Smart Umbrella Lets You Know It’s Going to Rain Half an Hour in Advance

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Giving Mary Poppins’s magic umbrella some serious competition is the all new high-tech ‘Oombrella’ – not only can it predict the weather, it’s also impossible to lose. The smart umbrella syncs with a smartphone app, sending users updates about weather conditions 30 minutes in advance, and reminders if they happen to leave the device behind. And here’s the added bonus – it won’t ever flip inside-out.

Designed by French company Wezzoo, the rainbow-colored Oombrella comes in two versions – classic and modern. The classic is 3.1-ft long with a curved handle, while the modern version is 0.8-ft long with a straight handle. The company describes the device as a ‘portable weather station’, made of a reflective surface with built in sensors that record real-time data such as light, humidity, pressure, and temperature. The Oombrella collects and processes this data as well as information from a social media community before sending out alerts about when it’s going to start raining.

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Hong Kong Designer Creates Functional Scarlett Johansson Robot

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Graphic designer Ricky Ma is making headlines for creating an incredibly realistic life-sized robot that resembles the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. The homemade cyborg can mimic a limited set of human movements using it’s head and limbs, and even respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone. He’s even taught it to wink and say “thank you” when complimented on its looks.

Having grown up watching animated films featuring robots, Ricky had always dreamed of building one of his own. And now, at age 42, he’s managed to do just that, working from the balcony of his Hong Kong home. He had to teach himself everything about robotics from scratch, and spent over $50,000 building his first female prototype.

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Researcher Creates Necklace That Counts Calories By Listening to You Chew

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A computer scientist from the University at Buffalo, New York, has come up with a unique way of keepting track of consumed calories. Instead of writing down every single meal you’ve eaten, you just put on a choker-style necklace that can determine your calorie intake based on the sounds you make when you chew!

The wearable tech device, known as AutoDietary, works on the simple idea that different foods make different sounds when chewed. So Wenyao Xu – the brains behind the innovative gadget – is currently creating a library that catalogs the biting, grinding, and swallowing sounds of different types of food. This library will be included in the app that supports the necklace Xu is developing in collaboration with researchers at China’s Northeastern University.

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Smart Textiles Company Creates World’s First Musical Tablecloth

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If you’ve secretly been perfecting your table drumming skills, now is the time to show off. Thanks to this unique musical tablecloth developed by Swedish company ‘Smart Textiles’, you can entertain your dinner guests with your musical prowess. The one-of-a-kind fabric has a drum kit and piano keys printed on it, which actually produce musical sounds when pressed!

Li Guo and Mats Johansson, the brains behind the company, explained that making a musical tablecloth is all about using sensors. While Mats is passionate about music, Li has a doctorate in textile sensors and is studying ways to integrate them into garments. So they put their heads together to combine Li’s research and Mat’s ideas, and came up with the innovative tablecloth.

“We wanted to combine sound and textiles and visualise the possibilities of textile sensors in a fun way,” Mats said. “Since I’m interested in music, we decided to create a musical tablecloth.”

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Domino’s Debuts World’s First Pizza Delivery Robot

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Domino’s is taking pizza delivery to the next level by introducing the world’s first pizza delivery robot in Australia. ‘Domino’s Robotic Unit’ (DRU) is a three-foot tall, 450-pound robot that can self-drive at 12.4 miles an hour from a Domino’s to any location within a 20-kilometer radius.

The robotic unit consists of a battery-powered heated compartment that can keep up to 10 pizzas warm, and a chilled compartment for cold drinks. The water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic exterior and aluminum and mild steel interior will keep food safe, while LIDAR laser-light sensors located within the unit will help the robot detect obstacles on his route. To prevent thefts, customers can only access their pizzas by entering a unique code into the pizza compartment. DRU can drive on roads as well as pavements, and is programmed to promptly return to the store for recharging after all deliveries are complete.

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Chinese Women Are Going Crazy Over This $1,400 Camera That’s Literally Made for Selfies

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Casio’s latest offering, the Exilim EX-TR70, is priced at a whopping $1,399! That’s rather steep for a compact camera, but the price tag is justified by its unbelievable selfie-friendly features. Targeted mainly at Chinese women who are obsessed with taking photos of themselves and sharing them online, the camera is expected to earn the Japanese company a $403 million profit this year.

