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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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These Liquid-Filled Eyeglasses Allegedly Make Wearers Immune to Motion Sickness

French car maker Citroën recently unveiled a pair of glassless, liquid-filled eye-glasses that can reportedly treat the symptoms of motion sickness.

Called Seetroën, the ingenious eyeglasses use Boarding Ring technology, which was created by a French start-up of the same name, to treat motion sickness in just a few minutes. According to the official press release, after being worn for 10 to 12 minutes, “the glasses enable the mind to resynchronise with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object such as a smartphone or a book,” and the wearer can just take them off and enjoy the rest of the journey.

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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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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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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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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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$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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Stylish “Dumb Phone” That Can Only Make Calls and Send Texts Wants to Cure Your Smartphone Addiction

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the features and apps available on smartphones these days and miss the good old days when mobile phones were simple communication devices, you’ll probably love Light 2, a stylish “dumb phone” designed to eliminate time-wasting distractions from your life.

The original Light mobile phone launched in 2015, and was about as bare-bones as a cellphone could get. You could basically only use it to make and take phone calls, but its creators, Joe Hollier and Kai Tang, recently decided that in order to improve its usefulness while still keeping users safe from smartphone distractions, the handheld needed a few extra features. The recently announced Light Phone 2 is just as tiny and stylish as the original version, but also features text messaging capabilities, an alarm clock and a headphone jack.

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Dutch Engineer Builds Face-Recognition Gadget for His Cat

To make sure his cat doesn’t have to wait too long at the door waiting to be let in, a Dutch engineer built a face-recognition gadget that identifies the feline and messages him so he can let it in.

Arkaitz Garro, a WeTransfer software engineer in Holland, doesn’t have a cat-flap on his door, so every time his cat wants to come inside, it has to wait until he or his wife notices it at the door and lets it in. That didn’t really do, so he decided to use his skills to solve the problem. Instead of installing a good old cat-flap, he decided to go for a more high-tech solution involving artificial intelligence, motion-detection sensors, face recognition software and a messaging app. You might think it’s overkill, but Arkaitz claims that it only took him a few hours to do it, as all the hardware and software he used is available to anyone.

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‘Human Uber’ Lets Users Attend Events Using Another Person’s Body

If you’ve been looking for something to help you leave the house even less than you currently do, you’re probably going to love “Human Uber” a tech concept that allows people to be present anywhere using another person’s body.

Japanese researcher Jun Rekimoto presented his idea, called ChameleonMask, at MIT Tech Review’s EmTech in Singapore this week. Although he described it as “human uber,” his intriguing concept is more accurately described as mobile FaceTime, although even that is too much of a simplification considering that the technology aims to allow someone else to live your life for you.

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Electronics Company Develops Smart Device That Cancels Embarrassing Toilet Noises

Japan is known as the most polite nation on Earth, and that extreme politeness extends to all aspects of life, including bathroom etiquette. Many public toilets feature a wall-mounted device that, when pressed, creates a sound that masks that of urination. However, electronics company Roland has come up with an improved version that drowns out embarrassing bathroom noises completely.

Before the technology boom of the 1980s, toilet users would either flush the toilet or turn on a sink to mask the sounds they made when relieving themselves. However, as this was a needless waste of water, a more eco-friendly solution was sought, and thus the concept of the toilet sound generator was born. The most famous of the resulting devices, developed and manufactured by toilet brand Toto, is the Otohime (literal translation – “sound princess”). These devices resolved the water waste issue but only partially efficient in making people comfortable in the toilet, because the sound they generated didn’t do a perfect job of masking the embarassing noises. Luckily, a better solution is now available to them.

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Japanese Inn Teams Up with Car Maker Nissan to Create Self-Driving Slippers for Its Guests

Japan has long been known for both its strong traditions and being on the cutting edge of technology, and  this new inn combining the classic Japanese surroundings with high-tech, self-driving slippers and furniture is a perfect reflection of this.

Nissan Motor Co. developed a system in which slippers park themselves at the entrance of the traditional inn, called ‘ProPilot Park Ryokan,’ waiting for guests to use them upon arrival. When guests have finished using them, the slippers will drive themselves back to their original position. Each slipper features two tiny wheels, a motor, and sensors to drive it across the lobby’s wooden floor using a simplified form of Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology.

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