The Weirdest Tech Gadgets From The Last 25 YearsEven though mankind has been witness to multiple technological inventions and innovations for decades, tech companies will completely miss the mark at some point, right? CNET’s Ty Pendlebury compiles a list of the weirdest and most ridiculous releases from companies over the past 20 years.We’d like to note that these inventions do work and have an intended purpose. It’s just that customers wouldn’t grab it for two reasons: (a) it’s way too expensive (some of them are priced around $949 a piece, and that’s on sale), and (b) there’s a safer and more practical option out there already. From vacuum shoes to toilet paper robots to MP3 weapon holsters, the list contains more items than you’d expect– with some of them making us very surprised. We even asked ourselves, “who was the target audience for these products?” Check out the full list here! Image credit: Andrew Lanxon/CNET#gadgets #CNET #technology #products 
The New Scientific Way To Refrigerate ThingsResearchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have created an alternative cooling system for refrigerators. The typical method is for devices to transport heat away from it through a gas, which can be harmful to the environment.The new process introduced by the researchers in their paper, published in Science, is called ionocaloric cooling. This method removes that gas part of the cooling process and replaces it with ions. Under this new system, the researchers propose having a current with ions running through a refrigerator. This will shift the melting point inside to change the temperature. The charged particles or ions can melt a block of ice, and the experts also added salt to the ionocaloric cycle to cool the surroundings of the device, which in turn will lower the temperature of the refrigerator inside. The team now aims to get the newly-developed technology out of their lab and into systems that can be used commercially. "We have this brand-new thermodynamic cycle and framework that brings together elements from different fields, and we've shown that it can work," mechanical engineer Ravi Prasher shared. "Now, it's time for experimentation to test different combinations of materials and techniques to meet the engineering challenges."Image credit: cottonbro studio#refrigerators #coolingsystems #device #technology #research #ionocaloriccycle
Turn Your Old Phone Into A Security CameraAre you looking for a way to dispose of your old smartphones? If selling them isn’t an option, don’t just throw them away! Why not repurpose them as new devices for your home?A good way of reusing these forgotten devices is by turning them into home security cameras. Not only will you get these gadgets working again, but you’ll also get to save a few bucks in keeping an eye on your home, especially when you’re not there. All you need is your old phone (Android or iPhone will work), and for you to follow 3 simple steps, which we’ve written below. Don’t worry, we’ll explain bit by bit in the following sections: 1. Install a security camera app on your old phone2. Choose a spot for your phone security camera3. Mount and power your new security cameraSo let’s say you have your phone. The first step is to install a security camera app on it. Consider looking for an application that has local streaming, cloud streaming, recording and storing footage locally or remotely, and motion detection and alerts. CNET recommends Alfred, a cross-platform software that is compatible with both Android and iPhone. You can also install the application on your new phone so that you can monitor your space anywhere at any time. Once you’ve chosen and installed your chosen application, the next step is to find a good place for your camera. We recommend placing it on the main entry area of your home, backyard, or the area where you store your valuables. The last step involves mounting and powering up your camera. Try using a small smartphone tripod or a suction-cup car mount to position your device. As your old phone turned security camera will be on 24/7, position it close to a power source. And that’s a wrap! We hope that this short guide is of assistance to you. Image credit: Lisa Fotios#camera #phones #smartphones #technology #reuse #iPhone #Android #security #homesecurity
Should You Blur Your Home on Google Maps?Google Maps is a navigational tool that helps people around the globe see different places that they are unfamiliar with. Its accessibility, in which users can have only an internet connection and/or download the app, allows travelers to reach a new destination without getting lost.Aside from that feature, Google Maps is also used for recommendations and ratings of different establishments such as malls, restaurants, and tourist spots. Some people also use the application to “travel” without leaving their home– as in use it to go around different locations in any part of the world. The application's immersive and wide coverage provides some pros and cons of course. The pros are what we’ve indicated above. For the cons, well, privacy. Anyone can enter almost any address into the software and get a recent image of whatever building is on that area. Stalkers or criminals can easily plan their way inside any area, especially your home.For the sake of privacy and personal safety, we do recommend you blur your home on Google Maps. The application allows users to do this. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a trusted web browser. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to do so: 1. Go to the Google Maps website on your browser. 2. Enter your home address in the search bar. 3. Use the Street View of the resulting location on the website. 4. Click Report a Problem, which is at the bottom-right of the site.5. A new window will appear, where you will have the option on how to blur your home. Adjust as desired using the plus and minus buttons. 6. Choose what you’re requesting to blur underneath this area. 7. Enter your email once you’re satisfied, verify the captcha code, and click submit.Note that this change will be permanent, so think about if it will be necessary before submitting your request!Image credit: Google #Google #GoogleMaps #privacy #navigation #security #homesecurity #technology
