Ride this Robo-Triceratops until you get (dino)sore.

Ryan Weir Robots, Toys 1 Comment

Jurassic Park was a good idea. Not the ‘meddling with genetics’, ‘playing God’, and ‘being eaten alive bit’ – but the bit where the Dinosaurs come back to Earth to be used for our amusement. That is a really really good idea.

Which is why i really like this fantastic toy by Hasbro.

Called ‘Kota the Triceratops Dinosaur’ this terrible lizard is part of the Playskool range aimed at kiddies up to 3-4 years old. Now, up until seeing this, I thought Playskool made simple toys like Sticklebricks and bath-time toys like that turtle with the worried look upon it’s face.. Well, I guess simple toys just aren’t good enough for ‘Playskool’ers anymore, because Kota the Triceratops is anything but simple.

This is a robotic life-sized baby dinosaur. It walks, it squawks, it carries you around on it’s back. Talk to Kota and the thing responds by roaring, stomping it’s feet, or wiggling it’s tail. It has independent head, eye, mouth and horn movements. In fact, this animatronic dino wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Jurassic Park. Okay, it would. It really would, but you get the idea. This is one highly advanced toddler toy.

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An iPod to iPod Transfer Gadget – NOT for the iPhone.

Ryan Weir Digital Music, Gadgets, iPod, MP3 players 2 Comments

A new gadget called the 'iPod® to iPod® Transfer Device' is on the market which allows you to 'quickly and easily transfer music, video, and pictures from one iPod to another, without the use of a computer'. You simply hook the two iPods up bottom to bottom (like a couple of mating mayflies), and as long as you have already pre-set your iPod to 'disk drive' mode, the crazy gadget allows your iPods to talk to each other and shift over it's content from one t' tother..

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Touchy-feely Robot-Skin for Robots (and maybe us)

Ryan Weir Biotechnology, Robots 1 Comment

Everyone loves a robot. Especially a sensitive robot. Just look at WALL-E or Johnny-5. When it comes to a robot who has the capacity to feel, we all go a bit gooey inside. The cold, unfeeling, emotionless robot is a metaphor for that fear we have of losing what it is to be human.

Okay, so i'm playing loose with the double-meanings behind the word 'feel' and 'sensitive', because we're not talking emotional robots, or robots with 'feelings' but rather robots which can feel. Like in objects, and surroundings. LIke we can, physically.

Yes, some rather smug looking Japanese researchers/scientists/tech-bods have stumbled upon the perfect answer to the problem of making Robots completely sensitive to their environment. Be it cold, hot, hard, or soft. The skin they've developed looks like tin foil, gold tin foil like the stuff they wrap around marathon runners at the end of the race. Space Blankets i think they're called. Anyway, it looks like that, but it's not. It's a fine rubbery material that has hundreds and thousands of tiny carbon particles inside which allow conductivity of electricity. The skin can be stretched to 2.3 times it's normal size, allowing it to bend around a robot's metal frame and move with joints like a glove.

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Get closer to the stars with William Shatner's new Video Autograph company

Ryan Weir Celebrity Gadgets, Websites, Weirdness Leave a Comment

It seems the bloke from the All-Bran Bran Flakes adverts is doing really well for himself. William Shatner, an actor famous for introducing the Kellogg's 'Yoghurty' cereal to unsuspecting members of the British public, was so inundated by requests for his autograph from eager breakfast-food fans that he has set up a company offering them a multimedia autograph experience as an alternative to boring 'pen on paper' autographs.

Shatner, also a sci-fi actor from the television series 'Star Trek' (whatever that is), has established a company called 'Live Autographs' with some non-famous business partners to offer a radical new twist to the celebrity name-scribble market: Notably, personalised video recordings filmed by the star of your choice to a request of your choice.

The idea is simple enough: You get a celebrity's face and voice recording whatever you want them to say. Want Shat' to sing you Happy Birthday whilst crossing his eyes and flapping his wig? Done. Want Carmen Electra to tell you her favourite Star Trek episode whilst crossing her eyes and flapping her … eyelashes? No problem. And how much is it gonna set you back? Just $149. Bargainus.

