Wacky Business Owner Runs Company via Robot Proxy

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Richard Garriot, the owner of a Austin, Texas-based video-game development company, has found the perfect way to keep an eye on his employees when he’s out of office – a $15,000 robot called QB60.

Garriott, who founded Origin Systems back in the 1980s, a company best known for creating the Ultima franchise (which led to the popular MMO “Ultima Online”), first discovered his robot stand-in last year, when he and the woman of his dreams got married in a 500-year-old chateau in France. He wanted his mother to be by his side one one of the most important days in his life, but the wasn’t in the best shape for such a long flight, so he had to figure out a way to have her there, without having her fly. The solution came from a California company called Anybots Inc., which specializes in making avatar-like robots that can be controlled via computer. The futuristic gizmo looks a lot like a balancing segway, but it’s actually a lot more: an ever-present telepresence equipped with two cameras, a microphone and a speaker that can be operated from anywhere using a broadband Internet connection.

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Necomimi – Japan’s Wacky Cat Ears Controlled by Brainwaves

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Japanese company Neurowear has invented an innovative and wacky set of furry cat ears that help you express a state of mind without having to say a word. It’s called Necomimi and it’s bound to become one of the world’s coolest gadgets/fashion accessories.

Just in case you were wondering what Japan will come up with next after a seemingly endless number of wacky and funny inventions (Botaoshi, Reptile Cafe, Yokai Monster Train, etc.), I’m here to provide an answer – Necomimi, a revolutionary headband that uses sensors to read your brainwaves. That’s doesn’t sound weird at all, on the contrary, it sounds groundbreaking, but the offbeat-loving Japanese designed the gadget to look like a wearable set of cat ears, probably hoping to capitalize on people’s fascination with cuteness and cutting-edge technology.

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Arcade Washing Machine Makes Doing the Laundry Enjoyable

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Lee Wei Chen, an MA student from the Kingston University, London, has designed an “amusement washing machine” that combines arcade gaming with doing laundry.

Lee Wei, who is originally feom Taiwan, came up with the idea for his wacky invention while thinking of a productive use for the “wasted but enjoyable time” he spent playing video games. The 27-year-old says he realized the skills he had in the virtual world were completely useless in the real world and he decided to find a way to make them useful. That’s how he came up with the amusement washing machine, a contraption that looks like an arcade gaming station with an incorporated washing machine in the lower half. Chen linked the circuitry of the two devices, making the washing cycle dependent on the user’s gaming skills. If the gamer sucks at video games he or she will have to insert more coins in order to complete the cycle.

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Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a Creepy 3D Mask of Your Face

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Just in case you’ve always wanted a gift that would creep the heck out of your family and friends, but you never really found it, I’m here to tell you your wish has come true. A Japanese company is making incredibly detailed 3D replicas of human faces and selling them as gifts.

REAL-f is a unique company that specializes in 3 Dimensions Photo Forms, which in colloquial terms translates as 3D masks and busts of anyone willing to pay for them. That doesn’t sound weird or impressive at all, but the guys at REAL-f claim their proprietary technology allows them to replicate every detail of the human face, including skin pores, blood vessels and the iris. The Japanese startup first takes photos of the subject from multiple angles, generates a 3D image on the computer and imprints it on vinyl chloride resin stretched over a mold. The result is as impressive as it is unsettling, and words simply don’t do these things justice, just take a look at the photos below…

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Raincatch – A Raincoat That Turns Rain into Drinkable Water

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Raincatch is a water purification raincoat that turns collected rain water into drinkable water the wearer can enjoy on the go.

Let’s just put it this way, wearing Raincatch in a rainy city like London means you’ll probably never be thirsty again. Sure, in some regions of the world rain water is still clean enough to be drunk as it falls from the sky, but in today’s polluted climate drinking it without purifying it first poses a real risk. But thanks to the invention of two CIID students, Hyeona Yang and Joshua Noble, you’ll be able to enjoy refreshing rain water on the go, without a care in the world.

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Chinese Inventor Takes Off in Home-Made Flying Saucer

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Shu Mansheng, a Chinese farmer with no mechanics or electronics educations has managed to pilot a flying saucer he himself built.

The simple fact that he only has a basic school education hasn’t stopped Shu Mansheng from fulfilling his dream of building his own flying machine. He taught himself everything he needed to know about mechanics and electronics and finally completed a successful flight in his own flying saucer. I say finally because this isn’t the first time the resourceful farmer tried his luck in aviation. Last year, on April 30, Shu completed his first home-made aircraft and though he managed to take it off the ground, he got injured on the second trial flight.

