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.

Danbocchi-box

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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.

Tikker-watch

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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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The Pavlov Poke – A Shocking Way to Cure Facebook Addiction

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Frustrated by the amount of time they spent on Facebook during workdays, two MIT doctoral candidates have created the Pavlov Poke, a keyboard palm rest that sends electric shocks whenever the user spends too much time on ”email, social networking, or other online distractions”.

Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff are both Ph.D. candidates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but like millions of other internet users out there, they are also social media addicts. After estimating they waste a combined 50 hours a week on Facebook, the two decided to take a new approach to fighting social media addiction by using electroshock therapy to keep users from wasting most of their days on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Named after the well-known Russian psychologist who performed behavioral experiments on dogs, the Pavlov Poke is a keyboard accessory programmed to send electrical shocks into users whenever they spend too much time scrolling through their Facebook news feed or browsing on distracting websites. The shocks are strong enough to make you react, but while they are unpleasant they are not dangerous.

Pavlov-Poke

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ECO-Cycle – Tokyo’s Amazing Underground Bicycle Storage System

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Tokyo is such a crowded place that even finding a place to park your bicycle can be a daunting task. But leave it to the Japanese to find a genius solution to this growing space problem. The ECO-Cycle Park is an automated bicycle storage system buried 11 meters under the city streets that can hold up to 200 bikes.

Although Japan is one of the world’s leading car manufacturers and its public transportation system is probably the most advanced on the planet, the bicycle is still a very popular means of getting around in the busy traffic. Unfortunately parking spaces are at a premium, and owners are often forced to leave them on the sidewalk where they become obstacles for pedestrians. To solve this problem, Japanese company Giken Seisakusho, which specializes in tidal and flood protection systems, created ECO-Cycle, a series of five underground storage bicycle storage facilities where owners can safely “park” their bikes in just 8 seconds. The buried cylindrical structures are only seven meters wide, but deep enough to safely store up to 200 two-wheel vehicles each.

ECO-Cycle-Japan

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The Fake TV – A Simple and Ingenious Burglar Deterrent

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According to statistics, most break-ins take place in unoccupied houses. The Fake TV, a simple device that uses LED lights to give the impression someone is watching television inside promises to keep burglars away.

Leaving the TV on to make it look like someone is at home when you step out for the evening is a simple and effective way of tricking burglars, but what happens when you’re away for a long period of time or if the power runs out while you’re away? Blaine C. Readler, an engineer and award-winning novelist from Rancho Bernardo, California, has created a simple and effective device that mimics the alternating colors and vibrancy common in television shows, news programs and commercials, and runs on a timer programmed to turn on at dusk and run for four or seven hours. “I was stepping out for dinner and as my routine, was leaving the TV on to indicate somebody was home,” Readler told Pomerado News. “I turned to see if there was a visible signal flickering on the blinds and it came to me that you do not see the TV, just the light shining on the blinds.” He started experimenting with LEDs and watching hundreds of hours of television programs to see if he could replicate the images without a steady blink or flicker. After a long trial and error period, he manged to get the Fake TV to render scene changes, camera fade effects and the natural dynamic effects of television programming.

Fake-TV

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Get Served by a Robot Bartender at Germany’s Robots Bar & Lounge

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Some bars use intriguing names just to attract clients, but the Robots Bar & Lounge in Ilmenau, Germany really lives up to its name. This unique venue not only has a technology-inspired decor, but also a humanoid robot bartender that mixes drinks and makes small talk with patrons.

The Robots Bar & Lounge just opened late last month, but it’s already hugely popular in the town of Ilmenau thanks to Carl, an unusual bartender who fits right in the techie atmosphere of the place. Carl is a humanoid robot built by mechatronics engineer Ben Schaefer out of parts from disused industrial robots. Schaefer says that although progress has been made in the field of robotics artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but by placing a robot in an environment where it can observe and interact with real humans it’s much easier to test the programming and make necessary improvements than it would be in a closed laboratory. Apart from evolution, Carl’s secondary goal is to bring humans and robots closer together, and prove that “scenes from science-fiction movies are quite possible”. So far, the likable bartender is doing a great job, entertaining clients with his drink-mixing skills and the occasional small-talk. Unfortunately, his speech recognition skills and ability to interact are very limited at the moment, but like all bartenders he is a very good listener. To make sure he doesn’t bump into things and spill the drinks on his clients, Scahefer equipped Carl with a belt of sensors.

