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Modern Scarecrows Use Lasers to Keep Hungry Birds At Bay

We are always looking for new and innovative ways to harness technology, and the industry of farming is no exception. A blueberry farm in Oregon was having big problems with birds stealing up to 25% of their crops and this year, they addressed the problem using a somewhat unconventional new technology.

At the start of the blueberry growing season, the farm installed 6 Agrilaser Autonomics—automated laser guns which are mounted on a pedestal. These laser guns shoot a steady green laser beam across the bushes. The birds seem to mistake the laser for an incoming predator, and will immediately flee whenever the laser comes close to them.

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Billion Dollar Real Estate Company Ditches Physical Offices for Virtual Reality Campus

eXp Realty, one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful real estate companies, has become famous for not investing in any actual real-estate, opting instead for virtual reality offices that allow its agents and brokers to interact and socialize from anywhere around the globe.

Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty’s founder and CEO, founded the company a decade ago, soon after the real estate market collapse of 2007. He couldn’t afford to buy or rent office space, and figured that focusing on a system that allowed his team to work remotely would help the company avert disaster, should another real-estate crisis occur in the future. So eXp Realty relied on services like Google Docs and spreadsheets, project management solutions like Trello, and communications app Slack to help its workforce work together without actually sharing the same space. But three years ago, the company took this remote collaboration system to a whole new level, by building a campus complete with offices, meeting rooms, auditoriums, lounges and more, in virtual reality.

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This Japanese Gadget Tells You How Bad You Stink

Body odor is a very serious issue, so serious in fact that there is actually a market for high-tech devices that alert users if they start to stink.

The problem with body odor is that you can’t really smell is on yourself, and in an exceptionally polite society like Japan’s that can put people in uncomfortable situations. Carrying a bottle of deodorant on you at all times during the summer is quite common in Japan, but putting on too much of that stuff too often can irritate the skin or stain clothing, so it’s not exactly a fool-proof solution. If only we had a way of knowing when we smell, and how bad… Thankfully, Japanese wellness device maker Tanita just unveiled its newest creation, a handheld smell checker that analyzes body odor and ranks its intensity on a scale of 1 to 10.

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Millionaire Teen Builds Functional Dr. Octopus Suit

Erik Finman, the world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire, recently made headlines for creating a real-life, functional version of Dr. Octopus’ iconic four-arm prosthesis for a young Marvel fan who also suffers from hypermobility symptoms.

19-year-old Finman, who got his start in cryptocurrency when he was only 12, by investing  a $1,000 gift from his grandmother in Bitcoin, is now worth around $3 million, and is considered one of the world’s most influential teenagers. He has been involved in several projects over the last few years, from start-ups to an ongoing collaboration with NASA, but his most exciting venture yet has to be transforming a 10-year-old comics fan into a real-life version of Marvel villain Dr. Octopus with the help of an intriguing prosthesis.

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Meet Norman, the World’s First Psychopath AI

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have trained an artificial intelligence algorithm  to become a psychopath by exposing it to gruesome and violent images on popular social network Reddit.

Called Norman, after the iconic Anthony Perkins character in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho”, the AI was trained to perform image captioning, a popular deep learning method of generating a textual description of an image. But there was a fun twist – for an extended period of time, Norman was only exposed to gruesome and violent images from an infamous subreddit dedicated to documenting and observing the disturbing reality of death. Researchers then used Rorsach inkblots to compare Norman to other AI which hadn’t been exposed to the same gruesome images.

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Chinese School Uses Facial Recognition to Monitor Students’ Attention in Class

Students at the No. 11 Middle School in Hangzhou, China, may want to think twice before dozing off or getting distracted in class as a new facial recognition system will be scanning their faces every 30 seconds to make sure they are paying attention.

Called a “smart classroom behavior management system”, the new monitoring solution recently installed at Hangzhou’s No. 11 Middle School is made up of three high-tech cameras positioned above the blackboard that constantly feed information to an AI-powered software that analyzes the students’ facial expressions and general behavior and assesses whether they are enjoying lessons or if their minds are wandering.

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BloxVox – A Bane-Like Mask That Muffles Speech for Private Phone Calls

Having to take a private call in a crowded workplace can be pretty awkward, but thanks to BolxVox, a special mask-like device that muffles speech, you can now talk as loud as you want without worrying about others hearing your conversation.

BloxVox is the brainchild of Greg Umhoefer, a financial technology expert who dedicated the last few years of his life to solving his “favorite” office problem – phone call privacy. Having worked in offices all over the world, Umhoefer constantly experienced this problem first-hand. Whenever he had to make or take a private phone call, he had to get up from his desk, find a quiet place, and often take his laptop and other peripherals with him. He describes the situation as inefficient and “frankly ridiculous”, so after researching the issue and learning that it was common in offices around the globe, he decided to find a practical solution.

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High-Tech Movie Has Five Different Endings, Depending on Who Is Watching It

The Angry River is a short interactive film that uses eye-tracking technology and artificial intelligence to gauge who the viewer looks at and where their eyes linger most on screen. The film then edits itself into one of five possible storylines, to suit the viewer’s interest.

The Angry River is basically a film with the interactivity of a multiple-ending video game, only instead of using a controller or a keyboard to make choices that impact the storyline, you do it with your eyes instead. Armen Perian, the filmmaker behind this groundbreaking project says that he was inspired by something one of the members of his editing team said three years ago. It sounded crazy at the time, but a seed was planted in Perian’s head, and with the advancement in artificial intelligence, that crazy idea became reality.