The new TR70 is a third generation Exilim, a line of unusually shaped cameras that are specifically made for selfies. Right from the physical features to the UI, these cameras are streamlined to help the user click the perfect pic of their face every time. The hinged frame helps the device support itself, so it can easily be placed on any surface to face the subject. It offers several ways to actually click a picture, including squeezing the body, using the ‘selfie pad’ on the side, using a countdown self-timer, placing the hand on a certain part of the frame to be detected by the camera, and by touching the 3” LCD.

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World’s Cheapest Smartphone – Indian Company Launches $3.67 Handheld

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Indian company Ringing Bells is making waves in the tech industry with its latest product, the ridiculously cheap ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone priced at an unbelievable 251 rupees ($3.67).

Despite the phone’s low price, the company is promising a host of swanky features like 8GB storage, 8MP and 3.2MP primary and secondary cameras, pattern lock with face detection, 5-inch touch screen, 1080p video support, bluetooth, and of course, 3G support. “We will be the first Indian company to offer an incredible smartphone at a highly affordable price,” the Ringing Bells website states, adding that the phone will work on a “no-frills” platform that’s a “minimalistic and lightweight take on the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system.”

According to a Ringing Bells spokesperson, the company believes that the phone – strongly resembling Apple’s iPhone 4 – will “bring a revolution” in the industry. While the initial promise was to price the phone under 500 rupees ($7.3), the actual cost was revealed at the launch event last Wednesday, creating a global stir. The high profile event conducted in Delhi was attended by members of the Indian Parliament and other state level leaders. The website went live for pre-orders the next day, but with 600,000 hits per second their website crashed within a few hours and they were forced to close bookings. The company later revealed that they received 37 million orders on Day 1 and 24.7 million on Day 2. They are now promising to deliver the devices to all their customers within four months.

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This Rock Is Actually Fire-Powered Wi-Fi Router

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At first glance, this rock, placed strategically in a small clearing in the woods part of an outdoor museum in Germany, seems like an ordinary boulder. But a closer look will reveal that the inconspicuous 1.5-ton boulder is far from ordinary. It’s actually an art installation with a fire-powered WiFi router and USB drive hidden inside!

Created by Berlin artist Aram Bartholl, the rock, named ‘Keepalive’, tries to highlight the contrast between ancient and modern survival techniques. Bartholl revealed that his inspiration to merge the concepts of primitive and modern survival came from the sight of people selling BioLite stoves during Hurricane Sandy. In the absence of electricity, people were actually using the flame-powered stoves to power their devices and stay connected. “It was funny – the power goes out, and people would buy these little stoves and make a fire to charge their phone,” he said.

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Artist Creates Swallowable ‘Audiopill’ That Creates a Rave inside Your Body

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Czech artist Jan Poope has created an “experimental art device” that allows you to pretty much ingest music and experience it from within your body. All you need to do is swallow the ‘Audiopill’ and wait for it to take effect.

The Audiopill is ingested orally and creates “a feeling like you are standing in the middle of a concert hall with a powerful audio-system” inside your own body. According to Poope’s Indiegogo page, the pill comes in three preset beats – 95 BPM (No Pussy Blues), 130 BPM (Die Antwoord), and 143 BPM (M.I.A). Once ingested, it will take an hour to travel through the upper section of your gastrointestinal tract. Then the fireworks begin, with a “very intensive” pain in your pelvic area that could make you “regret your experimental courage.” When the pain dies down, a “beating pulse” will take effect in your abdomen, creating mixed feelings of “restlessness, amazement, and elation.”

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Google Engineer Turns His Bathroom Mirror into Futuristic High-Tech Device

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When you’re an engineer at Google, you really don’t need to wait around for someone else to invent the products you want to use. Max Braun, for instance, went ahead and made a smart-mirror for his bathroom, using simple, easily available supplies. The otherwise rudimentary accessory has now become a notification center of sorts, displaying the time, date, weather forecast, and latest news headlines.

