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26-Year-Old Hacker Builds Self-Driving Car That Teaches Itself to Drive Like a Human

While companies like Google, Tesla, and Mercedes are spending millions on research and development of self-driving cars, a 26-year-old hacker from San Francisco believes he might just have nailed the technology all on his own. George Hotz, previously known for his legendary iPhone jailbreaking skills, says he has developed autonomous car technology that actually works. What’s more, the technology only costs a few thousand dollars, and can be implemented on any car in the world.

Hotz, who at age 17 became the first person in the world to unlock an iPhone, also hacked a Sony Playstation 3 a few years later. He’s worked briefly at Google, SpaceX, and Facebook, but after studying artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University, he decided to work on his own self-driving car technology. Once perfected, he plans to sell the system directly to customers through his startup, comma.ai.

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Man Embarrassed to Use Selfie Stick Creates Ridiculously-Long Selfie Arm Instead

A Japanese man named Mansun has invented a new contraption that’s supposed to be an improvement on selfie sticks. It’s called the ‘selfie arm’, and as the name suggests, it’s a super-long stick fitted with a fake hand.

Mansun said that he felt compelled to invent the device because he was too embarrassed to use selfie sticks in public. But he might just have made things worse for himself, because selfie arms are way more ridiculous – they’re just selfie sticks concealed inside an altered shirt with extremely long sleeves and fake hands attached at the ends. Thankfully, he isn’t planning to mass produce the device, but he’s provided detailed pictures for anyone who might be interested in making their own set of arms.

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Introducing Rex Specs – Protective Sunglasses for Dogs

A dog-loving couple from Wyoming have invented a revolutionary new product in canine care – doggy protective sunglasses. The sporty goggles are meant to shield dogs’ eyes from intense sunlight and other harmful effects that can cause eye problems. Priced at $79.95 a pair, ‘Rex Specs’ are made with polycarbonate lenses and a soft foam frame that snugly fits on the muzzle so that dogs can freely open their mouths.

Aiden Doane, 31, and Jesse Emilo, 33, said they got the idea for Rex Specs after their own dogs developed eye ailments because of extensive hiking in the mountains in Jackson, Wyoming. Their German Shepherd got Pannus – an eye inflammation caused by UV rays, while their fair-skinned husky suffered from chronic sunburn around the eyes. The couple realised that protective gear could have prevented the ailments, but they couldn’t find high-quality goggles specially designed for canine use.

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Japanese Company Creates Socks That Keep Bad Foot Odor at Bay

Thanks to a new Japanese invention, smelly, sweaty feet might just become a thing of the past. ‘Curetex’ socks, created by product design shop Muse Ricette, work as a sweat absorbent, deodorant, humidity controller, and UV block. 

The socks are made using a special Japanese paper called Washi fiber, which is believed to have antiseptic and anti-odor properties. It absorbs moisture, bacteria, and bad odor, keeping feet fresh and clean all the time.  “The socks are based on a very old traditional Japanese paper called Washi,” said product designer Aiko Yukawa. “It was used 1,500 years ago to make summer kimonos. It was found to have properties of antiseptic, anti-odor, UV block, and humidity control. It used to be mixed with other fabrics because it was so hard, but we have developed a soft fiber called curetex yam.”

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The Pages of This “Drinkable Book” Make Contaminated Water Drinkable

‘The Drinkable Book’ is a new invention that could potentially save millions of lives around the world. Its pages are made of treated paper that can purify water when passed through, killing over 99% of bacteria.

The book is the result of postdoctoral researcher Theresa Dankovich’s hard work. For several years, she developed and tested the technology, working at McGill University in Canada and at the University of Virginia. The pages of the book contain nanoparticles of silver or copper, which are responsible for killing bacteria. The microscopic organisms absorb the silver or copper ions as they percolate through the page.

“Ions come off the surface of the nanoparticles, and those are absorbed by the microbes,” Dr. Dankovich said. “All you need to do is tear out a paper, put it in a simple filter holder and pour water into it from rivers, streams, wells, etc. and out comes clean water – and dead bacteria as well,” she explained.

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The WalkCar, a Japanese Gadget Designed to Make Walking Obsolete

Thanks to Japanese engineer Kuniako Saito’s new invention, walking could soon become a thing of the past. He’s created a portable transportation device called ‘WalkCar’, which he describes as the world’s first ‘car in a bag’.

The WalkCar is about the size of a laptop, and is somewhat similar to a skateboard in terms of functionality. According to Saito, the gadget is very easy to use – just stand on it and it starts, step off it and it stops. To change directions, users simply have to shift their weight towards the left or right. Uphill or downhill travel can be achieved by applying pressure forwards or backwards.

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Chinese Man Builds ‘World’s Longest Seesaw’ to Play with Son Living 730 Miles Away

30-year-old Liu Haibin is being hailed as the world’s coolest dad after he built an innovative seesaw that allows him to play with his toddler son who lives with his mother over 700 miles away.

