Bicimaquinas – The Amazingly Useful Low-Tech Bicycle Machines of Guatemala

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Cheap, eco-friendly machines, made from discarded bicycle parts and powered by pedalling, are all the rage in rural Guatemala. They’re called ‘bicimaquinas’, and they are used for various purposes in the community – right from simple food processing to making shampoos and soaps.

The unique device is the brainchild of ‘Maya Pedal’, a locally-run non-profit in the rural town of San Adrés Itzapa. Founded in 1997 as a collaboration between Canadian organisation ‘Pedal’ and local mechanic Carlos Marroquín, the organisation is credited with the invention of several devices that make use of spare parts from bikes and harness the power of human energy.

Each bicimaquina (bike-machine) is handcrafted at the Maya Pedal workshop, using a combination of old bikes, concrete, wood, and metal. Their designs are 100 percent original, and are both functional and economical. Priced at about $40 apiece, the machines come in several variations for different purposes.

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University Student Creates Real-Life Punch and Stab-Proof Batsuit

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Jackson Gordon, a student of industrial design at Philadelphia University, has pooled everything he’s learned at school so far to build an awesome version of Batman’s batsuit! And we’re not talking about just another replica. This one is designed to withstand punches, kicks, stabs or baseball bat blows!

“I’ve always been a Batman fan,” the 21-year-old from Wayne, Philadelphia told Buzzfeed news. He started making prototypes for the suit last September, using over $1,000 raised on Kickstarter. “Before making the real suit, I did at least 10 prototypes of different parts for the suit to test out materials and sewing patterns,” he revealed. “Once I was happy with those, I started making the real suit using the patterns I had decided on from the prototypes. I cut out the internal lining fabric, then added the foam padding, then a layer of kevlar, then the top grey fabric.”

When the individual pieces were completed, Gordon sewed them together to form the suit. He made the external armored plates from quarter-inch-thick ABS sheets, cut using a scroll saw. “These plates were then power sanded, and heated up with a heat gun to make them pliable,” he explained. “The chest and ab plating was then mounted to the suit, while the other armor remains removable.”

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Researchers Create Eye-Drops That Let You See in the Dark

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A team of California scientists, or ‘biohackers’ as they call themselves, claim to have discovered a way for people to achieve night-vision without the use of special goggles. They recently conducted an experiment called Science for the Masses(SftM), in which they injected a volunteer’s eyes with a special liquid solution that gave him superhuman night-vision.

After receiving the injection, the volunteer – researcher Gabriel Licina – could supposedly see up to a distance of 50 meters in almost total darkness for several hours, and could spot people running among trees in dark conditions. In comparison, people who weren’t treated with the solution did not fare as well.

The mystifying solution apparently contains a substance called Chlorin e6 (Ce6), which is found in some deep-sea fish. It has light-amplification properties, and has also been used in cancer treatment research. By combining Ce6 with insulin and saline, the team was able to produce a solution that can improve vision in the dark.

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Samsung Creates $30,000 High-Tech Dream House for Dogs

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Samsung UK has come up with a real treat for dogs and their owners – a high-tech dream house for dogs. The unique pooch pad comes fully loaded with an automatic food dispenser, a grass turf covered treadmill, a hydrotherapy pool, vinyl walls that the owner can cover with photos, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab S for the dog’s browsing pleasure. With a price tag of £20,000 (roughly $30,000), the Samsung Dream Doghouse is being touted as the most expensive doghouse ever.

“With the Samsung Dream Doghouse, we wanted to reflect the nation’s growing trend for using technology,” said Samsung Electronics UK president Andy Griffiths. “From dogs who have social media profiles to owners who use video calling to check on their pet while away, technology is fast becoming an integral part of everyday life. The Samsung Dream Doghouse looks sleek and modern, featuring the kind of tech the discerning dog of the future will need.”

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Japanese Startup Invents Wearable Device That Gives You 10 Minutes to Find a Toilet

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There are plenty of apps that remind us to drink water, or exercise, but here’s a first – a wearable device that lets you know when it’s time to use the toilet! Triple W, a California-based Japanese startup, has come up with an innovative technology that predicts bowel movements and gives users a 10-minute heads-up before needing to use the toilet.

