Plufl – The World’s First Dog Bed for Humans

Inspired by the comfort of the classic dog bed, a couple of university students designed Plufl, the world’s first dog bed for humans.

If you’re thinking that the Plufl is just an oversized dog bed, you’re technically right, but according to its creators, University of British Columbia students Noah Silverman and Yuki Kinoshita, it’s also much more than that. Apparently, the Plufl was engineered “to provide the optimal napping experience” and “maximize comfort and foster a sense of security, delivering relief for those who have ADHD, stress, and anxiety-related issues.”

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Smart Chopsticks Use Electrical Stimulation to Enhance Food Flavors

Japanese beverage maker Kirin Holdings teamed up with researchers at Meiji University in Tokyo to create smart chopsticks that reportedly make food taste more savory.

Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita has been researching electrical stimulation as a way to alter the way people experience food and flavor for years. In 2016, along with fellow researcher Hiromi Nakamura, he made international news headlines for developing a revolutionary electric fork that could make any food taste saltier than it actually was. And last year, he got even more attention for his Taste the TV (TTTV) project, a lickable TV screen that could imitate the taste of various foods. Now, he’s once again the talk of the interwebs thanks to his latest invention, a pair of smart chopsticks that can allegedly make food more savory.

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Master Welders Create 1mm Metal Die, Leave Internet Stunned

A team of welders from Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan recently showed off their skill by painstakingly welding the faces of a 1mm die.

Photos of a metallic die barely visible on a person’s fingertip and a magnified up-close photos showing the elegant welding keeping all six facets together recently went viral on Japanese social media, leaving a lot of people impressed. Although you’d be hard-pressed to use this type of die in a real-life situation, the fact that people are actually capable of this sort of impressive feat is incredible. It goes to show you that nothing is impossible, regardless of how hard it is.

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This Device Lets You Feel Virtual Reality Pain in Real Life

A Japanese startup is trying to blur the line between reality and virtual reality with technology that allows the wearer to feel the pain experienced inside the metaverse in real life.

H2L Technologies, a Sony-backed technology company based in Tokyo, recently unveiled a wristband that dishes out small electric shocks whenever the wearer suffers pain-inducing damage in the much-hyped metaverse. The device is supposed to do a lot more than that, including mimicking a range of sensations from catching a ball to a bird pinching the wearer’s skin, as well as conveying weight and resistance. It’s all meant to make the metaverse this immersive experience that the people and companies involved in its creation have been pushing over the last year or so.

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Korean Bamboo Salt – Making the World’s Most Expensive Salt Can Take up to 50 Days

Korean Bamboo Salt is a luxury product that can cost over $100 per 8.5-ounce (240g) jar. The price is mostly dictated by the laborious process of making it, which involves roasting it 9 times in bamboo cylinders.

If you thought pink Himalayan salt was expensive, you probably haven’t heard of actual luxury salt varieties. There are actually a bunch of them, including soy salt and pitch-black Kilauea Onyx salt, but at the very top of the list is Amethyst Bamboo, a Korean variety made by filling bamboo cylinders with sea salt, capping them with Loess clay and roasting it nine times in a traditional kiln. It’s a complex process that takes an entire month to complete. Every step is done by hand, so it’s no wonder that the salt can sell for over $100 per jar.

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Metaura Pro – World’s First Wearable Air Conditioning Collar

The Metaura Pro claims to be the world’s first wearable air-conditioning device capable of constantly blowing cold air to keep the wearer cool.

Conventional wearable cooling systems only circulate ambient air, and thus don’t do a very good job of cooling people down. The Metaura Pro, on the other hand, allegedly relies on a portable cooling solution to produce genuinely cold air that is 7 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than that of the ambient, in fan mode, and up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than ambient air, in cooling mode. The device has a dedicated app and relies on artificial intelligence to regulate air temperature.

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UK-Based Company Creates Functional Invisibility Shields

Inspired by Harry Potter’s iconic invisibility cloak, these real-life invisibility shields can make anyone who hides behind them disappear into thin air.

Invisibility Shield Co. is a UK-based startup that has been working on an affordable invisibility mechanism for over two years. The company recently revealed a line of invisibility shields that rely on surprisingly simple technology to make users invisible to the naked eye. Apparently, the shield uses a “precision-engineered lens array” to deflect light from the subject sitting behind the shield away from the observer. The lenses are oriented vertically to allow light from the subject to diffuse when it passes through the shield. The light from the subject’s background is refracted towards the observer who cannot see the subject hiding behind the shield.

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Air Protein – Startup Uses Space-Age Tech to Create Meat Out of Thin Air

Creating meat literally out of thin air sounds like technology you’d only expect to see in sci-fi movies, but according to Air Protein, it’s very real and viable.

