When I was 3 or 4, I was a terrible child who swept a path of abject destruction across my neighborhood. And that was with a Big Wheel.
I can't imagine what kind of trouble my friends and neighbors would have been in had I owned one of these gas-powered junior exoskeletons. It's from Japan (of course). It's self-propelled, weighs 400 pounds, and would terrify my pets.
The Kid's Walker is controlled by the pint-size pilot, not the parent, which is a bit worrisome, but at least it's not armed with some sort of firearm, … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--This behemoth of a 3D display measures 71 feet by 16 feet. And that's just a fraction of how big it could be.
Sony is using its HD 3D LED Display System as the centerpiece of its booth here at Ceatec 2010. This isn't the first public display--it made an appearance at IFA Berlin last month and was used to broadcast the World Cup match between Japan and the Netherlands in June. But for all the 3D gadgets on display here at Ceatec (and there are a ton), Sony's stands out. Mostly for its extreme size. … Read more
"This is a single breath analysis diagnostic tool for monitoring disease or metabolic functions that can be used to check cholesterol levels, diabetes, and even lung cancer," says lead researcher Perena Gouma, whose work appears in the October 2010 issue of Sensor Letters. "Lung cancer is a silent killer that can only be detected when it's progressed vastly--but in the breath, … Read more
While NASA prepares its next Martian rover to launch in 2011, other minds on Earth are developing an alternative means to explore the Red Planet. Instead of roving, why not hop around Mars and cover a lot more ground?
Draper Laboratory is developing a concept vehicle that would land on the Martian surface and then propulsively leap to interesting spots, traveling miles with each hop.
In a recent release, Draper says that two hopper vehicles could cover a total of 25 miles on Mars in only a few hours or days. As of September 8, NASA's Spirit and Opportunity … Read more
Jeff's back to complete a week of episodes, and although we don't normally condone eating on the air (because it's gross), we'll make an exception for Wilson's favorite treat--Lotte Koala chocolate cookies! Anyone else see the resemblance? On today's episode of The 404 Podcast, we're delving into the bizarre world of Kindlerotica, aka e-reader pR0n; Groupon is offering $60,000 scholarships to any baby parented by a couple that used a Groupon on their first date; Google's new URL shortener Goo.gl; and a blacklist of words that Google considers too nasty to include in its Instant search feature.
Online coupon distributor Groupon just debuted the most ridiculous PR campaign we've seen in awhile--it's offering $60,000 college scholarships to Groupon babies, and here's how it works. To participate, two people must meet through Groupon's dating Web site Grouspawn, agree to go on a date at a restaurant that accepts Groupon coupons, and see what happens from there.
A Groupon baby is only eligible for the $60,000 scholarship prize if it was conceived on the first date, and proof must be obtained in the form of photographic evidence, credit card receipts, or waiter testimonials. Make sense? There are already 166 members on the Grouspawn Date Assistant, so get on it!
As of Wednesday of this week, the most downloaded novel on the Amazon Kindle Webstore was "Compromising Positions" by Jenna Bayley Burke. As you might not have guessed from the subtle wit in its name, "Compromising Positions" is an adult-rated novel that represents the latest trend in Kindlerotica, or e-porn.
Whereas classic romance novels are traditionally targeted at women, this latest genre is definitely written for men and most of the titles read like text out of Penhouse Forum letters. It's disturbing to think that people are actually reading these stories in public, but the problem may be that Amazon is distributing these stories for free, which explains why they keep popping up on the best-seller list.
None of us really get the appeal, and Jeff puts it best when he describes his visual affinity toward the subject matter. In either case, if you want to check it out, another novel called "Office Slave" seems to be a good place to start....but do everyone a favor and stay out of the subway when you read it, OK?
Speaking of dirty birdies, the 2600 just published the Google Blacklist--Words that Google Instant Doesn't Like, and there are a ton of submissions. Google Instant is a new search feature that shows results in real time as you type. It also relies on predictive results that could potentially save you two to five seconds per search, but that opens up the floodgates on certain words that Google deems universally offensive.