The concept might seem funny, but it could actually be a godsend for people whose work only allows for scheduled breaks, and also those who suffer from health problems like incontinence. All you need to do is attach the device to your stomach and connect it to an app on your smartphone. The sensors in the device can detect any swelling in your intestines and send notifications to your phone 10 minutes in advance. The app also records bowel movements to learn your daily habits and improve the accuracy of notifications.

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This Booty Drum Lets You Make Music by Twerking

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The Booty Drum is a high-tech musical device that, unlike most instruments, isn’t operated by your hands, but by tour butt cheeks ! All you need to do is attach the drum to your behind, start twerking, and let it transform your movements into beats.

The device was created by headphone brand AIAIAI, in an attempt to give their users some “new music to enjoy on their headphones or  on the dance floor.” They wanted to make a unique music track from scratch, using nothing but body movements. So they teamed up with Portuguese electronic musician Branko, professional dancer Twerk Queen Louise, and OWOW, a Dutch design and technology company to create something really unique. Together, the team took the widely popular twerk dance and converted it into an instrument in its own right.

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This Electric Thinking Cap Boosts Learning and Decision Making

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Up until a few weeks ago, the proverbial thinking cap only had a figurative meaning, but apparently science has finally managed to catch up. A couple of American scientists have created a real thinking cap that could help people learn and make decisions quicker.

This unique device is the brainchild of psychology professor Geoff Woodman and Ph.D. student Robert Reinhart of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and works by sending very low electrical shocks to the brain when worn. The duo claim that the electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain could make the wearer learn new skills and make better decisions.

Indeed, studies performed on the human brain have revealed that negative voltage spikes occur in the medial-frontal cortex of the brain, milliseconds before we make a mistake. Woodman and Reinhart figured that a part of the brain can influence learning and decision making, helping us avoid the same mistakes later.

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Singapore Runs Out of Human Waiters, Uses Drones Instead

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A Singapore restaurant has come up with a very innovative solution to cope with the shortage of manpower affecting the whole island city – flying robot waiters! The Infinium Robotics’ drones are all set to be introduced at the local restaurant-bar chain by the end of this year.

Availability of manpower has become an issue all over Singapore, ever since the government introduced curbs on cheap and foreign labor in order to slow down immigration. The restaurant industry has long depended on foreign labor, because young Singaporeans tend to look down on service jobs.

Several well-known restaurants and food stalls have actually shut down in recent months due to manpower shortage and high rent costs. In order to cope with the situation, a few restaurateurs have been experimenting with new ways – right from robots who can wok-fry rice and noodles, to iPad menus and bullet train delivery systems. But this is the first time a restaurant will have drones that serving diners.

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USB Sticks Buried in Walls All Around the World Make Up an Anonymous File Sharing Network

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‘Dead Drops’, a five-year-old project created by Berlin media artist Aram Bartholl, is probably the world’s most amazing file sharing network. It consists of USB flash drives embedded into walls, buildings and curbs all over the world. Anyone is welcome to hook up their laptops or smartphones to these drives, to drop or download files, or expand the network by embedding USB memory sticks in any old, crumbling wall in their own city.

The premise of the project is rather simple – just cement a USB stick into a wall with the port protruding, and post its location with photographs on the central Dead Drops database. Bartholl said that he created the project as a way to ‘un-cloud’ file sharing. “Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space,” the project manifesto states.

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Chinese Teen Cut Off His Hand Because He Was Addicted to the Internet

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In a desperate attempt to cure himself of his internet addiction, a Chinese teenager simply chopped off his own left hand. The 19-year-old, from the city of Nantong, in Jiangsu province, took the drastic measure last week.

“We cannot accept what has happened,” said the kid’s mother, who refused to be identified. “It was completely out of the blue. He was a smart boy.” She had gone to her son’s bedroom at 11pm last Wednesday, only to find him missing from his bed. Instead, she found a handwritten note that said: “Mum, I have gone to the hospital for a while. Don’t worry, I will definitely come back this evening.”