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Mommy Tummy Suit Lets Men Experience Pregnancy

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No matter how many birthing classes they attend or how many baby books they read, men can never truly experience pregnancy, right girls? Wrong! The Mommy Tummy suit simulates the whole nine months of weight gaining, breast enlargement and baby kicking.

Showcased at the SIGGRAPH 2011 interactive technology conference, the Mommy Tummy caused quite a stir among participants after it was announced it’s main function is to allow men to experience pregnancy. Designed by Takayuki Kosaka, from the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, in Atsugi, Japan, the pregnancy simulator looks a lot like the suits you put on when getting dental X-rays, but in reality it’s a lot more complex. It features a number of pouches that fill with liquid and actuators that simulate a kicking baby, in order to offer a faithful pregnancy experience for guys.

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German Designer Uses Wood as Textile Material

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Elisa Strozyk, a young designer from Germany, is able to turn blocks of wood into delicate paper-like material. So far she has created wooden rugs, bed covers, table cloths and is working on a line of wooden clothes.

Most people are familiar with the feeling of walking on wooden floors, touching tree bark or wooden furniture, but young Elisa Strozyk wanted to take this hard material and turn into something completely new – wooden fabric. She spent months working on her original idea, experimenting with different types of wood, until she settled on wood veneer. The slices of wood she uses are about 0.6 mm thick and very flexible, an essential property for her wooden textiles. But not all types of wood can be used to make wood fabric; oak, for example, is too brittle, so she prefers to use cherry and maple.

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Safety Shorts – Radiation-Proof Underwear for Mobile Phone Users

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Safety Shorts is a line of radiation-proof underwear developed by a team of young Austrian students, aged 18 to 23, that’s supposed to protect people from infertility and other medical problems caused by radiation from mobile phones and laptops.

Carry your phone in your pants’ pocket a lot? Than you’re already at risk, at least according to a series of tests that have proven cell phone radiation can be harmful. Luckily, a pair of Safety Shorts is all you need to be safe from serious and irreversible health issues like infertility and impotence. The material used to make these special garments contains silver thread which deflects 99% of the radiation emitted by mobile phones and laptops.

Rico Kogleck, one of the students involved in the project, says he came up with the idea one day, in class, when they were talking about radiation and its harmful effects. He started thinking about ways in which we could protect ourselves and came up with these radiation-proof shorts. He and four of his pals spent a year working on Safety Shorts, and even though they were disappointed a similar fabric had already been implemented in Germany, no one had used it to make boxers.

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Texas Inventor Makes Water Out of Thin Air, Beats Drought

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Terry LeBleu of Granite Shoals, Texas, is one of the few people who can honestly say he’s not worried about water restrictions in these times of drought, and that’s because he has the Drought Master, a machine that makes water out of air.

The concept of LeBleu’s water-making machine is pretty simple – the Drought Master’s generator sucks in moisture-laden air, condenses it, then exhausts the purified air and captures the water, which is filtered and ready for drinking. “These make pure water,” LeBleu says.  “The water never touches the ground.  It is strictly straight out of the air.  We have oceans of water in the air, in the sky.  All you have to do is pull it out and condense it down.” The clever invention is now on the market, and locals are already using it to beat the severe drought.

All you have to do is plug the Drought Master into an electric outlet and it will take care of the rest. According to its inventor, the machine can produce between 5 to 7 gallons of drinkable water a day, at just 4 cents of electricity cost per gallon. It beats buying bottled water from the supermarket, and LeFleur says his water samples met the standards set up by the Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Analytical Chemists, American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and the Water Pollution Control Federation. It contains no metals like zinc and copper, nor any coliform bacteria, and Terry says the company that analyzed the water likened it to sterilized distilled water.

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German Fashion Designer Creates Clothes from Milk

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Yes, that white stuff cows make. Anke Domaske, a German fashion designer/microbiologist, has found a way to create a special fiber from milk and use it to make fashionable eco-clothes.

The 28-year-old designer realized there’s more to milk than meets the eye, and since she’s always had a thing for science, she and her team spent years experimenting with turning it into eco-thread. It was a lot like experimenting ingredients you have in your cupboard, only in this case the result was truly revolutionary. They came up with a special mixture  containing a protein derived from sour milk, which is processed in a lab, near the German city of Brehmen. It’s heated up and pressed through a kind of mincing machine to create the threads. And the best thing is the milk used is low grade and would normally be thrown away.