While Chinese media is referring to Liu’s invention as the ‘world’s longest seesaw’, in reality, it consists of two identical seesaws equipped with motion sensors. One is placed in Tengzhou City, where Liu’s wife and eight-month-old son live. The other is with Liu, who lives in Xiamen City, 730 miles away. Through wireless internet signals and remote synchronization sensor data, the seesaws are perfectly synchronized. HD monitors on both seesaws enable father and son to see and interact with each other as they play.

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Teenagers Create Innovative Door Handle That Kills 99.8 Percent of Germs

A couple of teen geniuses from Hong Kong have invented a product that could revolutionize the world of hygiene and infection control. They’ve created a door handle that instantly destroys germs every time it is touched by human hands.

The two kids – 17-year-old Sun Ming (‘Simon’) Wong and 18-year-old King Pong (‘Michael’) Li – are students at Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School, in Tuen Mun, China. They realised that everyday objects such as doorknobs, handrails, shopping cart handles, and counter-tops are breeding grounds for millions of germs, so they set out to explore the possibility of creating self-disinfecting surfaces that remain germ-free all the time.

After considerable research, Simon and Michael found out that titanium dioxide is an amazing bacteria-killer. So they ground the mineral into a very fine powder to use as a coating for the handle. They also discovered that titanium dioxide is more effective when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. This posed a challenge: sunlight is a natural source of UV rays, but door handles are generally used indoors. So they had to come up with an energy-efficient artificial source of UV rays.

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This Electric Thinking Cap Boosts Learning and Decision Making

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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Forget about Dirty Dishes – Belgian Designers Create Edible Tableware

A couple of Belgian designers have come up with a new range of edible food containers that are eco-friendly, taste good, and most importantly, save people from the misery of doing dishes.

The young entrepreneurs – Helene Hoyois and Thibaut Gilquin – got the idea after hosting a party one night, after which they found themselves facing a mountain of dirty dishes to that needed cleaning. Instinctively, Thibaut turned to Helene and asked: “And if we eat the dishes?”

He was only joking at first, but the duo soon started to take the idea seriously. After a few trials, they finally managed to come up with a viable concept – containers made from a combination of potato starch, water and oil. The material is tough enough to retain all sorts of foods and sauces, but is also easily digestible.

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Futuristic Bionic Boots Literally Put a Spring in Your Step

‘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

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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Japanese Company Creates Creepy Hugging Chair for the Lonely

Nothing compares to the warm hug of a real person, but when there’s no one else around, this nifty little Japanese invention can do the job quite well. It’s called the ‘tranquility chair’ – its back is shaped like a giant human doll with a friendly face and long arms that can wrap around you in an affectionate embrace.

The chair is the brainchild of Japanese company UniCare – they’re selling the product for 46,000 yen ($ 419) at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo. “It makes you feel safe,” said a UniCare spokesperson. “Anyone can use it, but it is designed for older people.”

Given that a quarter of Japan’s population is currently over the age of 65, and the number is expected to rise to 40 percent in coming decades, the tranquility chair is really quite apt for the Japanese market. The company has come up with a host of similar products, like ‘Life Rhythm Dolls’ that are programmed to remind owners to take their medicine or go to the toilet.

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Dutch Teen Turns Dead Pet Hamster into World’s First Ratcopter

Devastated by his pet rat’s death, 13-year-old Pepeijn Bruins decided to do something really special for his furry friend. So he turned to Dutch inventors Arjen Beltman and Bart Jansen for help. Soon, Ratjetoe the rat was stuffed and converted into the world’s first radio-controlled ‘ratcopter’.

Bart and Arjen have a special talent for making dead animals fly; previously, we’d written about how they converted a dead ostrich and a cat into weird helicopters. Their last project was a flying jet powered shark. And they’ve done it again, this time helping a young boy overcome his grief over losing his best friend.

“I loved him very much,” said Pepeijn, who had to have the cancer-stricken rat put down. “He always liked to be cuddled and he would run up my clothes and hide. When I learned he had cancer and the vet had to put him to sleep I was very upset. I had seen Bart and Arjen and their flying cat, and I asked my dad if it would be possible to have the rat fly.”

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16-Year-Old Creates Revolutionary Flashlight Powered Solely by Body Heat

16-year-old Ann Makosinski, from Victoria, Canada, has come up with a marvelous invention – a flashlight powered solely by body-heat. Her project won second prize at a local science fair, and made it all the way to the 2013 Google Science Fair, where she was declared the winner for her age group. She also updated it to a handsfree version this year – a body-heat powered headlamp, for which she won the 2014 Weston Youth Innovation Award.

Ann’s project is truly remarkable for its sheer simplicity and brilliance. I mean, it isn’t every day that you come across a light source that doesn’t use batteries, solar power, or wind energy. The device just powers on as soon as you hold it in your palm. If that isn’t genius, I don’t know what is!

The secret behind Ann’s invention is thermoelectric technology, and devices called Peltier tiles. And it’s really surprising that no one’s ever thought to use that kind of technology to power a flashlight before. Think of all the AA batteries we could avoid using!

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