Remember the smart mirror that greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger and showed him his daily schedule in the 2000 sci-fi flick The 6th Day? Well, like other futuristic inventions showcased in movies, it has become a real thing. And it turns out that all there is to it is the smart use of a two-way mirror, a display panel and a controller board among a few other secondary components and arts & crafts supplies. Braun has provided links to all the supplies he used, and also a brief description of the build process, but in a nut shell the display behind the two-way mirror is connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick, using a mini controller board. The Fire TV Stick runs the software, while the board is also connected to a power button and green LED.

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Self-Filling Fontus Bottle Converts Air into Drinkable Water

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Producing water out of thin air used to sound like magic, but thanks to modern technology, this ‘spell’ is becoming available to everyone. Fontus, a $100 solar-powered device can pull moisture from the air and condense it into potable water.

Fontus is the brainchild of Vienna-based designer Kristof Retezár. It works on the simple principle of condensation, just like the droplets of water that collect on the sides of a cold soda can when you take it out of the fridge. But the Fontus can collect a lot more water than that, because it uses thermoelectric cooling. A condensator in the device is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. So when it takes in air, these surfaces get cold, leaving behind condensation.

“Because they’re hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle],” Retezár explains.

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Innovative Wearable Chair Lets You Sit While You’re Standing

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If your job involves standing for several hours at a time, then this innovative Archelis chair is just the productyou’ve been waiting for. The strap-on wearable chair effectively enables you sit while you’re standing.

Technically, Archelis isn’t really a chair. It’s more like a leg brace that wraps around your buttocks and legs, helping you choose a stance that’s more comfortable than standing upright. You can lock the device at various positions to adjust the angle of your ankle and knee joints. Once you select the position of your choice, you’ll experience the relaxation of sitting without actually being seated. The device distributes the pressure over your shin and thigh, reducing overall muscle and joint fatigue.

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Indonesian “Iron Man’ Allegedly Builds Brainwave-Controlled Robotic Arm from Scrap

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Wayan Sutawan is being hailed as Indonesia’s very own Iron Man after building a robotic device that he claims can read signals from his brain allowing him to control his paralyzed left arm.

This literally unbelievable story started six months ago, when Sutawan suffered a stroke that left him with a paralyzed arm. Having studied a bit of mechanical engineering in high school, the father-of-three spent the next couple of months working on a robotic arm using spare parts that were just lying around in his garage. He finally created a strap-on mechanism for his paralyzed limb connected to a headband that he claims reads his brainwaves and transmits commands.

In a video report by Indonesia’s Kompas TV, Sutawan is seen strapping the device on to his left arm and covering his left hand with a thick rubber glove. He then puts on the headband, and after a moment’s concentration, the arm miraculously jerks to life. He is then able to use the paralyzed hand to perform delicate tasks. He’s also able to lift up to 10 kilograms of weight with the device on his left arm.

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Bionic Filmmaker Replaces One of His Eyeballs with a Small Camera

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Rob Spence, a Toronto-based filmmaker, is so dedicated to his craft that he’s replaced one of his eyeballs with a camera-eye. Before you become too horrified, you should know that he hasn’t taken out a real eyeball, just a fake one that he’s had since he was a kid.

43-year-old Spence – who calls himself an Eyeborg – lost sight in one eye in a freak accident at age nine – he was shooting a pile of cow dung and badly injured his eye when he held the shotgun incorrectly. Since then, he’s lived with a fake eyeball in his right socket. But he recently thought it would be more interesting to remove it and replace it with a camera of his own invention.

The camera-eye looks like a regular prosthetic, but it isn’t connected to an optic nerve so Spence cannot actually see with it. It is equipped with a micro radio-frequency transmitter and whatever the eye can ‘see’ is played on a handheld monitor. The camera can be switched on and off with a push of a button.

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Japanese Researchers Creates Electric Fork That Alters the Taste of Food

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Did you know electricity can alter the way we taste food? Proving this fact is a revolutionary electric fork designed by Japanese researchers that can make any dish taste salty, thus acting as a substitute for the popular seasoning.

According to Hiromi Nakamura, a Post Doc Research Fellow at Tokyo’s Meiji University, the technology can be very useful for people on special diets. Patients with low blood pressure, for instance, can easily go on a low-salt diet and still enjoy delicious food. And with the fork, there’s absolutely no risk of over-salting your food. Luckily, the voltage is so small that there is no risk of electrocution either.

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