 

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Venezuelan Man Builds His Own Prosthetic Arm

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Angel Sanguino, an electronics technician from Caracas, Venezuela, who last year lost his left arm in a motorcycle accident, has recently been awarded a Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation, after he manged to build an ingenious robotic arm that allows him to perform a series of useful tasks.

33-year-old Angel Sanguino was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a speeding car engaged in illegal street racing. He was taken to the emergency room, and doctors were forced to amputate his left arm from the shoulder. It was a devastating blow for the talented electronics technician who worked for a prestigious computer part manufacturer, as he could no longer do his job with just one arm. The orthopedist told Angel he should accept his disability and move on with his life, but he had other plans. While in intensive care recovering from the surgery, severe internal organ damage and fractured legs, Sanguino learned he was going to become a father soon, and that gave him the strength to fight for his life and make sure he was able to provide for his family. Three months after his accident, the young Venezuelan used his experience as a cartoonist to design a prosthetic arm that would allow him to repair electronic components just like before.

Angel-Sanguino

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Swedes Create Machine That Turns Sweat into Drinking Water

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To highlight the seriousness of potable water shortage in some parts of Africa and Asia a group of tech-savvy Swedes have created a machine that turns perspiration into drinking water. Aptly named the “Sweat Machine” was inspired by technology used by NASA to recycle everything from human sweat to urine.

Developed by a team of engineers led by Andreas Hammar, the Sweat Machine works by extracting the perspiration, which is 99% water, out of people’s clothes. Sweaty garments are tossed into a dryer, where they are spun and squeezed for every last drop of liquid. The gathered sweat then gets heated, exposed to ultra-violet light and passed through a series of high-tech filters to remove the salt and bacteria. During the final stage of the purification process, the sweat goes through a coffee filter that retains any textile fibers left over from the clothes. The result is perfectly drinkable distilled water. Although the exact capacity of the dryer is yet unknown, the inventors say it takes a full load of sweaty shirts and shorts to produce a pint of potable water. Drinking your own and other people’s sweat sounds disgusting, but according to one brave sommelier, it actually has nice sweet taste.

Sweat-Machine

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Singapore Nightclub Uses Revolutionary Pee Analyzer to Thwart Drunk Driving

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Accidents caused by drunk driving are a major problem  all around the world, and the city-state of Singapore is no exception. With over 2140 reported cases of drunk driving in the last 12 months, authorities are having problems dealing with the issue efficiently. Luckily, Zouk, one of the hottest nightclubs in South-East Asia seems to have come up with an ingenious way to thwart the dangerous practice.

Statistics show almost every drunk driver thinks he is sober enough to drive, but what if you could show them they are wrong and convince them to take a taxi home instead? That’s the idea behind Zouk’s pee analyzing urinals. The nightclub partnered with marketing agency DDB Group to create a unique system of identifying and testing drunk drivers that would discourage patrons from driving home intoxicated. They started by replacing the usual parking coupons with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) cards which were exchanged with car keys by the club’s valets. Then they fitted every urinal with pee-analyzing gadgets that could detect alcohol in the urine and reset for every new user. The gadgets were connected to an RFID reader which identified drivers through their parking cards. If their alcohol level was above the legal limit, the card was tagged and a message was displayed above the urinal, telling them they’ve had too much to drink and advising them to call a cab or use Zouk’s drive home system.

zouk-urine-analyzer

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Music Anywhere – Guy Implants Headphone in His Ear

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If you find headphones uncomfortable, or if you’re sick of always having to untangle their wires, you might want to take a cue from Rich Lee, a body-enhancement enthusiast who recently implanted a small magnet headphone directly into his ear.

Rich Lee is what’s known as a “bodyhacker” or “grinder”, a person who experiments with surgical implants or technological body-enhancements in order to expand human capacities. He was recently featured on Humanity+, a technology and science-focused magazine, for a unique type of implant. Lee had a small magnet embedded into his tragus, the small piece of cartilage directly outside the ear, and built a coil to be worn around the neck, which ”creates a magnetic field causing the implant to vibrate and produce sound”. The audio quality is nowhere near as good as what you get from regular earbuds or headphones, but his system does have a series of advantages. He can listen to music anytime and anywhere he wants, and since the implant is invisible to the naked eye, he can do some pretty creative things with it. For example, he plans to hook it up to a directional microphone so he can hear what people around him are saying, and he argues it could come in-handy at a poker table or with pre-screen business clients.

