World’s Quietest Place Lets You Hear Your Internal Organs

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The mad and hectic pace of life, sometimes makes us all crave some peace and quiet. But then, as they say, too much of a good thing can actually be bad for you. That applies to silence, as it turns out people can’t stand to be in the world’s quietest place for too long. The longest a person has lasted in there is 45 minutes.

The place I’m talking about is a room at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis. The room, also known as the ‘anechoic chamber’, is 99.99% sound absorbent. The double-insulated walls are made of steel and foot-thick concrete. Along the walls are also 3.3-foot thick fiberglass acoustic wedges that contribute to the ultra-quietness. The room holds the current Guinness World Record for being the quietest place on Earth. While it does seem like a dream come true, especially for those who live with kids or have stressful jobs, it’s actually not all that great. The room gets so silent that you can actually hear your internal organs at work. And after a while, the hallucinations begin.

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Eco-Otome – Japan’s Solution to Embarrassing Toilet Noise

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The Eco-Otome is a Japanese gizmo that’s intended to make using restrooms other than your own less awkward. Basically it emits a soothing sound meant to cover any embarrassing toilet noises you might be making.

Ok, so this isn’t a very new invention, in fact it’s been around for around three years, but I thought it was worth a mention for its unique purpose. I mean leave it to the Japanese to come up with a technological solution to the problem of bathroom noises. Anyway, whether they’re sharing a bathroom with a roommate, or need to use the restroom at a party or at work, some people are always worried about a variety of bathroom noises that could put them in an embarrassing position if they’re heard by others. Sure, flushing helps, but you need to wait until the  water bowl is full until using it again, so it’s not full-proof. Luckily, the resourceful Japanese have come up with the perfect solution – introducing the Eco-Otome.

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People CAN Fly: Man Takes Off with Custom-Made Bird Wings

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How many times have you wished you could soar through the sky like a bird, only to remind yourself that it wasn’t possible? For me, it must have been a million times. But now it doesn’t seem like such a remote possibility, not after watching this video of a man flying with a pair of custom-made wings.

Flying is something humans have been obsessed with, the one form of movement that we’ve never been able to master. Several attempts have been made over the centuries to invent the perfect set of wings that could enable man to fly independently. Now, it appears that this has finally happened, if the claims of Jarno Smeets are to be believed. The authenticity of a video he created of himself flying is being questioned, but it sure does appear like he’s doing it for real. And he looks like he’s having a hell of a time.

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Vaportrim Makes Cupcakes Inhalable, Cuts Calories to Zero

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Don’t you ever wish you could stuff your face with all kinds of delicious treats without feeling guilty about putting on weight? I know I have, and it seems now, thanks to some simple inhalers from a company called Vaportrim, we’ll be able to do just that.

Are you familiar with electronic cigarettes? They are ingenious cigarette-like gadgets designed as an alternative for smokers who just can’t shake the habit. Basically they turn a nicotine-containing liquid into vapor that is allegedly a lot safer than tobacco smoke. US-based company Vaportrim was apparently inspired by e-cigarette technology to create a similar device that is meant to help people lose weight. Their particular health-aids apparently allow users to inhale delicious sweets like vanilla cupcakes or blueberry muffins without the many calories that usually come with them. The US-based company is actually advertising its product as the world’s first calorie-free dessert. That sounds great in theory, but does it really work?

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Speech Jammer – The Wacky Japanese Device That Stops People from Talking

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Ever came across someone so annoyingly chatty that you wanted to shoot them with an invisible gun and shut them up? Well, you might just be able to, thanks to the Speech Jammer. It’s a Japanese invention that could very well be the perfect answer to all the talkative people out there. The device is said to be powerful enough to jam a person’s speech from up to 98ft away.

Sounds too good to be true, right? The inventors, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada, explain how it works. The prototype invention supposedly records the obnoxious speech with a directional microphone, adds a 0.2 second delay, and then fires it right back at the prattler with the help of a directional speaker. So there’s basically a delay between when the person says something and when they hear their own speech. This would mess with the person so bad, that they would soon be rendered speechless for a while. Perfect! But then, the device itself looks so huge and scary in its current avatar, I think people might shut up the very moment it was pointed at them.

