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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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High-Tech Movie Has Five Different Endings, Depending on Who Is Watching It

The Angry River is a short interactive film that uses eye-tracking technology and artificial intelligence to gauge who the viewer looks at and where their eyes linger most on screen. The film then edits itself into one of five possible storylines, to suit the viewer’s interest.

The Angry River is basically a film with the interactivity of a multiple-ending video game, only instead of using a controller or a keyboard to make choices that impact the storyline, you do it with your eyes instead. Armen Perian, the filmmaker behind this groundbreaking project says that he was inspired by something one of the members of his editing team said three years ago. It sounded crazy at the time, but a seed was planted in Perian’s head, and with the advancement in artificial intelligence, that crazy idea became reality.

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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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Japanese Engineer Builds 28-Foot-Tall Functional Gundam Mecha Robot

As a child growing up in Japan, engineer Masaaki Nagumo always dreamed of climbing into his very own Mobile Suit Gundam mecha. As an adult, he finally made that dream a reality.

Nagumo created the 28-foot-tall, 7-tonne-heavy LW-Mononofu robot as a project for his employer, industrial machinery maker Sakakibara Kikai, in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture. The metal colossus took six years to finish, and is probably the world’s largest anime-inspired robot that you can actually ride in and control. It can move its arms and fingers, turn its upper body, and walk forward and backward at a snail-like speed of 1km/hour. As any respectable mecha, it also has a weapon – a metal gun that fires sponge balls at a speed of 87 mph.

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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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Russian Company Offers Parents Gold Plated 3D-Printed Models of Their Unborn Children

Mothers who can’t wait to hold their babies until they are actually born can now fulfill their greatest dream with the help of 3D-printed, life-size models of their unborn children based on ultrasound imagery.

Embryo 3D is not the world’s first company to offer parents 3D-printed plastic models of their soon-to-be-born children, but it claims to offer the highest degree of realism, not to mention several choices of material, from basic plastic to gold or silver-plated plaster. They apparently use advanced ultrasound technology that offers an incredibly detailed 3D image of the baby, including face, hands, feet and umbilical cord.

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This Company Claims They Can Preserve Your Brain for Future Use. But First They Have to Kill You

Just because your body will eventually wither away and die doesn’t mean your brain and all the memories stored in it have to. At least that’s the pitch made California-based company Nectome, which claims to perfectly preserve clients brains for use in the future when technology will allow all the information stored in them to be transferred to a computer.

Nectome claims that we will one day be able to survey the brain’s connectome – the neural connections within the brain – so thoroughly as to reconstruct a person’s memories long after they have died. That day is still a long way away, but Nectome is offering to preserve people’s brain in such a way that when the aforementioned technology becomes available, they can be among the first to resume their lives as computer programs, or even something more.

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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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Irish Company Builds Boat That Is Impossible to Capsize

The Thunder Child is a revolutionary search and rescue boat that is virtually impossible to capsize. Even when flipped upside down in the water, the vessel is able to right itself almost instantly.

Developed by Irish company Safehaven Marine for use by the Irish Navy in high-pressure situations, the XSV-17 ’Thunder Child’ can reach speeds of up to 54 knots (62 mph), fits a crew of up to 10 people, and is designed to absorb shocks from rough seas. But its most impressive feature is the ability to bounce back into an upright position in any situation, which makes it impossible to capsize.

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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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Swedish Funeral Agency Wants to Use Artificial Intelligence to Allow People to Chat with the Dead

A funeral agency in Sweden is currently seeking volunteers for a project that it hopes will offer people comfort by allowing them to speak to their deceased loved-ones.

First of all, if you’ve already read something about this on sites like Mail Online or Sputnik News, you should know that most of the information they present is truly ‘fake news’. No, Swedish scientists are not trying to create robots or androids that are “fully conscious copies of dead relatives”, in fact, I’m not even sure any Swedish scientists are involved at all. This is actually about a Swedish funeral agency called Fenix wanting to create bots (computer programs, not actual robots) powered by artificial intelligence that can offer comfort to living relatives of the deceased.

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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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