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The Remember Ring Won’t Let You Forget Another Anniversary Again

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If you’re tired of setting up notifications on your gadget in the hope that you’ll finally be reminded about your wedding anniversary on time, rejoice, because things are about to get a lot easier. The Remember Ring is a concept wedding ring that heats up 24 hours before the big day, letting you know it’s time to prepare a nice surprise for the wife.

Are you mad at yourself for never being able to remember your wedding anniversary? Do you wish that just once you could do something nice for your partner on your important day? You’re in luck, because you’d have to be suffering from Alzheimer’s not to remember it with the aptly named Remember Ring from Alaska Jewelry. The useful accessory looks like an ordinary wedding ring but is fitted with Hot Spot technology that makes it heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit on the day before the anniversary, making it impossible to ignore by the wearer. Every hour, the gadget gets hotter and hotter for 10 seconds, until it reaches peak temperature, reminding you the big days is just around the corner. The Rember Ring is fitted with a battery-charged micro-chip clock that converts the heat from your hand into electricity, which means it will never run out of power. “Using a micro thermopile, The Remember Ring converts the heat from your hand into electricity, keeping the battery charged and microchip clock running perpetually,” its makers say.

Remember-Ring

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Chinese DIY Wiz Builds His Very Own Scrap-Part Robot

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Tao Xiangli, a 37-year-old inventor from Beijing, China, has spent over 150,000 yuan ($25,000) and more than 11 months building a functional robot made of scrap parts and wires bought from second-hand markets.

In China, Tao Xiangli is known as a DIY genius, with a collection of amazing home-made creations under his belt. Three years ago, he made headlines in international media after building a submarine all by himself, and today he’s back to with another impressive achievement – a 496lb (225kg) robot he pieced together in his small Beijing apartment. “He’s ugly, but he’s kind of awesome,” Tao said about the  2.1-meter-tall metal behemoth  that can apparently perform simple movements and even mimic human actions by using infrared rays. It can turn its neck, raise its legs and even shake hands at the flick of a switch on the board located on its back. Instead of crating a humanoid casing for his robot, Tao Xiangli decided to leave it “naked”so viewers could see every one of the over 110 scrap parts and 3,000 lengths of wiring required to make it work. To make it easier on the eyes, the young Chinese inventor fitted his robots with strips of bright neon cabling.

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Anti-Abuse Billboard Contains Message Visible Only by Children

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In an attempt to do more than simply raise awareness about child abuse, a Spanish organization has created a smart billboard that contains a secret message visible only to children  under the age of 10.

Using a technology known as lenticular printing, an organization dedicated to aiding abused children joined forces with Grey Group Spain to develop a special billboard that sends different messages to kids and adults. They were looking for a way to help even children accompanied by abusive adults by sending a message exclusively for them, hidden from adults’ eyes. The lenticular printing allowed them to assemble to different images in the same billboard, one visible from the point of view of adults and another aimed at children as tall as 4’4”, or around 10-year-old. While adults can only see a simple yet powerful message “”Sometimes child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it”, children receive useful instruction: ”If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you,” along with the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk (ACAR) foundation’s phone number. The image displayed on the billboard also changes depending on the angle it’s viewed from. Adults with an average height of 1.75m see a normal looking boy, while children of around 1.35m will see a bruised-up child they might identify with.

child-abuse-banner

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DIY Expert Builds His Very Own Thor’s Hammer

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Thor’s hammer is one of the coolest weapons in the superhero universe. Called Mjolnir, it can summon lightning, crush through pretty much anything and help the Norse god fly. No wonder Caleb from Hack A Day wanted one for himself.

But the gifted builder wasn’t looking for yet another simple prop that looked like Thor’s hammer, he wanted something that actually produced bolts of lightning. Armed with his own DIY superpowers, Caleb Kraft set out to create a foam replica of Mjolnir and sought the help of battery-powered Tesla coil maker Staci Elan, who provided a tiny but effective device able to produce 80,000 volts of electricity. Caleb says he had to make a choice: “I was either going to go portable and live with small arcs, or make this a stationary piece and hide a giant Tesla coil in a base. It would have bigger arcs, but I couldn’t carry it around.” In the end, he opted for the portable version, fitting his light but realistic looking hammer with a a small 12v powered coil. It creates 3″ arcs when going to another piece of metal, and can power on light bulbs if you hold them close to the hammer. Nowhere near as cool as the real Thor’s powers, but pretty awesome for a mere mortal, wouldn’t you say?

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