Japanese Designer Creates Solar-Powered Coat That Charges Gadgets

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If you’re sick of running out of battery on your smartphone when you need it the most, and don’t mind paying a whopping $2,480 on a coat, you might want to consider getting this solar-powered jacket that can charge your gadgets on the go.

COMME des GARÇONS’ alumnus Junya Watanabe first unveiled his FW16 solar-powered men’s coat back in March, but his unique creation is doing the rounds once again, after becoming available for purchase at the hefty price of $2,480. So what makes this coat so special, apart from being a designer item, you ask? Well, just in case the four large solar panels on the back and the two in the front haven’t given it away already, this coat harnesses the power of the sun, converts it to electricity and stores it in a hidden power pack for on-the-go charging.

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‘Magic’ Megaphone Automatically Translates Speech into Various Languages

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To help Japanese companies better deal with the increasing number of foreigners visiting the country, Panasonic has created an innovative megaphone capable of automatically translating Japanese into English, Chinese and Korean.

Remember that cool universal translator the crew of the Enterprise used to break down language barriers with alien species? Such technology is not yet available in real life, but if Panasonic’s ‘Megahonyaku’ is a sign of things to come, that universal translator doesn’t seem so sci-fi anymore. Megahonyaku is a pun on the Japanese words for ‘megaphone’ and ‘translate’, which actually makes a lot of sense because it’s a megaphone that can translate Japanese into several other languages in real time. When a user speaks Japanese into the megaphone, it recognizes and translates what is being said instantly, and outputs the phrase in English, Chinese or Korean.

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Nearly All Phones in Japan Are Waterproof Because People Need to Use Them in the Shower

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Waterproof smartphones are becoming more common in Western markets, but they are hardly the norm. In Japan however, almost all phones are waterproof, and have been for nearly a decade now. According to statistics, 90% to 95% of phones in Japan are waterproof, because people need to be able to use them while they are showering.

Japanese users are apparently so attached to their phones that they even bring them into the shower. Manufacturers were aware of this unusual habit early on and realized that in order to succeed in japan, they had to make their devices water resistant. The world’s first waterproof mobile phone, the Casio Canu 502S, was release in 2005, and was soon followed by a series of Fujitsu waterproof handhelds. Before long, every company looking to enter Japanese market had to make their devices waterproof.

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This Little Flashlight Is So Powerful It can Start a Fire and Cook Breakfast

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The FlashTorch Mini flashlight is about as close as you can get to a real-life, commercially-available lightsaber. Its 2300-lumens halogen light output is enough to start a fire or cook an egg.

Created by Wicked Laser, the FlashTorch Mini is made of anodized, machined aircraft-grade aluminum and features a highly efficient, heat-resistant lens and reflector. That already sounds very impressive, but it’s the intense light this thing emits that really makes it special. The ‘torch’ in its name has a very literal meaning, as the 2300 lumens output is more than enough to start a fire if you hold the flashlight close enough to something flammable. It’s also strong enough to melt plastic and even cook eggs, if you balance the cooking container on top of the flashlight.

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This Levitating Indoor Cloud Is the Coolest Bluetooth Speaker Ever

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American designer Richard Clarkson has recently teamed up with Crealev, a company specializing in levitation technology, to create ‘Making Weather’ – a Bluetooth speaker disguised as a realistic-looking levitating cloud.

This wonder of design and technology is a continuation of Clarkson’s 2014 ‘Smart Cloud’ project. Originally unveiled as a hanging lamp, his indoor cloud has recently evolved into a levitating unit, thanks to innovative technology developed by Dutch startup Crealev. With the help of powerful magnets embedded into an oval base and the cloud, Making Weather floats 1-2 inches off the ground. The designer claims that the cloud has “full rotational movement” and even bobs slightly up and down to create a “realistic atmospheric experience”.