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Euthanasia Coaster – The Roller Coaster Designed to Thrill You and Kill You

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“You are hereby sentenced to death by rollercoaster.” Sounds strange for a death sentence, I know, but it could very well be a reality. That is, if Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas’ invention – the Euthanasia Coaster – is ever created. For now, he only has a prototype of the amusement ride with the ultimate thrill, death itself.

Yes, you ride it, you die. That’s pretty much the concept of the Euthanasia Coaster. What could be scarier than this – a ride that lasts 3 minutes, the first two of which are spent slowly climbing a very steep slope. Once at the top, you still have a chance to make the ultimate decision of your life, to live or to die. Choose the latter, and you will be dropped at a high speed and then made to travel through a quick succession of loops. The spinning motion would create a centrifugal force that makes all the blood rush away from the brain, and insufficient oxygen would ultimately lead to death.

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iPhoneography – Colleges to Offer Courses in iPhone Photography

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If a filmmaker could shoot an entire movie on a smartphone, a course on iPhone Photography doesn’t really seem like a bad idea. It’s actually pretty neat that two colleges in London are planning to offer a course that’s dedicated to the ever-popular iPhone. According to course tutor Richard Gray, all you need to attend the course is a passion for photography, a creative mind and, of course, an iPhone. The course fee is £115 (that’s about $178) with an additional £20 ($30) for the purchase of required apps.

The iPhoneography course starts in a few weeks, so it’s still unclear as to who will be interested in taking it. Of course, the iPhone doesn’t compare to high-end DSLR cameras, but for photography-enthusiasts who don’t really have big bucks to spend on this kind of equipment, the course might just be pretty useful. Also, according to Gray, the iPhone camera is not to be underestimated. “With the right apps and skills, it can be a powerful creative tool,” he says, adding that “No longer do you need expensive equipment to produce great images.”

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Ultra-Resistant Kevlar Socks Make Your Feet Hobbit Tough

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Vibram Fivefingers have been around for quite some time now, but frankly, I find the sight of those ‘toe shoes’ really weird. They have been pretty popular though. and now there’s a company making socks along the same lines. They’re called Swiss Protection Socks, ant they’re part of a new range from the Swiss Barefoot Company. But it’s not just the toes that make these socks unique, it’s the fact that they don’t need to be worn with shoes. Yep, you simply put them on and go for a stroll, a run or even hike up a mountain.

The Swiss Protection Socks are being marketed by the company as the best way to get the complete barefoot experience. Apparently, there are people who love being barefoot, but can’t always do that due to the possibility of injuries. With these socks however, your feet stay well protected without the need for shoes. The special socks are made of 50% Kevlar, 32% polyester, 8% spandex, and 10% cotton. Eco friendly PVC is also used, and it provides resistance to cuts. But the big question is, are the socks puncture resistant? I seriously doubt they’d offer protection against something as sharp as broken glass.

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Creepy Geminoid-F Android Waits for a Friend

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There are horror stories and films about mannequins in store windows that come alive supernaturally. Of course these aren’t true, but what if you accidentally waved at a mannequin and it waved right back? Man, that would be just too creepy. If you happen to be in Tokyo this time of the year, however, you might just witness this happening in the store window of the Takashimaya mall in Shinjuku. No, it’s not a ghost-mannequin on display, but the Geminoid-F, an android capable of displaying human expressions and actions.

The android sits casually in the window, as though waiting for a friend. Basic emotions and behavior have been programmed into it, which is the basis of all its expressions in response to whatever is happening around it. So you will be able to see it twitch its eyebrows, smile, frown and occasionally even wave at passersby. Not like a robot though, but like a real human being.

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India’s Fascinating Fortune-Telling Robots

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Indians have long since been passionate about predicting the future. Horoscopes are created with the help of an astrologer on the very day a child is born and these documents are consulted from time to time during major milestones of a person’s life. Especially when a match is made as a part of an arranged marriage, an astrologer is duly consulted to make sure the horoscopes of the bride and groom are compatible with each other.