Webcam Peeking Attack: Researchers Can Read People's Screens During Zoom Meetings by Reading Reflections in Their EyeglassesWell, this seems to be a new cause for concern for those who find themselves frequently in online meetings.Researchers have found a threat called “webcam peeking attack,” which involves a program that can reconstruct text reflected in an online meeting participant’s eyeglasses or other reflective objects in a video conference. This kind of threat may be used in the future if webcam technology is be further improved and developed. The academics involved in the study created a model of how this attack will work and it was found to have an accuracy of over 75% when reconstructing and recognizing text obtained by a 720p webcam. If this threat appears in the future, attackers could also identify the websites and other forms of information their victims are using. It can certainly be a tool for phishing important and sensitive information. Yikes! Image credit: Diva Plavalaguna/Pexels#cybersecurity #threat #research #technology #webcams #onlinemeetings #webcampeekingattack #textrecognition #models 
C SEED 201 is the World's Largest Outdoor TV That Unfolds Its ScreensWell, you certainly don’t need to worry about storing this gigantic television. Meet the C SEED 201, an outdoor MicroLED TV that is intended for outdoor use.The model, at 201-inches, has seven MicroLED panels which stand at 15 feet each. It can also move 90 to 180 degrees in one direction so people outside can watch without being disturbed by the sun’s glare. To further enhance its use as an outdoor entertainment system, the C SEED 201 has six coaxial speakers and one subwoofer.If you want to provide an extraordinary movie night to guests with this piece of technology, get ready to shell out around US$700,000 and US$800,000.Image via C SEED#television #outdoortv #entertainmentsystem #CSEED #foldabletv #technology 
Adding Googly Eyes to Self-Driving Cars Can Reduce AccidentsA new study from the University of Tokyo has discovered a possible way to improve pedestrian safety, especially during busy commute hours. All it takes is a pair of large, googly eyes.Yes, you’ve read that right– these fun and weird little trinkets can actually help avoid road accidents. The team recruited several people to participate in virtual reality (VR) scenarios to test if they would cross the road in front of a moving vehicle. They found out that the subjects actually made safer or more efficient choices when the vehicle had… googly eyes on them. Note that the eyes were robotic though, and looked at the pedestrian as it registered their presence. There was a difference between genders, which surprised Chia-Ming Chang, one of the members of the research team. “While other factors like age and background might have also influenced the participants’ reactions, we believe this is an important point, as it shows that different road users may have different behaviors and needs, that require different communication ways in our future self-driving world.”Image credit: Chang et.al #googlyeyes #research #technology #cars #selfdriving #UniversityofTokyo
The Follower: Artist Used AI to Find Instagram Photo Moments as Captured by Surveillance CamerasSurveillance cameras are good when used to prevent crimes from happening. They can also play an essential role in capturing said crimes (and identifying perpetrators) when they happen. However, the same cameras can also be used for nefarious purposes, like secretly tracking people's movements. And with privately installed surveillance cameras spread in public places worldwide, monitoring persons of interest has never been this easy.To demonstrate the dangers of our current surveillance technology, Dries Depoorter created an art project called "The Follower." True to its name, The Follower would zero in on an unsuspecting Instagram user and then piece the Instagram photo together with footage from a nearby surveillance camera.Depoorter's inspiration for the project came as he watched a live feed of the New York Times Square wherein he saw a woman spending a lot of time taking photos of herself (most likely to capture that perfect shot.) Depoorter thought that the woman was probably an influencer, so he scoured Instagram photos that were geo-tagged to Times Square. Unfortunately, he found none. But this gave him an idea: he could combine people's Instagram photos and footage from cameras made available to the public.​One of Depoorter's unsuspecting subjects was David Welly Sombra Rodrigues. One of his friends sent him a news article about Depoorter's The Follower, and he was surprised to see that he was, unknowingly, filmed.Unfortunately, Depoorter's YouTube video was already taken down because of a copyright claim by EarthCam, a company that streams webcam content on the Internet.Depoorter, however, states that his project is not about companies that make such things possible. Rather, his point is "there are many unprotected cameras all over the world."Whether we like it or not, we can be monitored, whether by an individual, or by an organization.Depoorter says it best. "If one person can do this, what can a government do?"(Image Credit: Dries Depoorter/ EarthCam)#AI #ArtificialIntelligence #EarthCam #TheFollower #Privacy #Surveillance #Art #Technology
Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM): Flying 3D Printing Drones Inspired by Bees and WaspsDon’t fret! This swarm is just here to build some structures.Experts from the Imperial College of London have developed a new kind of drone that can actually print 3D materials while flying in mid-air. The flying robots were created with the collective building methods of bees and wasps in mind. These drones make up a system called Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM), where all of them work together to create something. There are two different kinds of robots in the said system.The first is called BuilDrones and is in charge of depositing materials during their flight. The second kind is called ScanDrones which measures the BuilDrones’ output and directs them to what they would do next. The researchers, led by professor Mirko Kovac of the college’s Department of Aeronautics, believe that the Aerial-AM’s in-flight 3D printing capabilities will be of great use for the construction industry. These drones will be perfect for building in difficult-to-access areas, such as tall buildings or even locations that got devastated by natural disasters. “We’ve proved the concept that drones can work autonomously and in tandem to construct and repair buildings, at least in the lab. This scalable solution could help construction and repair in difficult-to-reach areas, like tall buildings,” professor Kovac stated. Image credit: Yusuf Furkan KAYA, Aerial Robotics Laboratory of Imperial College London#robots #drones #3DPrinting #AerialAM #ImperialCollegeLondon #construction #manufacturing #technology #robotics #aeronautics 
World's Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking RobotIndeed, technology is amazing. Engineers invented the world's smallest remote-controlled robot which is only about half a millimeter wide. To visualize it, think of something that is smaller than the thickness of a US penny. The robot imitates the look of a small crab, hence it is called a robotic crab. Although this is a small man-made creature, it actually took its creators a year and a half to make. This time allowed them to make it as realistic as possible.  The robot can move sideways, walk, twist, turn, and even jump. The robot is still in its developmental phase, but it shows a promising future.  It is especially promising for the medical and manufacturing industry, where it can be used to perform minimally invasive surgeries and help in the assembly or repair of small-scale machines. Truly, it is an epitome of "small but mighty."  ​Image credit: CNN#Robot #Engineering #Technology #NorthwesternUniversity #Illinois
Scientists Create Artificial Skin That Can Feel Pain"There, there" is what I would tell this robot hand since it feels pain.Engineers from the University of Glasgow created the artificial skin with a new type of processing system that shows a remarkable ability to learn to react to external stimuli. ​After decades of building artificial skin with touch sensitivity, the robot they created finally reacted to pain, showing a withdrawal reflex. The method is inspired by how the human peripheral nervous system processes impulses from the skin. This robot breakthrough enhances the current state of the craft in touch-sensitive robotics. Robots with artificial skin will be useful in the future, especially in simulations in the medical industry.Video credit: BEST Group #Robot #Technology #Science
AI Beats 8 Human World Champions at BridgeIt looks like computers have bested us yet again!An artificial intelligence has succeeded at beating eight champions at bridge, a card game that involves players competing in pairs. The algorithm, named NooK, created by French startup NukkAI, challenged the seasoned players to play 800 consecutive deals– that is 80 sets of ten. NooK won 67 out of the 80 sets. According to Jean-Baptiste Fantun, the co-founder of NukkAI, he was confident that the AI would win. The interesting thing about this new AI is that it is capable of explaining its decisions as it goes along, unlike other models. The bridge players were awed at the AI, finding it had the ability to read its opponents way better than how actual humans do. In addition, they noticed that playing with the AI was like competing with an experienced player. “This is something that humans do after enough experience and I was pleasantly surprised that a robot mimics typical human skills,” Nevena Senior, one of the champions the algorithm fought, said. Image credit: Inês Ferreira#bridge #artificialintelligence #computers #cards #technology #NukkAI #NooK 
Dyson Zone: Wearable Air Purifier and Headphones ComboThe popular home electronics brand Dyson has taken its first step into wearable technology by releasing the Dyson Zone, a pair of noise-canceling, high-fidelity over-ear headphones that give immersive sound to the ears while also delivering purified airflow to the nose and mouth.The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones are the culmination of more than a decade of research and development into air quality and noise pollution challenges in cities. "Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go. In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport. The Dyson Zone™ purifies the air you breathe on the move. It delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturised air pumps. After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere,” said Jake Dyson, son of famous inventor and founder James Dyson.
