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Category Archives: Unusual

D&D Gets Nerdy(er)

By John Beck

I usually consider myself to be a bit of a tech head, but now and again something comes along which makes me realise how low I really rate on the universal scale of geekery.

The latest blow to my sense of nerdy self worth is SurfaceScapes, a project dreamt up by students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Centre, which aims to create a proof-of-concept for playing tabletop role-playing games on Microsoft’s Surface Table.

Basically, this provides players with a digital environment, which they can interact with using real objects (such as painstakingly detailed miniatures), and also provides automated calculations and visual and audio feedback for actions performed by characters in the game. If that takes your fancy, then watch the video and allow the nasal voiceover to explain things far better than I ever could.

So far, only Dungeons and Dragons is up and running on the prototype system, but fortunately for those whose proverbial boat is not floated by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s magnum opus, the team say it could be expanded to other games in the future.

[ SurfaceScapes ]

Hotelicopter is Perfect for Joining the Less than a Mile High Club


by Shane McGlaun

I have stayed in my share of storage hotels over the years. There was one we stayed in during a family vacation when I was young that had more roaches than a Grateful Dead concert. I have also stayed in my share of swanky places that cost more than I care to think about. We have seen our share of long haul airliners outfitted with beds and other features for those long flights from the US to Europe.

A new aircraft called the Hotelicopter has been announced that will offer 18 passengers a travel experience similar to a cruise liner in the air. The Hotelicopter is a massive Mil V-12 prototype helicopter that was built in 1968 in Russia. The aircraft has been updated and augmented with an additional floor and enhancements for efficiency.

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Forget Air Guitar, Play Air Piano

By Jonathan Kimak

Omer Yosha has created a pretty cool instrument. The Air Piano is an electronic piano of sorts that lets you play notes without touching any keys. It uses infrared technology to detect movement and plays a music note based on where the movement came from. If you leave your hand hovering over a spot the Air Piano will sustain the note. It also appears that you can change octaves by raising or lowering your hand over one of the sensors. It seems that infrared technology has come a long way from the days of the Sega Activator (#5).

Each sensor has a set of MIDI commands that create the music. So when this comes out (it’s still in the prototype phase) you might be able to customize each sensor for different notes and sounds.

The video (after the jump) shows the Air Piano in action. Of course to play a 3-note chord you will have to grow another arm or have a good friend that likes to get close. What I’d like to see is some group (I’m thinking Blue Man Group) with at least 3 of these doing a collaborative effort to create full songs with a wave of their hands.

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Better Than A Heated Swimming Pool In Your Backyard

By Jonathan Kimak

You may be tired of waiting in extremely long lines for rides like Disney’s new Toy Story Mania. The long waits are especially annoying when the ride itself lasts only a minute. Well, if you have some spare time and a shed full of scrap metal you can do what John Ivers did and build a fully functioning roller coaster in your backyard.

The ride is called Blue Flash and has 180 feet of track and a 360 degree loop. The ride is longer than the wait and you can pretty much go again and again until one of your relatives jumps on it while you are re-experiencing your lunch and hurling it into the trash bin.

VIA [ Offbeat earth ]

Video of the awesome ride after the jump.

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Canned Air – Not Just For Spaceballs Anymore

Big Ox Canned Air

By Luke Anderson

I have issues with drinking bottled water. Yes, one of those is because I prefer drinks with a little (see: a lot) caffeine in them. My other big problem is that it’s a huge waste of plastic, as I’ve got a sink that magically dispenses water. Sure, it might not be from some mountain spring, but there’s a good chance your fancy water isn’t either. I’ve got a nice purifier attached to my faucet, and that’s plenty good for me. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that I think that canned air is just retarded.

No, I’m not talking about that stuff you use to blow out the dust from your computer. No, this stuff called Big Ox is intended for huffing. The company refers to it as “power oxygen.” Seriously folks, it’s just air. Strap a pine tree air freshener under your nose and it’ll have the same effect, and it might just make you smell better to boot.

The best part? They’re selling a single 3.5 gram can for $9.99! I’m sorry, there’s nothing you can tell me about this stuff that’ll make me want to fork over $10 for scented air.

[ Big Ox ] VIA [ Gearlog ]

Tokyoflash’s Latest: Twelve 5-9, Q Version

twelve 5-9 q version tokyoflash

By David Ponce

We think Tokyoflash’s watches make amazing gifts, quite simply because they’re unusual and make great conversation starters. And they’re always coming up with new designs. The latest? It’s called “Twelve 5-9 Q Version”. It happens to look like a brushed silver orifice of some sort, which makes it even cooler in our books.

A fusion of the robotic and the organic has inspired a distinctly bio-mechanical feel – a step in a new direction for the series.

The Q version uses the established 12-5-9 method to tell the time. 12 hours, 5 groups of 10 minutes and 9 single minutes. Moving clockwise from the top of the display, the first two lines of LED’s show the hours 1-12, each lit LED indicating one hour. The next line indicates minutes up to 50, each LED showing 10 minutes. The final two lines indicate single minutes 1-9, one LED for each minute.

It’s this sort of maddening complexity in what is usually a simple act (telling time) that makes their products so compelling.

This particular watch costs 14,900 Yen (about $136) 15,900 Yen (about $145), with free shipping. But for the Holidays, OhGizmo! readers get a 1,000 Yen (about $9) discount with the following coupon code: XM38.

[ Product Page ]

Italian Artist Makes Objects That Look Like Meat

simone racheli

By David Ponce

Rarely do you come across artistic genius so keen as to envision everyday objects that look like meat. But that’s exactly what Simone Racheli (an Italian dude) has done. On display at the Paolo Maria Deanesi gallery, his works range from bicycle frames, to irons to delicious toilets. They’re made from plastic, wax and other materials and being works of art, they’re not specifically being sold.

Hit the jump for a bunch of pictures and links.

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WineRack is THE Sports Bra of the Century

WineRack Drinking System
By Christen da Costa

There’s two things in this world that the stereotypical man can’t live without: beer and boobs. Thanks to the makers of the Beer Belly, no man will go thirsty or visually unsatisfied. Aptly named the WineRack, it holds 25oz or 750ml of liquid in a bra like device. Not large enough for the average beer drinker, but who really cares when you’re taking a pull from your girls…bra? No actual pictures of the device seem to exist on the makers website, so a running theory is that they’re testing market demand with ‘preorders’. The device comes in small and medium, and is not recommended for the ‘well endowed’ ladies.

Available here for $29.95

via [Gadgetreview]

Let’s… Cancel Google, Shall We?

cancel google

By David Ponce

Here’s a little bit of geek fun. If you Google the term “Cancel Google”, the first result brings you to the page of Kevin Cheng, and Tom Chi. The website is called “OK/Cancel”, and on September 26th, 2004, Kevin wrote a post titled “Google Answers HCI PhD Program”. And just like that, their site has become the #1 destination of morons worldwide who’d like to cancel The Google.

They’re leaving comments by the droves, asking to… well, cancel Google. Damn, people are stupid! It’s a wonder they managed not to confuse their PC mouse with the foot pedal of their grandma’s sewing machine. Here’s a sampler:


– “Google is stopping me from shopping at my oLancome site with your pop up blocker.!! Would you quit it!!!”

– “Google is the front door of my conscience. I am regretting the Google. Am Google me it? For wanting no Google, simply Google “no Google”.”

And it just goes on, and on. Keving initially deleted the comments, but later decided to leave them. They’re damn funny, that’s why.

Check it out.

[ Cancel Teh Googlez ] VIA [ Gadgetopia ]