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Russian Programmer “Ressurects” Deceased Best Friend as an AI Chatbot

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It’s hard to let go of loved ones, especially when they pass away suddenly. But thanks to rapidly evolving artificial intelligence, you soon may not have to let go. Well, not completely, anyway. Case in point, Eugenia Kuyda, the co-founder and CEO of a Russian artificial intelligence startup called Luka Inc, who recently brought her best friend back to life as an AI chatbot.

Kuyda lost her best friend, fellow tech entrepreneur Roman Mazurenko, in November 2015, but just three months after his tragic car accident, she sent the first text message to his AI personality, Roman. With no grave to visit, because he had been cremated, the young programmer, decided to use every digital memory of him, including photos, news articles and thousands of SMS text messages he had sent to her over the years, and feed them into a neural network to create an AI chatbot that many of those who knew Roman say sounds just like him.

“It was the first death for me. I didn’t know how to react, so as soon as I could I shoved everything as deep inside as possible and tried not to feel anything. Half a year later I can say that it doesn’t go away. In the last couple of months our team at Luka managed to build a dialogue model using smaller datasets on top of a neural net. I put together all texts we sent each other, photos, articles about him and we built a Roman AI,” Kuyda wrote in a Facebook post. “You can text with him about his life or just chat like you normally would – he will reply like Roman would have.”

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This Device Lets You wake Up Inside Your Dreams

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Lucid Dreamer is an ingenious device programmed to detect REM sleep, the time when people dream more vividly, and emit low electrical impulses to help you realize that you are dreaming, allowing you to take control of your dreams and go on lucid adventures.

Lucid dreams are dreams in which you realize that you are dreaming, but while 20% of the population experience lucid dreams every month, these are usually happen accidentally. However, recent research has shown that a specific brain activity, known as “gamma activity” is associated with lucid dreaming, and that gama activity can be enhanced with the use of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), a form of mild electrical stimulation of the brain. During a study in which tACS was used to enhance gamma activity during REM sleep, lucidity was achieved in 77% of dreams.

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Turkish Company Creates Real-Life Car-Morphing Transformers

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Thirty-some years after making their debut as cartoon characters, vehicle-morphing Transformers have finally become a reality, thanks to the efforts of a Turkish company out of Ankara.

The R&D-focused company, called Letvision, recently wowed the internet with a presentation video for their prototype car-transforming robot, ANTIMON. The recently-released footage shows a red BMW M3 being unveiled and remotely driven toward the camera, where it proceeds to transform into a mighty Autobot-like robot. The whole process takes a bit longer than in Michael Bay’s CGI movies, but it’s still mesmerizing to watch.

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App Gives Japanese Drivers Free Coffee for Not Checking Their Phones at The Wheel

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In a bid to convince drivers in Aichi Prefecture to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, a new Japanese smartphone app offers free coffee coupons to drivers who don’t check their phones for at least 100 km.

For the last 13 years, Aichi Prefecture has recorded the highest rate of traffic fatalities in Japan. Last year, there were 443,691 accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths, and 50,101 arrests involving the use of smartphones while driving. With handhelds becoming such a big part of people’s lives, there appears to be an increase in violations of this nature, and authorities have yet to come up with an effective plan to combat the problem.

Interestingly, a trio of Japanese company seem to think that an ingenious new app could incentivize drivers to restrain themselves from checking their phones at the wheel and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Toyota Motor Corporation, Komeda Co Ltd and KDDI Corporation have teamed up to create Driving Barista, an app that uses the phone’s gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the device, and the GPS to determine the distance driven. This allows it to calculate the number of kilometers a driver has traveled with the smartphone facing down.

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Smart Box Combats Smartphone Addiction by Allowing You to Lock Away Your Phone for a Set Period of Time

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Smartphone addiction is a growing problem that often interferes with our personal and professional lives. DistractaGone is an ingenious solution that allows you to lock up your phone in a box that only opens after a set period of time, offering you a period without constant distraction.