Squid-Skin Inspired Material Can Keep Your Coffee HotOne of the pet peeves of hot coffee drinkers is that having their cup of hot coffee immediately turn cold, especially on a cold winter day.Technology engineers at the University of California, Irvine have invented an adaptive composite material that allows for the insulation of different packaging. One kind of packaging is a beverage cup.  The design is inspired by cephalopod skin and is an infrared-reflecting metalized polymer film that regulates heat by using reconfigurable metal structures. The mechanism is comparable to chromatophore expansion and contraction in a squid's skin. The new material not only helps the coffee drinker maintain the temperature of their coffee, it also keeps keeping skin safe from the heat. The invention is also environmentally friendly because it is sustainable.#Coffee #Science #Technology #Invention #SquidSkin #UniversityOfCalifornia
YouTuber Will Osman Built His Own X-Ray Machine after Getting $69K Hospital BillThis content creator decided to DIY an X-Ray machine after spending thousands of dollars in a hospital. Californian YouTuber and engineer Will Osman received medical treatment that was worth $69,000. "I avoided surgery, but they still billed nearly $70,000," Osman told Popular Mechanics. His bill included an abdominal CT scan, medication, and two nights in a hospital room. Thanks to his insurance, he only paid $2,500. But that’s still a lot of money, right?After his hospitalization, and annoyed with the high costs of medical treatments, Osman decided to build his own fully-functional X-ray machine. Gathering the necessary materials for his project took months, but the building process took less than a day. The hardest part of the project was building the energy-converting glass X-ray tube. He used an old dental X-ray head and connected the tube to his own power supply. This contraption controls the amount of X-rays generated, he shared. "It's hard to see X-rays, though, so a special sheet of material called an intensifying screen is used to convert the X-rays into visible light, then these photons are captured by a DSLR camera I chose for its extreme low-light sensitivity." Osman explained.Image credit: Will Osman #DIY #Xray #hospitalization #technology 
Dumbphones Are Becoming Popular AgainLooks like some are preferring to go full retro with their choice of phones. Dumbphones are a term used to refer to the old handsets we used before the rise of smartphones, like Apple or Samsung, without the current features that we enjoy now.The revival of these retro devices started between 2018 and 2021 when a jump in the Google searches for them went up as much as 89%. In terms of sales, while incomparable to the number of smartphones that get sold every year, “one report said that global purchases of dumbphones were due to hit one billion units last year, up from 400 million in 2019,” BBC wrote. According to mobile expert Ernest Doku, the revival of the “dumbphones” is due to nostalgia and trends online. "Many of us had a dumbphone as our first mobile phone, so it's natural that we feel a sense of nostalgia towards these classic handsets," he explained. While these retro phones can’t outshine the current devices on the market in terms of performance or functionality, their appeal, aside from their aesthetic, would be in terms of battery life and durability. Image credit: Isaac Smith#dumbphones #smartphones #retro #handsets #technology
RHP Bex by Kawasaki Robotics: A Robot Ibex Mountain Goat You Can RideLive your wild fantasies of riding a mountain goat without feeling the stress of the animal having its personal space invaded by some enthusiastic human! Introducing the RHP Bex, an android mountain goat created by Kawasaki Robotics. The robot was modeled after the Ibex, a species of wild goat native to some parts of Eurasia and Africa.Bex is capable of being friendly to humans, so have fun riding this guy in the future without the fear of being rejected. In addition, the robot can withstand body weight and take human companions out on a ride. Nice. This badass machine can carry up to 220 pounds of cargo, which is perfect for not only carrying passengers on its back but for transportation of other materials. The company envisions the robot goat to be dynamic and fully modular so that it can fully adapt to finish different tasks. “The upper body of Bex is not fixed and we are thinking of adapting it according to the application,” its designers describe.Image credit: Kawasaki Robotics#robotics #KawasakiRobotics #RPHBex #mountaingoat #android #technology
DeepMind AI Can Control Superheated Plasma Inside a Nuclear Fusion ReactorUK-based AI firm DeepMind collaborated with the Swiss Plasma Center at EPFL in Switzerland to create an algorithm that would control the plasma inside a nuclear fusion reactor. The program is tasked to hold the plasma, forcing it to hold its shape long enough to extract energy from it. The resulting AI was able to control the reactor without any fine-tuning. While the model controlled the plasma for only two seconds, that short amount of time was longer than how long reactors can run before getting too hot.The breakthrough can help experts understand how nuclear fusion works. Additionally, it can hopefully help in more ways to stabilize the plasma in reactors to harness a potentially unlimited source of clean energy. Image credit: Curdin Wüthrich, SPC/EPFL#nuclearfusion #artificialintelligence #research #science #technology #DeepMindAI
Researchers Managed to Decipher Redacted Text Hidden by Pixelation or BlurringDan Petro, lead researcher at Bishop Fox discovered that pixelation or blurring of text or images may not be the best way to conceal information or identity. He had successfully demonstrated how to decipher pixelated or blurred text using the pixelation method. Petro had also released a GitHub tool, Unredactor, that can be used to reconstruct pixelated or blurred text, as shown in the GIF above.