So alongside the standard four-letter cusswords and NSFW terms, there's also a heap of ambiguously dirty words like "golden," "lemon," "teen," and an entire section dedicated to variations on the word "dog." Use your imagination, or just check out the entire list, at your own discretion--this is your official NSFW warning!
Oh, Google also unveiled its own URL shortener called Goo.gl. FYI, we spend less time talking about that than it took for you to read the previous sentence.
But they're poised to pedal even further toward the future, if any of the winning designs from the international Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010 ever hit the pavement. The contest, organized by design magazine designboom in collaboration with the Seoul Design Foundation, tasked inventors with envisioning cycles that could advance Seoul, South Korea, as an eco-aware, design-conscious city.
More than 3,000 designers from 88 countries took … Read more
I'm a huge fan of space. I write about space here on Crave as much as I can. One of my dreams has always been to go to space, but one thing has always kept me from boldly going: the complete lack of beer.
The Eurocopter Group is working on a concept aircraft that's a hybrid of a helicopter and a fixed-wing plane, the company announced today.
Dubbed the X3, the concept--which looks mostly like a helicopter, but with airplane propellers at either side--is designed to offer "the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft" while boasting the hovering and vertical take-off and landing capabilities of a helicopter.
Ultimately, Eurocopter hopes to sell its concept to organizations that require "maximum cruising speed." It said that the hybrid rotorcraft could come in especially handy on search-and-rescue missions and other highly time-sensitive operations … Read more
Popular Mechanics magazine today unveiled its sixth annual Breakthrough Awards winners, honoring 10 products that its editors identified as solving existing problems in all new ways.
The products range from two different approaches to electric cars to the smallest ever camera with interchangeable lenses to a thermostat that can provide a wealth of data even as it responds automatically to changing conditions. The magazine will name the individuals it chose for the Breakthrough Leadership award and Breakthrough Innovators awards later this week.
For six years, a group of the magazine's editors have sifted through countless products, looking for the selections for the year's best inventions. According to science editor Jennifer Bogo, the team tasked with choosing the 2010 awards--which comprised editors from Popular Mechanics' automotive, home, technology, science and online departments--searched for a roster of products that they felt satisfied their rigorous criteria.
Each of the editors on the team nominates their favorite candidates, and then the list is vetted to ensure that each winning product is "really, truly unique," Bogo said.
"We look at things that do more than work well," she explained. "We look for things that actually solve a problem and things that do that in a genuinely new way. [These are] products that take advantage of new materials, or which are networked in a new way, or which can pack more processing power into a small space."
And while the precise variety of selections varies from year to year, it's clear from this year's choices that the editors are sticking with the same general set of themes that Jerry Bellinson, the magazine's deputy editor, spelled out in an interview with CNET in 2009: alternative energy and products and designers that push categories forward. … Read more
"It has the potential of being a safer way of doing what's already being done--delivering information that people are already getting with in-car GPS navigation systems," says lead author William Provancher, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah.
He adds that the study was based on a "multiple resource model" of how people process information, where our senses are considered resources that relay information to our brains:
"You can only process so much," he says. "The theory is that if you provide information through different channels, you can provide more total information. Our sense of touch is currently an unexplored means of communication in the car."
Tactile systems that warn drivers if they are veering out of lanes already exist, but these devices actually turn the steering wheel, instead of prompting the driver to turn it.
Using the new device, the researchers studied 19 University of Utah undergraduates (13 men and 6 women) in four driving scenarios, each one lasting 6 minutes and including, randomly, 12 cues to move right and 12 to move left. During the simulations, each driver's index fingertips rested on a red TrackPoint cap from an IBM ThinkPad computer that gently stretches skin clockwise to indicate right turns and counterclockwise to indicate left.
In two scenarios, the drivers talked via cell phone to a person in the lab while receiving directions from a computer voice or the touch devices on the steering wheel. In the other two scenarios, the drivers did not talk on cell phones.… Read more