to go to work is one of the hardest things to do…if you love sleep as much as I do. If you’ve been late more times than you should’ve this year and can’t really make yourself go to bed earlier the night before, then you need a simple but smart alarm clock app that you can count on, like Rise.

It sports an easy-to-navigate interface that takes full advantage of your iPhone’s touch, gesture, and swipe controls.

Continue Reading

It’s Rainbow-rrific: Unicorn Sprinkles Shaker Adds Magic to Every Cupcake

Unicorn Sprinkles Shaker

It’s interesting how just a little bit of color adds so much life to whatever dessert you’ve got, from ice cream and cupcakes to brownies and fudge. And what better way to add rainbow-colored sprinkles and life to your sweet treats than with an equally festive sprinkles shaker in the form of a unicorn?

Quirky salt and pepper shakers like the Switch and logic-defying Vortex shakers have had their share of the spotlight for years. It’s about time sprinkle shakers took center stage, starting with this one.

Continue Reading

The Grillbot Is A Grill Cleaning Robot

grillbot

iRobot may disapprove of this usage of their trademark, but we don’t care and we’ll just say it: there’s a Roomba for everything these days. The Grillbot, although not at all associated with iRobot or the Roomba, performs much the same task that the carpet cleaning bot does, only on your BBQ. Equipped with a set of rotating bristle brushes, the single-button operated machine gets to work on caked on grease and grime, taking the grunt work out of your summer feasts. Or at least, some of the gruntwork. After a few minutes of driving around randomly, the grill will be clean and ready to barbeque another day.

Expected to hit the market in mid-June, the Grillbots will cost $70 for the base model and $100 for a premium version which will have unspecified extras.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Atlanta Police Use Facebook To Inform Mother Of Her Son’s Passing

clayton-police-fb-message

On January 24 at around 11pm, Rickie Lamb of Clayton County, Atlanta, was fatally hit by a car as he was crossing the street. It then took the family almost a month to find out about it because of the police department’s bizarre use of Facebook. The department first allegedly tried to contact his next of kin through “conventional methods” but were unsuccessful. So they sent Rickie’s mother and sister a message on Facebook, telling them to call back urgently. The problem was that the police was using an account under the name “Misty Hancock” with rapper T.I. as the profile picture, and since they weren’t friends with the mother of the deceased, their message ended up in the “Other” folder of Facebook’s messaging system. Which is where it sat for a few days, until Anna Lamb-Creasey (the mother) thought of checking there. But even then, she didn’t call the number provided because of the strange name and profile picture. It took a full 20 days until Rickie’s sister, in desperation, decided to try the number just to see. Sure enough, that’s when the officers gave them the bad news.

“They told me that they did the best that they can do. But I’m not sure about that. (Because) if they can track a criminal down, they couldn’t track me down? They could have done better,” she said, in tears. “I’ve been on my job 13 years. They could have found me.”

The police insist they repeatedly tried to contact the family through conventional means and are looking into why that account was used, versus a more official one.

[ Atlanta Journal Constitution ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]