In the meantime, the boy had snuck out of the house with a kitchen knife. Once safely out of sight, he severed his left hand at the wrist. He then called a taxi to take him to a nearby Emergency Room, leaving the hand lying on the ground.

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Artists Create Book Cover That Refuses to Open for Judgmental Readers

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While the age-old idiom tells us not to judge a book by its cover, this high-tech book-cover is designed to do the judging instead. Created by a group of artists at Amsterdam creative studio Moore, the book-sleeve has the ability to scan faces for prejudice. If it detects even the slightest hint of judgement, the book will simply refuse to open.

Aptly named ‘The Cover that Judges You’, the sleeve comes with an integrated camera at the top and facial-recognition software that scans the faces of people who approach it. “Our aim was to create a book cover that is human and approachable-hi-tech,” artist Thijs Biersteker said. “If you approach the book, the face-recognition system picks up your face and starts scanning it for signs of judgement.”

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High-Tech Helmet Lets You Hear Your Own Thoughts, Sort Of

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The ‘Experience Helmet’ is a new, high-tech wearable device that allows people to hear electronic representations of their thoughts. It uses Electroencephalography (EEG) technology to translate brain activity into data. This basically means that the helmet can read your thoughts, convert it into sound, and play it back to you!

According to Aiste Noreikaite, who invented the helmet, it is meant to create an “audible reflection of one’s personal experience of the present moment.” Inspired by Buddhist meditation practices, the London-based artist said that she wanted to create a device to enhance self-awareness.

So she started with an ordinary bike helmet, took it apart, and installed an EEG wireless headset and headphones inside. Next, she researched ways to convert the data provided by the headset into sound. After much deliberation, she finally settled on pure electronic signals to represent brainwaves.

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Futuristic Bionic Boots Literally Put a Spring in Your Step

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‘Bionic Boots’ are high-tech footwear that can help you reach running speeds comparable to professional athletes like Usain Bolt. The ultra light boots feature innovative springs inspired by the Achilles tendon of ostriches or kangaroos, lending the wearer more force while running and literally putting a spring in their stride.

The boots are the brainchild of inventor Keahi Seymour, who has always been fascinated by the effortless speed and agility of ostriches, the fastest running birds on the planet, with a top speed of 45 mph. He has been working on the gadget for several years, producing dozens of prototypes in the process.

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Revolutionary Invisible Umbrella Shelters You from the Rain with Bursts of Air

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A team of engineers in China is currently involved in developing something called the ‘Air Umbrella’ – a revolutionary new device that uses blasts of air to shield people from the rain. The high-tech umbrella, shaped like a plastic microphone, is capable of producing horizontal gusts of air that repel raindrops, creating a dry, one meter wide circle around the user’s head.

There is a small catch, of course – the device works only for a short while. In true Cinderella style, the ‘magic’ wears off at the stroke of the 30th minute – the umbrella stops producing air and you’ll be drenched in no time at all. So you’d probably want to use it only if you’re confident you can get out of the rain in 30 minutes or less.

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Kokoro Scanner – A Japanese High-Tech Toy That Lets Others Know If You Are Lying or Telling the Truth

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The Kokoro Scanner (Heart Scanner) is a high-tech Japanese invention that can spice up classic party games such as ‘Truth or Dare’. It is a lie detecting device that is worn on the forehead and changes color to indicate the truthfulness of a person’s responses.

Created by Tokyo-based toy company ‘Takara Tomy’, the scanner works a lot like a polygraph machine – it monitors the pulse using infrared rays. So when you make a person wear it, it first monitors their heart rate to establish a baseline. Then, you ask them a question, the wearer responds, and the device monitors the heart rate once more to compare it with the baseline.

It then flashes green if the person’s pulse is normal indicating that they’re telling the truth, yellow if they might be lying, and red if they are lying for sure. Because the light is attached to the person’s forehead, they won’t be able to tell what color is flashing while they’re being interrogated with all sorts of embarrassing questions.

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