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Let's Cafe prints images on the top of coffee, turning your cup of joe into a whole new visual experience. Plus, we help lazy dog owners play with their dogs without getting their hands dirty, and we also try on the amazing Tetris LED tie. All that and a little more on this week's Crave. … Read more
Japan is already known for integrating robots into everyday life, whether it's giant fembots in Tokyo's red-light district or shampooing robots that handle salon duties. Now, students from the University of Tsukuba have created a robotic girlfriend coat for lonely fellas.
The Riajyuu Coat features a belt around the midsection. Motors on the back tighten the belt, squeezing the wearer to replicate a girlfriend coming up from behind and giving him a hug. A set of headphone lets the guy listen to a high-pitched woman talking at him, apologizing for being late, and just generally coming off as cute, in an anime sort of way.… Read more
National governments are increasingly purchasing surveillance devices manufactured by a small number of corporate suppliers and using them to control dissidents, spy on journalists, and violate human rights, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders warns in a new report released this afternoon.
The group's 2013 report for the first time names five private-sector companies "Corporate Enemies of the Internet" for their choice to become "digital mercenaries" and sell surveillance and censorship technology to authoritarian regimes.
"If these companies decided to sell to authoritarian regimes, they must have known that their products could be used … Read more
As they say in "Game of Thrones," winter is coming. You could settle for a regular jacket, or you could get a jacket with adjustable insulation that can adapt to the weather on the fly.
Air chambers on the Klymit Ulaar Jacket can be inflated or deflated to change the amount of insulation. If it's colder, pump it up. If you're out hiking and working up a sweat, let some air out. An air pump tucks away into the left pocket, and you can control both the deflation and inflation from there.
The idea is that the air chambers capture your body heat and keep it in circulation around you. The jacket's also windproof and maintains its thermal abilities when wet.… Read more
Rumors coming from Apple Insider predict that Efun, a Taiwanese-based manufacturer of superthin substrates coated with indium tin oxide (ITO), may be supplying its ITO film to Apple.
Among its other properties and uses, ITO acts as an electromagnetic interference shield and helps reduce signal noise from radio frequencies, which in turn would enhance Web connectivity on devices like the still unconfirmed iPad Mini.
Apple Insider also predicts that Efun will provide its ITO coating to Apple for future standard-size iPads as well. There is no word as to whether the coating would be applied to iPhones or iPod Touches. … Read more
According to a recent study, 19 percent of you have lost your smartphone due to a fatal meeting with the toilet. Putting aside the disturbing fact that some people can't part with their phone for a precious few moments, wouldn't it be nice not to worry about your mobile device, should it take a tumble into the commode or any other body of water?
Well, it could happen, and even better, it could happen this year.
A company called HzO developed a nanofilm waterproof coating that can protect your electronics from the perils of water, but it's a bit different from some of the other solutions out there, such as NeverWet and Liquipel.
The difference is that HzO's WaterBlock is applied during the manufacturing stage instead of after, so it safeguards the insides of your phone, tablet, or MP3 player--and not just the outside.… Read more
Three U.S. senators are asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to investigate recent reports that Internet-monitoring gear made by two California-based companies has found its way to Syria.
In a letter (PDF) made public today, the senators ask Clinton to investigate reports that devices made by NetApp and Blue Coat Systems were sold to Syria in a possible violation of U.S. law. The companies are both publicly traded and located in Sunnyvale, Calif., about an hour's drive south of San Francisco.
"We are deeply concerned about the reported sale of Internet monitoring and censorship technology to … Read more
Blue Coat Systems has confirmed that its devices were being used by Syria to censor the Web and said it is investigating how they got into that country despite a strict U.S. trade embargo, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The appliances were "transmitting automatic status messages back to the company" Blue Coat executives told the newspaper.
"Blue Coat says it doesn't monitor where such 'heartbeat' messages originate from," according to the report. "Computer code reviewed by the Journal indicates that Syrians were also using other Blue Coat products, raising questions about how … Read more
We have these things in New Mexico called rain barrels. They're big plastic tanks that catch rain water running off your roof for later use in your garden.
The Raincatch coat concept is like a personal rain barrel or a do-it-yourself CamelBak. Instead of filling up a water bottle and taking it with you, you just catch your drinking water as it falls from the sky.
Hyeona Yang and Joseph Noble, students at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, hatched the Raincatch idea and fashioned a prototype from an existing rain coat.
The coat's collar flares out like a particularly dramatic Dracula cloak. Rain is captured, runs down the back of the coat, flits through charcoal filters, and then zips through a chemical purification process.
The rain is stored in a hidden reservoir around the hips, though I'm not sure how many ladies will be keen to carry extra water around there. The resulting potable water is drinkable through a straw whenever you're feeling a bit thirsty.… Read more