While all this may seem very strange to an outsider, for Indians it’s a part of normal and natural life. In fact , progress in terms of fortune-telling technology has been made too. In several homes, local astrologers have been replaced by computer software that serves the same purpose. One simply needs to enter their name and time/date of birth to receive a complete report of their past, present and future.

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Kissenger – The Long-Distance Kiss Messenger

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Hooman Samani, an artificial intelligence researcher in Singapore, has developed a kiss-transmission robot messenger that can emulate and transmit a kiss over long distances. It’s called the Kissenger.

About a year ago, I wrote an article about young Japanese student working on an experimental device able to transmit  kisses over long distances. His machine looked pretty awful, and I remember thinking “the concept is interesting but that thing will never go into production”. Hooman Samani’s “Kissenger”,on the other hand, looks a lot more commercial, and could actually prove a hit, especially in some Asian countries where goofy technological breakthroughs are very popular. His new kiss-transmitting device is about the size of a softball, is shaped like a bunny, and features a pair of artificial lips that are highly touch-sensitive. Sound good? Wait till you see how it works.

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Gympact App Makes You Pay for Skipping Workouts

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Money is one of the best motivators for most people. And when money is tied to something like fitness? Well, you’re bound to get fit. Here’s a system that pays you when you workout and takes away your money when you don’t.

GymPact is an iPhone application started by a couple of young Harvard graduates – Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer. The entire concept is based on the idea that people do not like to lose money. Zhang, an economics major, says, “Behavioral economics show that if you tie cash incentives to things that are concrete and easy to achieve like getting to the gym, it’s very effective. People don’t like losing money and it’s one of the strongest motivators, much more than winning money.” The app is free to use and has a database that covers over 40,000 gyms. That’s more than 70% of the gyms in the U.S. If your gym isn’t listed, you can add it to the app. You pay money when you don’t work out and the amount that’s pooled up from the non-exercisers is divided up between those who do workout. A cut from that amount is taken by the company as profits. So let’s take a quick look at how the system works.

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MIT Develops Suit That Lets You Feel What It’s Like to Be 75 Years Old

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If you’ve ever wondered why your ageing parents or grandparents aren’t as fit and fast as they used to be, here’s a way to find out exactly what they go through each day. An age suit developed at MIT allows the people wearing it to live life as an aged person.

The MIT AgeLab is a part of the Engineering Systems Division, and works on improving the way services are delivered and products are designed for the elderly. The recent creation of the AgeLab is AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System), a suit designed to provide an experience of the flexibility, dexterity, strength, motor and visual skills of a person in their mid-70s. AGNES comes at a highly relevant time, when the population of people over 65 years of age has been rapidly on the rise. It is expected to hit 72.1 million by the year 2030. This increases the design challenges faced by engineers and designers to create products that cater to the older demographic.

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Japanese Company Offers Single-Person Karaoke Rooms

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We now have one more reason to visit Japan – private Karaoke rooms.

Do you find yourself wishing that you could have had a little more practice before getting up to karaoke before all your friends? Or are you just a bathroom singer who prefers to sing alone, along with just music and lyrics? Either way, private karaoke rooms could be just as fun and exciting for you. The single-person karaoke room, also known as ’1Kara’ in Japan, was launched late November, and has been gaining in popularity. The store is located in front of Kanda station in Tokyo and offers small, solo rooms, equipped with a table, chair, microphones, headphones and a small screen.

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EyeAsteroids – World’s First and Only Eye-Controlled Arcade Video Game

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Progress in the world of gaming and technology has brought us nothing other than amazement over the years. The latest awesome feat of gaming is beyond awesome as the Tobii EyeAsteroids pushes you to take a different look at gaming, literally. Based on one of the best games in history, Asteroids, the new arcade game features a special controller – your eyes.

Using some special sensors and software, the game tracks the motion of your eyes and then interprets it as input commands for the game. The Tobii EyeAsteroids is a game that simply implies you looking at it. There’s no button mashing or jumping up and down to control the game. It seems to be the perfect gaming system to indulge in laziness while safely avoiding carpal tunnel problems. It’s also a definite eye catcher system that can be both weird and addictive at the same time.

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