Norimaki Synthesizer is a Lickable Device That Uses Electrically Charged Gel to Deliver Flavors Straight to Your TongueGet ready to be shocked… by the taste!Homei Miyashita developed a lickable device that replicates different food tastes just by licking the apparatus. The Japanese researcher created the Norimaki Synthesizer, a rod-shaped device that uses five gel nodules made of dissolved electrolytes to simulate basic taste sensations (eg. sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami). The Meiji University researcher and professor believe that his synthesizer opens new possibilities for human-computer interaction. The device could provide a new medium for multimedia experiences. Each of the gel nodules in the apparatus is  made by dissolving sodium chloride, glycine, magnesium chloride, citric acid, and glutamic sodium in separate solutions. The electrolyte solutions are then turned into gel. According to Miyashita, the user can taste all five tastes when they lick it with no voltage applied to the apparatus. "However, when an electric potential is applied, the cations (positively charged ions) in the gel move to the cathode side and away from the tongue, so that the flavor is tasted," he further explained.Image via de zeen #taste #tastebuds #electroniccircuit #gel #technology 
Artist Used AI to turn Buzzfeed Headlines Into Horrifying PicturesGenerative artist Max Ingham, also known under the pseudonym Somnai, created images from infamous and memorable BuzzFeed headlines. The artist was “inspired” to generate images after an interaction with Max Woolf, a BuzzFeed data scientist. Woolf quipped that he needed to look into how the Contrastive Language-Image Pre-Training (better known as CLIP) neural network would handle memorable headlines. Ingham did the job for him, and they were kinda creepy.As seen in the photo above, the disgusting and nightmarish pink Kraft mac and cheese and the weird and abstract-looking baby that the network generated from mashing up Grimes and Elon Musk are unsettling. However, they also look like images you'd see in a museum.Image credit: @Somnai_dreams via Twitter#art #AI #aritificalintelligence #technology #Buzzfeed #CLIP
Paralyzed Man with Severed Spinal Cord Can Walk Again Thanks to an Electrical Implant Surgically Attached to His SpineA team of Swiss researchers has developed an implant that allows patients who had a complete cut to their spinal cord to walk again. This miraculous feat was tested by Michel Roccati, who was paralyzed because of a motorbike accident.After getting his spine cut, Roccati had no feeling in his legs. The electrical implant, which was surgically attached to his spine, now enables him to walk. "I stand up, walk where I want to, I can walk the stairs - it's almost a normal life," he said. The new technology was a gift to him. While the implant has assisted Roccati and eight others to move after getting their spines injured, the team behind the implant stressed that it isn’t a cure for a spinal injury. They stressed that the technology is still too complicated to be used in everyday life. Image credit: BBC #implant #technology #spineinjury #paralysis #research
Microrobot Drone Weighs less than a Penny and Can Fly Around with Bug-Like AgilityOne problem that scientists encountered when it came to creating tiny robots was the need for their soft actuators to have higher voltages than rigid actuators that were similar in size. Recently, researchers from MIT may have found a solution to this problem.Using a new fabrication technique, the researchers were able to build soft actuators that only needed 75% lower voltage while carrying 80% more payload. Using these soft actuators that act like muscles that make the robot's wings fly, the MIT researchers have created these tiny drones, each the size of an insect, with the speed and toughness comparable to a real bug.The tiny robots in question are rectangular microbots that weigh less than one-fourth a penny. These robots could prove to be useful in pollinating plants, and when searching for survivors in collapsed buildings.Image Credit: Chen et al. via MIT News#Microbots #Robot #Technology #Electronics #Robotics #drone
Apple Drone by Tevel Works Day and Night to Help Farmers Harvest Fruits from TreesThis drone was not made by Apple. It’s for apples, though.Tevel Aerobatics Technologies created a special drone for fruit farmers. The apple drone is a contraption that can pick up fruits and drop them off at a collection device or container. The flying tethered quadcopter is equipped with an outstretched arm attached that allows it to be a great help during harvesting season. Tevel’s drone is a way of automating fruit harvesting. The company came up with the idea of using multiple drones at the same time. The drones would be tethered to a central machine that provides unlimited power to each drone as they plucked apples from multiple locations on a farm. The apple drones have sensors and cameras that determine if a fruit is ready for picking and knowing where they should place them. Image credit: Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd.#apple #fruits #harvesting #automation #machinery #technology #drone #TevelAerobaticsTechnologies