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

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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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Struggling Korean Baseball Team Replaces Fans with Cheering Robots

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A struggling South Korean Major League baseball team has come up with a novel idea to boost players’ morale. They’re replacing human fans with robots called ‘Fanbots’, all in a bid to improve the atmosphere at their matches.

The promo video for ‘Fanbot – the world’s first cheering robot’ rides high on the emotions involved while watching a match. “Fans of Hanwha Eagles always come to the stadium to cheer for the team,” the video states. “But those who cannot come to the stadium watch the game on the web or on their phones and cheer through commenting online. What if there was a robot cheering for those fans?”

It’s not easy being a fan of the Hanwha Eagles – most fans are subject to ridicule because of the team’s poor performance. The Hanwha Eagles have suffered over 400 losses in the past five years. Fans of the team are regarded with sympathy – they’ve even been dubbed ‘Buddhist Saints’ and ‘Hanwha Chickens’ by fans of other teams. The humiliation has been so great that many fans don’t feel like attending games anymore. Others simply do not have the time.

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Engineers Build Coolest Water Gun Ever

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Finally, we have an engineer who’s putting his degree to proper use! 27-year-old Londoner Alex Bygrave has used all his technical know-how to come up with the ultimate invention – an awesome Gatling water gun. Believed to be the world’s most sophisticated Gatling-style weapon of its kind, the gun features a 10-liter water tank, six barrels and a 40-foot firing range.

Alex spent 50 hours designing and building the pistol from scratch, making use of 55 separate parts made of everyday objects. “I had to first break down the mechanics of how the Gatling gun worked, and then build it up using a mix of all sorts of components,” he said.

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The Most Connected Man in the World Uses 700 Sensors and Systems to Record Every Detail of His Existence

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They say meditation can make you self-aware, but it looks like technology can do the job too! 45-year-old American software developer Chris Dancy, the world’s most connected human being, uses a range of sensors, devices, services and apps that gather real-time data about his activities and the environment around him. A total of 700 systems monitor his every mood and move, and being ‘the most quantified human’ has helped him know himself better than ever before. “I spent the last four years connecting all the devices that I wear to all the smart technology in my home, and piping all that data through to a single online platform, so I can search my entire life. I call it my ‘inner-net’,” he said.

Dancy doesn’t just stay connected for fun, he puts all the data to good use. By constantly monitoring his movements and eating habits, he has managed to lose 100 pounds. “I now know what to drink, what to eat, when to sleep and when to actually make myself get up. Very simple things like that,” he said. “It’s body and mind hacking. Just like we hack computers and any type of data, your body and your mind is the greatest information system humanity has ever known and understanding it makes it hackable.”

“When I touch something, I try to make sure it’s a something that I can get information out of so I can track, then search it, visualize it and share it with people who might want that piece of it,” Dancy added. He got the idea to stay connected after realizing that he was putting a lot of information online and if one of these services went out of business, relevant information would be lost. “It really started with me having a desire to digitally collect what I was creating.”

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Color Blind Artist Implants Antenna in His Skull to HEAR Colors

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Did you know that colors can be seen as well as heard? Well, now you do, thanks to 31-year-old Neil Harbisson, a color blind artist who spent years looking for a way of experiencing the colors of the world around him. For the past 10 years, Neil has been wearing an external electronic eye that picks up the frequencies of the colors before him and converts them into sound vibrations that he can hear. Initially he wore the device outside his head. But later, the London-based artist convinced surgeons to implant the chip int his skull to be able to perceive more intricate colors.

The idea for the device came about when Neil heard a cybernetics talk by computer scientist Adam Montandon at Dartington College of Arts in 2003. The pair then collaborated to create the device and Neil ended up memorizing various frequencies so he could recognize colors. So he still couldn’t see the colors, he could now hear and identify them. Neil, who was born with achromatopsia (a rare condition that allows him to see only black or white), said during a talk in 2012: “For me the sky is always grey, flowers are always grey and television is black and white.”

“But since the age of 21 instead of seeing color I can hear color. So I’ve been hearing color all the time for eight years so I find it completely normal to hear it all the time. At the start I had to memorize the names you have for each color and the notes but after some time all this information became a perception and I didn’t have to think about the notes and after some time this became a feeling. I started to have favorite colors and I started to dream in color.”

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Jesus-Inspired Miracle Machine Turns Water into Wine

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Up until a few days ago, Jesus was the only one who could turn water into wine. Now it seems anyone can do it. All they need is one of these $499 miracle bottles, water and some special ingredients. The aptly named Miracle Machine is pretty straightforward – water goes in, wine comes out. And there’s a sachet of flavors for various types of wines, of course, as with all instant foods. Created by the founders of a California company called Customvine, Miracle Machine is currently up on Kickstarter for much needed funding.

