Thanks to "Twilight," vampires are more popular than ever. It's only natural that people would want their own vampire babies, isn't it? OK, maybe not, but there is a niche market out there for vampire baby dolls. I'm not talking about action figures or stuffed toys, I'm talking about dolls so realistic you'll feel like you've crossed the Uncanny Valley and emerged from the other side.
Artist Bean Shanine runs the Twisted Bean Stalk Nursery, a site devoted to her unholy baby creations. She takes Reborn doll kits and transforms them into monstrosities. Reborns are incredibly realistic, making Shanine's transformations all the more creepy.… Read more
Getting the hang of 3D animation would probably overwhelm most folks, but the foot-tall Qumarion mannequin could radically simplify the process of creating realistic movement in 3D computer-generated models.
The 67,800 yen ($850) Qumarion, set to debut in Japan in a few months, features a robust array of sensors to assist with creating realistic 3D animation. Developed by Japan's University of Tsukuba and University of Electro-communications, Qumarion can pose, flex, sit, stand, or assume nearly any other position imaginable. … Read more
There's a new Steve Jobs toy on the block, and this one might stand a better chance of making it into your hands.
The iCEO comes courtesy of Throwboy, a pillow company known for tech-related products like Facebook-themed pillows and text messaging pillows with "OMG" and "wtf" on them.
The iCEO is unmistakeably Steve Jobs, even though his name doesn't appear anywhere on the product page. The plush features gray hair, a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and stubble. … Read more
Ragdoll Blasters 3 is the third installment in the popular physics puzzle series, and this sequel is a solid offering with plenty for puzzle gaming fans. Like the first two Ragdoll Blasters, the game concept is simple: on each level, aim your cannon and fire the rag doll to hit the target. Of course it's never quite that easy; you'll also want to grab buttons for extra points, and maps provide plenty of obstacles to make it hard to get a perfect three-star score.
As the third game in a popular series, you would expect the game to … Read more
What if the vice president of your university were a genius producer who had put together an insanely successful pop group of 90 singers and then approved the creation of identical doll versions of them?
Weird? Not for Kyoto University of Art and Design and Yasushi Akimoto, the Steve Jobs of otaku (supergeeks) in Japan. The school just hosted a hit exhibition of dolls based on the gals in the band he produces, AKB48.
At 90 members, AKB48 is the Guinness-certified world's largest pop band. Its members are all females in their teens and early twenties, and all its bubble-gum singles top the charts on the day of their release.
The music is, shall we say, an aquired taste; it sounds like arcade game tunes drenched in a massive one-part vocal harmony. Yet intense otaku fandom has lifted the hydra-headed, miniskirted band to the highest levels of Japanese acceptability. It's even acting as Japan's unofficial representative in China. … Read more
The maker of a controversial Steve Jobs doll is ceasing production and sales of the 12-inch figure in response to "immense pressure" from Apple and Jobs' family.
"Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figurine out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family," Tandy Cheung, head of the Hong Kong-based In Icons, said in a statement yesterday announcing the decision. "Regardless of the pressure, I am still Steve's fan, I fully respect Steve, and his family, and it is definitely not my wish or intention that they be upset." … Read more
Jordan's King Abdullah wants to build a $1.5 billion haven for Trekkers and artist Chris Burden creates a 30-foot-tall dream city filled with racing Matchbox cars. Also, Tokyo paves the way for creepily realistic clone dolls, Apple innovates in headphone design, and Gummi bears make your ears smell.
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You can now listen to the oldest known American recording of a woman's voice that time and technology had left mute.
The recording of the first stanza from the nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," believed to have been produced for a talking doll sold by Thomas Edison, was rediscovered in 1967.
But age had taken its toll. The ring-shaped cylinder phonograph record, which was made in 1888, was bent to the point where it no longer worked with a conventional stylus that required physical contact.
However, a group of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used a new imaging technique to play the 12-second clip without needing to actually touch the record.
After creating a digital model of the record's surface using a three-dimensional optical scanning technology, researchers then saved the audio stored on the record as a .WAV audio file. The sound of the recording is faint and the first syllable of the first word of the recording is missing, but after more than a century, the sound of a human voice comes through. … Read more
You don't even have to ask: Of course she has a pink laptop.
Earlier on Friday, toymaker Mattel announced the results of an online contest to name the profession that the latest edition of Barbie dolls would have, and ultimately two were named: alongside "News Anchor" was the popular-vote winner, "Computer Engineer Barbie." Yes, she has a Bluetooth headset, a pink laptop, a smartphone, and hot-pink glasses. Oh, and she wears sparkly black leggings and a neon green shirt patterned with binary code, the sort of outfit that was probably only acceptable among Burning Man attendees in the late 1990s who liked to talk about "cyberspace." Actually, judging by that outfit, a Pets.com sock puppet would make a great accessory for the new doll.
According to a release from Mattel, the unveiling of Computer Engineer Barbie--she'll hit stores this fall--coincides with "a year-long, global brand initiative to inspire girls of all ages." The social-media-centric "I Can Be" poll that pitted Computer Engineer and News Anchor alongside Surgeon, Architect, and Environmentalist (over half a million votes were cast) is a big part of some image repair for the iconic doll, which has often been decked by feminists for promoting unhealthy body image, materialism, conformity, and the pigeonholing of women into traditional roles.
Some of the other options in the "I Can Be" series that were already in stores at the time of the contest are "Ballerina," "Bride," and "Babysitter." Enough said. But, to be fair, the two newest entries are the 125th and 126th careers for Barbie throughout her five-decade history, so there have been some more interesting ones in the mix over the years: numerous U.S. military officers, astronauts, chefs, diplomats, and um, wedding stylists.
The fact that there is a "Computer Engineer Barbie" is notable not only because it's a legitimate new "professional" entry into the series, but especially because computer science is a field in which women continue to be dramatically underrepresented--way more so than among, say, news anchors or architects.
There are, obviously, two sides to this.… Read more