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 In several homes, local astrologers have been replaced by computer software that serves the same purpose.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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Designer Builds Functional Sound System from 5,000 Recycled Beer Cans

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Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki teamed up with Mathew Kneebone to create an incredible beer can sound system for Red Stripe’s “Make Something Out of Nothing” project.

Suzuki and Kneebone were commissioned by Red Stripe, Jamaica’s most popular beer, to use their talents and create a work that reflects Jamaican DIY culture. The two came up with a sound system inspired by the towering, bass-driven sound systems that started out in the ghettos of Kingston and nowadays provide the rhythm of Jamaica street life. Because they can’t get their hands on expensive materials needed to build sound systems, Jamaican reggae groups often have to improvise and make them from scratch, using all kinds of stuff that doesn’t usually serve as components. This inspired the artistic duo to create their own DIY sound system from recycled Red Stripe beer cans.

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Chinese Art Student Builds Home-Made iPad for His Girlfriend

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Owning an Apple iPad is not such a big deal these days, but building one for scratch is definitely an impressive feat. That’s exactly what Chinese art student Wei Xinlong did, in the name of love.

Like many other college sweethearts in China, Wei Xinlong and Sun Shasha decided to settle for a long distance relationship in order to continue their studies or find better employment opportunities, after graduation. While some choose to end the relationship before parting ways, or reach that point after a certain period, Wei was determined to show his girlfriend how committed he is to their relationship and decided to prove it in a very special way. Although he attended art school, the young student had always been passionate about gadgets and loved building things with his own hands, so he set out to build Sun a touchscreen tablet PC for a daily video chat session. This way, when he leaves to Shenzen, they’ll be able to keep in touch easier.

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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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