Trying to get some work done, enjoying dinner conversation or even watching a movie can be pretty tough with your phone serving up distractions in the form of various notifications, but even if you’re the kind of person who just can’t stop checking their handheld every few minutes, there is still hope. Introducing DistractaGone, a smart box that locks up to four phones at a time and keeps them inside for as long as you decide.

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Smart Strap Turns Your Hand into a Mobile Phone

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Signl is an innovative gadget that allows users to take phone calls by simply touching their ear with their fingertip. It then transmits the sound through the body, essentially turning their hand into a phone.

Signl, formerly “TipTalk”, was developed by South Korean company Innomdle Lab, a new startup founded in 2015 by three ex-Samsung employees. It’s a smart strap that can be worn by itself, with a classic watch or any kind of smartwatch ((Apple, Samsung, Pebble, etc.). It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and thanks to a built-in “body conduction unit”, the strap sends sound through your body, allowing you to hear the caller just by touching your ear with a finger. A microphone of the strap lets you have a conversation just like you would on a mobile phone.

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This USB Stick Can Kill Your Computer Almost Instantly

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The USB Killer is a commercially available USB stick that can fry almost any computer in seconds by rapidly collecting power from the USB power lines and then repeatedly discharging 240V into the host device until it dies. The whole process only takes a few seconds.

USB sticks have long been used infect unsuspecting users’ computers with all kinds of malware and spyware, but last year, a Russian hacker by the name of Dark Purple showed the entire world a new way USB drives can be used to effectively destroy virtually any PC or laptop equipped with a USB port. When it was first revealed, last year, the “USB Killer” was described as a proof of concept aimed at security researchers and folks who work on USB standards, to help them make devices immune to high voltage attacks. A few days ago, however, the USB Killer became a commercially available product that anyone can order online for just $56.

The USB Killer looks as harmless as any other pen drive, but it’s actually lethal for around 95% of consumer laptops and PCs. It is equipped with small capacitors that draw power from the USB power source to which it is connected, and when they are completely charged – it can take less than a second – the stick discharges over 200 volts of DC power to the host device multiple times per seconds until the machine is fried or the USB Killer is unplugged.

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Indian Engineering Student Builds Functional Ironman Suit

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Vimal Govind Manikandan, an engineering student from Kerala, recently made international headlines after building a fully-functional exosuit inspired by Marvel superhero, Ironman.

People have been building their own Ironman suits for years, but while those are all just good-looking replicas, Vimal’s version actually works. The 100-kg-heavy suit doesn’t fly, or shoot energy beams like that of the actual Ironman, but it can move at a decent pace, perform basic actions and even lift up to 150 kg, thanks to battery-powered pressurized air chambers. And it only cost $750 to make.

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HB Rings Let You Feel Your Loved One’s Heartbeat in Real Time

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Described as “the most sophisticated ring in the world”, the Touch HB Ring is a smart wedding band that lets you feel the rhythm of your partner’s heartbeat in real time.

Phone calls and apps like Facetime or Skype are great in long-distance relationships, but they can only do so much. The internet may connect the world like never before, but it still can’t offer an alternative to physical affection. Or can it? Wearable-tech company Touch has recently unveiled a revolutionary set of rings that rely on advanced technology to make wearers feel closer to each other even when they are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

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This $3,000 Wireless Speaker Is as Loud as a Rock Concert

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With a power output of 4,500 watts and 108 decibels, the Phantom Gold wireless speaker can literally blow you away. Its creators at French audio company Devialet say that at max volume, the Phantom Gold is the equivalent of a live rock concert.

The Devialet Phantom Gold is latest and most powerful entry in the company’s Phantom series, a range of high-end portable speakers looking to replace a whole room’s worth of surround audio gear with something a lot more compact. It has been earning the praise of audiophiles around the world ever since it launched, on July 14, but with a price tag of $2,990, one has to wonder, what makes this gadget so darn special?

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