Air Protein, the startup behind the air-based meat project, was co-founded by Dr. Lisa Dyson, an award-winning research physicist and strategy consultant, with the goal of producing meat alternatives. Such plant-based meat alternatives like Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat are all the rage these days and touted as the sustainable future of the meat industry, but Air Protein is taking sustainability to a whole new level with its air-sourced proteins. They are basically relying on a bunch of microbes capable of converting CO2 into amino-acids, with the final product being a protein-based flour that can be used to make a bunch of meatless products.

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Finally! Scientists Find Way of Making Non-Alcoholic Beer Taste Just Like the Real Thing

It’s no secret that non-alcoholic beer tastes much worse than regular lager, but scientists in Denmark now claim to have developed a way of making it taste just as satisfying.

When making alcohol-free beer, either by heating it up or by minimizing fermentation, what is lost is the complex aroma of the hops. However, after decades of having to put with the flat and watery taste of non-alcoholic beer, we can now enjoy the satisfying taste of the real thing, minus the alcohol. Researchers led by Sotirios Kampranis, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, engineered a species of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce a group of molecules called monoterpenoids, which are found in hops.

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Potato Milk, the New Health Drink That’s About to Take the World by Storm

When it comes to dairy alternatives, we already have a lot of “milks” to choose from, but the latest alternative could prove to be a game-changer due to how available and cheap its main ingredient is.

Potato milk doesn’t sound like the most delicious thing in the world, but then again, neither does oat milk or soy milk and look how popular they turned out to be. Not to mention that this new dairy alternative is apparently “deliciously creamy” and works great for homemade lattes and cappuccinos. Plus, the humble potato uses a lot less land and resources than other plants that are currently used for milk, which makes both the vegetable and the milk more affordable.

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Kosk – South Korea’s Controversial Nose-Only Face Mask

A new type of South Korean face mask that only covers the wearer’s nose has been getting a lot of attention from the western press lately.

Called ‘kosk” –  a combination of ‘ko’, the Korean word for nose, and ‘mask’ – the unusual face mask sold by South Korean company Atman consists of two parts, one of which can be removed to leave the wearer’s mouth exposed. They are apparently designed to provide some level of protection against Covid while eating, but can also be worn in nose-only mode at any time. Kosk is just one of the nose-only face masks available in South Korea these days, and the unusual trend has sparked some controversy in the western world, with many declaring the facial accessories utterly useless.

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High School Students Create High-Tech Device to Accurately Cut Cake Into Equal Pieces

A team of Japanese high-school students recently won a regional innovation competition with a high-tech device that divides cake and pizza into equal portions every single time.

It’s a problem as old as the world – cutting a round treat into more than two equal parts. You either end up with portions that are not exactly the same size, or you’re left with a smaller extra slice that everyone has their eye on. Well, thanks to the ingenuity of a group of Japanese students from Kundong High School in Japan’s Oita Prefecture, dividing a cake or a pizza into perfectly equal portions need no longer be an issue. They have created a high-tech device that calculates the angle at which the tasty treat needs to be cut, depending on the number of necessary slices.

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Researchers Claim to Have Developed Artificial Intelligence Capable of Replacing Criminal Prosecutors

Researchers in China claim to have developed an advanced AI that is reportedly capable of identifying crimes and filing charges against those suspected of committing them.

There is no denying that advancements in artificial intelligence are being made at breakneck speeds and that many of us will one day lose our jobs to a tireless machine, but I doubt anyone imagined prosecutors would find their jobs threatened by machines anytime soon. And yet, if Chinese researchers are to be believed, there is already an AI system that can replace human prosecutors “to a certain extent” and file a charge with over 97 percent accuracy, based on a description of a suspected criminal case.

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Introducing the Bus-Train, the World’s First Dual-Mode Vehicle

Japan recently unveiled the world’s first Dual-Mode Vehicle (DMV), a contraption that runs both on roads, like a bus, and on rails, like a train.

The unique bus-train hybrid was unveiled last month, in the town of Kaiyo, Japan’s Tokushima Prefecture. The mini-bus-like contraption didn’t win anyone over with its looks, but it definitely made an impression in terms of practicality. It runs with normal rubber tires on the road, but when it needs to switch to train mode, a pair of metal wheels drop down from the vehicle’s underbelly. The front tires are lifted off of the track, while the rear wheels stay down to propel the vehicle. Switching between road and train modes takes only about 15 seconds.

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Netlicks – Professor Creates “Lickable” TV Screen That Imitates Taste of Food

A Japanese professor has created a prototype lickable TV screen that can reportedly imitate the taste of various foods.

Dubbed Taste the TV (TTTV), the prototype was developed by Homei Miyashita, a professor at the prestigious Meiji University in Japan, as a step towards a true multisensory viewing experience. The Intriguing device uses a carousel of 10 flavor canisters that are sprayed in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The cocktail then rolls onto hygienic film over a flat TV screen, and the viewer can sample it. Miyashita believes that this technology can help people connect and interact even over long distances.

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