To use Miracle Machine, all you need to do is add the ingredients sachet to the bottle, choose the type and style of wine from a menu, add water and start the machine. Then, all you need to do is wait. Thankfully, the waiting period isn’t a pain – you don’t have to keep opening the bottle to check if the wine’s ready. Instead, you can connect the bottle to your smartphone, and an app will monitor the progress for you. It will alert you when the fermentation is complete (a process that takes about three days), and the wine is ready to consume.

Kevin Boyer, CEO of Customvine, is a sommelier who also founded the Boyanci winery in Napa Valley. Miracle Machine is his brainchild, in collaboration with Philip James, a British entrepreneur and founder of the wine site Lot18. “Just like a Bible miracle, it literally turns water into wine, with just the addition of a few ingredients in a fraction of the time and cost it would normally take,” said Boyer.

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African City Replaces Traffic Lights with Intimidating Robots

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The intersection of Boulevard Triomphal and Huileries Avenue in Kinshasa, Congo, has two new additions – robot traffic policemen. These large robocops have replaced human police officers and traffic lights, and, believe it or not, they’re actually doing a great job.

At first glance, the robocops don’t look like much. They appear to be rudimentary tin boxes with attached tin hands. I’d say they have a scarecrow-like effect. But commuters have responded surprisingly well to the latest technology.

Demouto Motumbo, a resident of Kinshasa, said: “As a motorcyclist I’m very happy with the robot’s work. Because when traffic police control the cars here there’s still a lot of traffic. But since the robot arrived, we see truly that the commuters are respectful.”

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The European Space Agency Has a Sound System So Powerful It Can Kill You

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For those of you who like your music loud, here’s a fun fact: sound can kill! Only if it’s greater than 135 decibels, that is. You’re not likely to get such high-power sound waves on your iPod, but there does exist a sound system that could kill you – the European Space Agency’s monster sound horn.

The horn is the most powerful of its kind in Europe. When turned to maximum volume, there’s absolutely no chance of survival. It is a part of ESA’s Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF), a test chamber used to perform acoustic noise tests on spacecrafts to make sure no damage occurs during rocket launches.

The sound test chamber is 16.4 m tall, 11 m wide and 9 m deep; one of its walls houses the massive horn. When nitrogen is shot through the horn, it can produce incredibly powerful sound – over 154 decibels. The effect is something like standing close to multiple jets taking off at once – enough to permanently deafen a human.

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Thai Tech Company Turns Motorcycle Wheels into Cool LED Screens

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‘Wheelies’ are the latest accessories for motorcycles, developed by World Moto, a Bangkok-based tech company. Their invention allows bikers to convert a bike’s front wheels into full color LED screens – displaying mobile billboards, videos, animation or text of their choice. What’s great about Wheelies is that the display is stationary even when the wheels are in motion.

According to Paul Giles, CEO of World Moto, “The technology has the potential to turn essentially any wheel in the world into a brilliant, full-color billboard or video screen.” He said that the idea could appeal to motorcyclists who want to put a face on their wheels. “It gives their bike a face, sort of like an avatar.”

The ad for the product is amusing – it shows a gang of ‘hot’ girls choosing a geek on a motorcycle with Wheelies, over a cool biker dude. Wheelies are fun and quirky, and can show 30 seconds of video on a loop, managed by a web application. But they’re still in development stage. World Moto hopes to evolve the product to be able to stream video and play full length movies. Very practical. Not.

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High-Tech Sweater Displays Wearer’s Emotions via Integrated LED Lights

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If you’ve always struggled to express your emotions, then you should seriously consider getting the Mood Sweater to do it for you. Sensoree, a San Francisco-based company, has created a new line of high-tech sweaters that display the wearer’s moods.

Along with the sweater, you need to wear a sensor on your hand. Information about your emotions are transmitted to the collar, embedded with LED lights that glow in a variety of colors. The wide turtleneck is white when unused, but glows in various colors, according to the wearer’s mood, when worn.

The emotive display is color coded: green for tranquil, Zen; blue for calm, relaxed; purple for ruffled, aroused or excited; red for nervous, in love; yellow for nirvana, ecstatic, blissful. The technology in the sweater is similar to that used in some lie detectors – it gathers information from the wearer’s sweat glands.

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Israeli Restaurant Offers 50% Discount to Patrons Who Turn Off Their Phones

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Restaurant owner Jawdat Ibrahim is making his patrons an offer they cannot refuse – switch off your mobile, reduce your bill by half.