But how does a fashion designer come up with a complicated formula for creating bio thread from milk? Anke Domaske learned to make clothes as a child, from her great grandmother, a milliner, but she also had a passion for science and even won a contest for up-and-coming scientists, as a teenager. After she finished school she went to Tokyo, Japan, where she sold t-shirts she designed herself. On her return home she began studying microbiology and set-up her own fashion label on the side. In short she managed to balance her two greatest interests and the result is astonishing.

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Japanese Clone Factory Makes Creepy Lookalike Dolls of Its Clients

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If you’ve always wanted to have yourself cloned, you’re probably going to have to wait a few more years, but in the meantime you can get a creepy doll that looks just like you, from the Clone Factory, in Japan.

Danny Choo, of Culture Japan visited the quirky Clone Factory, in Tokyo’s Akihabara district and decided to try out their services himself. Lucky for us, he also snapped some nice photos of the place and the making process of a miniature clone doll. The so-called cloning process begins with the subject sitting on a chair in a room surrounded by SLR cameras and lighting stands. After he/she has the proper pose, the cameras start triggering in a loop, taking photos from all possible angles. The photos are then transferred into a computer and a 3D model of the client’s head is rendered. Once that’s out of the way, it’s time for the actual doll-making.

This all happens in Japan, so, obviously, they have a high-tech printer that pretty much does all the work. All they have to do is connect it to the computer, insert a tray full of plaster powder and the printer creates the detailed model using layers of ink which harden in the plaster. When the tray comes out, it looks pretty much untouched, but once the excess plaster powder is removed, a creepy, smiling doll is revealed, and it looks so much like an actual person it’s not even funny.

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The Video Coat – A Wearable LED TV

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Inventor David Forbes is the proud owner of the world’s first video coat, a gadget/clothing item that allows him to display videos right on his body. Although it’s not exactly a technological breakthrough, the Video Coat scores points for geekiness and originality.

Created for the Burning Man, this wearable LED display is powered by a 12V battery and works by being plugged into an iPod or DVD player. With a resolution of 160×120, it doesn’t offer the clarity of a high definition television, but then again, you can’t really wear an HD TV either, so that makes them even. The coat was built on flex boards and expands on the back and sleeves offering a total body video experience.

The Video Coat is driven by circuit boards located on the wearer’s shoulders and hips and even comes with switches that allow you to tweak the colors. In the presentation video he made, David chose to play The Simpson on his wearable TV, because he thinks “its is the pinnacle of modern television entertainment”.

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AutoWed – A Cheap Wedding Vending Machine

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One of the most bizarre concepts introduced this year, AutoWed is essentially a wedding vending machine that will get you and your loved one hitched in minutes, for just $1.

Sure, an automated wedding machine pretty much takes all the romance out of the whole deal, but with weddings getting more and more expensive every year, people seem to be welcoming any cheap alternative with open arms. Such was the case with Concept Shed’s latest project, AutoWed. The English company managed to create what can best be described as a wedding vending machine that will do the job quicker and cheaper than a priest, minister, rabbi, or any other religious figure.

It’s part parking meter, part pink Cadillac, part cathedral and part steampunk installation, and the ceremony isn’t exactly on par with what you’ve seen at conventional weddings, but it gets the job done and for just $1. The 8-feet-tall piece of machinery features wedding music and a weird robotic voice that prompts you to press a bunch of keys in order to keep the weeding going, after you’ve inserted the mandatory coins. You start by choosing between a straight, gay or lesbian marriage and a friends forever ceremony, then you input your names and can press 1 for “I do” or 2 for “Escape”. At the end, AutoWed lets you kiss the bride and even dispenses a receipt and two plastic rings to commemorate this special day.

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A Giant iPhone 5 Made from Various Fruits and Vegetables

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Tired of waiting for the official release of Apple’s iPhone 5, the guys at TopFruit.com decided to create their own version, from fruits and vegetables.

It’s rumored Apple will release its next generation iPhone this September, but that was just too long a wait for the guys at TopFruit, who decided to create their own smartphone out of what they know best – fresh fruits and vegetables. If this organic version of the iPhone 5 is anything to go by, the real phone will be one sweet piece of hardware, literally.

And in case you were wondering, apples were used in the making of this delicious model.

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