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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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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