Ibrahim thinks smartphones have completely destroyed the dining experience. “Technology is very good. But just when you eat, just especially when you are with your family and your friends, you can wait for half-an-hour and enjoy the food and the company,” he says. “A lot of people, they sit down and they don’t enjoy their food.”

I must admit he does have a point there. These days, almost everyone looks more at their phones than the people beside them. Ibrahim is dismayed when he sees married couples or friends sitting in silence, staring at their screens and finally asking for their food to be reheated.

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240-Year-Old Writer Automaton is the Ancestor of Today’s Computers

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“The Writer” is a clockwork automaton created in the 1770s by the Swiss-born famous watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The mechanism, designed to write words and sentences of up to 40 characters, still works perfectly after almost 240 years, baffling everyone with its complexity. The very concept of a machine that could mechanically reproduce the human act of writing was well ahead of its time. Moreover, it must have taken a lot of time, patience and resourcefulness not only to put the idea into practice and build the mechanism, but also to give the machine the look of a boy.

The Writer uses cam technology: as the cams move, the cam followers interpret their trajectory and move the boy’s arm accordingly. The cams play an important part in the mechanism because they control not just the strokes of the pen, but also its pressure on the paper. Indeed, as Professor Simon Schaffer states in BBC Four’s documentary “Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams”, The Writer is “one of the most remarkable realizations of cam technology”. Another fascinating detail regarding the mechanism of the automaton is that it can write any word (and, therefore, any sentence) and follow the text with its eyes. What makes this possible is the fact that the wheel controlling the cams is composed of signs and letters that can easily be re-arranged in any order to form various combinations. Actually, the fact that it is “programmable” makes The Writer the ancestor of modern computers.

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The Danbocchi – A $600 Cardboard Box for People Who Value Their Privacy

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You know those moments when you’re surrounded by a sea of people and all you can think about is being alone in a tiny room? Ok, maybe that’s just me, but he point is now you can isolate yourself from the world pretty much anywhere and anytime, thanks to the Danbocchi. This ordinary-looking cardboard box is is soundproofed up to 30 decibels, so as long as you do it in a low voice, you can talk to yourself, scream, or sing without worrying about people hearing you.

The Danbocchi might seem like the perfect accessory for hikikomori, Japan’s reclusive youth, but in fact, it was designed for ordinary people who want to sing karaoke or play video games at high volume without disturbing their neighbors. If you live in an apartment with really thin walls, you probably know how annoying loud neighbors are, particularly at night, but thanks to the Danbocchi sound-dampening box, noise is no longer a problem. Just step inside, close the door, and be as loud as you can. According to the Danbocchi official site, if someone is singing karaoke at 90 decibels inside the box, it only sounds like 60 decibels to people outside of it, which is about a normal speaking volume.

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The Final Countdown – Creepy Death Watch Counts Down to Your Death

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If you’re 30 and still living with your mom, unmotivated to go out and get a job or a girlfriend, here’s a quirky but effective way to encourage you to go out and live your life while you still can – The Tikker, or “death watch” counts down how much time you have left until you kick the bucket. Remember the website that did the exact same thing? Well, this is the 2.0 portable version.

Calling it “The Happiness Watch”, its inventor Fredrik Colting explains that he wanted to find a way to determine people “to cherish the time and the life that we have been given, to honor it, suck the marrow from it, seize the day and follow our hearts. And the best way to do this is to realize that seconds, days and years are passing never to come again.” Here’s how the watch works. To set up the Tikker, you first need to fill out a questionnaire with information about your medical history, weight, lifestyle details such as if you drink or smoke and how often you exercise. You are also asked to give information about any diseases that may run in your family. All these are factored in and you are given a score representing your entire lifespan including the years you have already lived. After your current age is deducted from this score, the countdown begins.

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Software Developer Teaches Homeless Man How to Code and Build an App

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One day, Patrick McConlogue announced that he was going to teach a homeless man JavaScript and help him code his own app. Patrick, a 23-year-old software programmer, passed a certain homeless man every day while on his way to work and decided to run the idea by him to see if he was going to be the one.

“The idea is simple,” Patrick wrote on his website. Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day-when he feels prepared-and teach him to code.”

Sure enough, the ambitious homeless man, named Leo,  decided he wanted to learn how to code,  thinking that the money could be easily spent in a week while the knowledge would be a great asset to him in the future. “He told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more,” Leo said. “It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it.” Leo has been homeless for two years after he lost his job as a life insurance agent and came home only to find out that his rent went up as a consequence of luxury condominiums being built near his apartment. Despite his bad luck, Leo cared to mention that he was not unhappy or desperate when Patrick offered to teach him. Even though he believed “coding was something that went over like, a dessert” most likely thinking it meant “coating”, the man wanted to diversify his abilities so that he could once more be able to sustain himself financially.

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