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Chinese Companies Equip Workers with Brainwave Reading Helmets to Increase Productivity

It sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, but according to recent news reports, Chinese companies are using special helmets to monitor workers’ brain activity in order to reduce stress, manipulate break times with the ultimate goal of increasing productivity.

The South China Morning Post recently reported employee brainwave monitoring in China is used on an unprecedented scale. Sensors concealed in work helmets and lightweight hats constantly monitor and collect workers’ brain activity, which is then fed into computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms that detect “emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage”. This data is then used by management to adjust the work schedule and pace of production or to change working conditions in order to increase productivity.

Hangzhou-based State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power  is one of the many companies relying on employee brainwave monitoring, and according to Cheng Jingzhou, the official in charge of the “emotional surveillance program”, it has definitely paid off. The company’s 40,000 employees manage the power supply and distribution network to homes and businesses in Hangzhou province, and this program has allowed them to that to a higher standard.

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Japanese Engineer Builds 28-Foot-Tall Functional Gundam Mecha Robot

As a child growing up in Japan, engineer Masaaki Nagumo always dreamed of climbing into his very own Mobile Suit Gundam mecha. As an adult, he finally made that dream a reality.

Nagumo created the 28-foot-tall, 7-tonne-heavy LW-Mononofu robot as a project for his employer, industrial machinery maker Sakakibara Kikai, in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture. The metal colossus took six years to finish, and is probably the world’s largest anime-inspired robot that you can actually ride in and control. It can move its arms and fingers, turn its upper body, and walk forward and backward at a snail-like speed of 1km/hour. As any respectable mecha, it also has a weapon – a metal gun that fires sponge balls at a speed of 87 mph.

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Tiny Tank That Can Move 9,000-Pound Trailers Proves Size Doesn’t Matter

Parking a large trailer in a tight garage can be a daunting task for even the most experienced drivers, but thanks to the new Trailer Valet RVR robot-tank, it’s as easy as maneuvering an radio-controlled car.

The RVR may look like one of those RC vehicles you used to play with as a child, but it is actually and incredibly strong vehicle capable of moving trailers as heavy as 9,000 pounds. All you have to do is attach it to your trailer and use a remote control to have it move, turn and park it in even the tightest of spaces. Powered by up to four powerful planetary gear motors and featuring heavy-duty caterpillar treads that allow it to do its job on multiple surfaces – asphalt, grass, dirt or gravel – this thing is a modern version of the little engine that could.

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Russian Company Offers Parents Gold Plated 3D-Printed Models of Their Unborn Children

Mothers who can’t wait to hold their babies until they are actually born can now fulfill their greatest dream with the help of 3D-printed, life-size models of their unborn children based on ultrasound imagery.

Embryo 3D is not the world’s first company to offer parents 3D-printed plastic models of their soon-to-be-born children, but it claims to offer the highest degree of realism, not to mention several choices of material, from basic plastic to gold or silver-plated plaster. They apparently use advanced ultrasound technology that offers an incredibly detailed 3D image of the baby, including face, hands, feet and umbilical cord.

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This Company Claims They Can Preserve Your Brain for Future Use. But First They Have to Kill You

Just because your body will eventually wither away and die doesn’t mean your brain and all the memories stored in it have to. At least that’s the pitch made California-based company Nectome, which claims to perfectly preserve clients brains for use in the future when technology will allow all the information stored in them to be transferred to a computer.

Nectome claims that we will one day be able to survey the brain’s connectome – the neural connections within the brain – so thoroughly as to reconstruct a person’s memories long after they have died. That day is still a long way away, but Nectome is offering to preserve people’s brain in such a way that when the aforementioned technology becomes available, they can be among the first to resume their lives as computer programs, or even something more.

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$11,000 Smart Toilet Basically Does Everything But Poop for You

The bathroom was one of the few places that technology had not been very successful in infiltrating, but with Japanese smart toilets gaining in popularity around the world, this last bastion is about to fall. And if you’re wondering what makes smart toilets so special, just check out the smartest of them all, the Toto Neorest NX2.

Quite frankly, there’s not a lot this toilet can’t do. It automatically lifts the seat as you approach it, and if you program it too, it can even heat up the toilet seat instantly, so that you don’t get those harmless but annoying goose-bumps on your legs when you sit on it. Once you’ve finished your “business”, you don’t need to use toilet paper to clean yourself, as the Neorest is more than happy to do it for you with gentle beams of purified water. And since leaving you with a wet behind just isn’t very practical, the smart toilet also features a built-in dryer.

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Innovative Heater Pays for Itself by Mining Cryptocurrency While Generating Warmth

The Quarnot QC-1 is advertised as the world’s first crypto-heater, allowing consumers to mine cryptocurrencies and utilize the heat generated by two on-board graphics cards for heating their homes.

Heat generation is one of the biggest challenges cryptocurrency miners have to deal with. Large crypto farms have to invest in expensive venting and cooling solutions to make sure that all the heat produced by their mining rigs dissipates properly, but usually all that heat is just wasted. Now, French company Quarnot Computing claims to have come up with a solution that effectively turns the heat generated by a mining device from an expense into a usable resource.

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