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Utterly pointless, totally useless 'Cybertek Wings'… yours for $1,000!

Ryan Weir Gadgets, Stupid Gadgets, Weirdness 3 Comments

Very rarely am I stumped for an opinion on a product, but this little baby has got me stumped like a pirate with two wooden legs.

Maybe i should just start by describing the thing: They’re wings that are made of metal that you can wear. They are called: Cybertek Wings. And what you do with them… well, that’s where i’m stumped.

As far as i can work out, you simply strap them to your back and press a little switch and – ‘phwoom’ – out pop the robo-wings. Ta-da! Brilliant. There you are, standing in your living room, pleased as punch, with your Cybertek Wings all stretched out in the breeze. Glorious… but now what? They won’t make you fly. They won’t let you glide. They don’t.. do.. anything. Well, except go ‘phwoom’ at the touch of a button, and even then it only goes ‘phwoom’ seven times. After that, you have to take them off and build the air pressure back up before resuming your ‘phwoom’ing.

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UPDATE: Apple acknowledge iPhone faults & pledge software update 'cure all'

Ryan Weir iPhone, Mobile phones 1 Comment

Following my colleague Duncan’s report earlier today that Apple have been accused of using low-quality chipsets in their iPhone range, I’m happy to announce that Apple have responded promptly to the issue by releasing an apology (of sorts), and confirming that the next software update, due in a month or so, will fix the current issues with poor quality reception – thereby effectively ending the intense speculation that Apple might have to recall the phones.

Wildfire rumours have rumbled across the net for days saying that Apple were going to have to do the ‘dreaded deed’ and recall all iPhones for a costly and humiliating hardware upgrade, but Apple’s confirmation of a software fix promptly douses all of that. Until today, the main blame has been focused on the Infineon chip, and how reliable a chip they actually are. If software really is to blame then it backs up Infineon’s Chairman, who has repeatedly told deaf ears that “Our 3G chips are, for example, used in Samsung handsets and we are not aware of such problems there”.

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NASA celebrates its 50th Anniversary in style – with a Flash-based website.

Ryan Weir Internet, Space, Websites Leave a Comment

NASA is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary with a party.

Not a crazy, balls-out, scientists running around getting naked and drunk kind of party. No. What they're having is a balls-out, online, multimedia, Flash-animated, interactive website kind of party. Rock on!

Actually, they are gonna have a real party (a 'gala', no less) later in the year ('balls-out', as yet unknown), but they really have launched an interactive, online, what-i-said-above website to celebrate, and it's really quite good. I've been playing with it for over an hour now, and it's endlessly fascinating. It really is!

I mean, I'm a sucker for pictorial versions of anything. I hate sitting down with a sheet of text and having to read it all, so an interactive, online, thingamy-what-i-said-above is a great fun way for NASA to really communicate (especially to the kids) what exactly it is they've been doing for the past 50 years.

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The Polaroid is BACK, baby.. yeahhhh!

Ryan Weir Cameras, Gadgets Leave a Comment

‘Click – Snap – Phizzzzzzz.. Plunk. Flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap..’

All the sounds of the late great Polaroid Instamatic Camera.. Ahh, how we loved thee.

Not enough to keep buying you perhaps.. but, ahh.. how we loved you all the same.

Yes, the world suffered a great loss in the tragic demise of the Polaroid camera. We mourned it’s passing. We searched on ebay to pick up a straggler. Well, i did. But just when hope was lost, when days were at their darkest.. like a little photographic version of the messiah – the saviour rose again. Indeed, what was once lost is now found, and news that the unique little camera is making it’s way back to the shelves is surely the delight of many a consumer. But things are different this time around, this time it’s wearing a brand new set of 21st Century techno-togs, all like, digitalised and shiny and stuff. A veritable Jesus in a nanotube toga.

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This time scientists give mice a live-forever liver.. so unfair.

Ryan Weir Biotechnology, Health 1 Comment

Can someone please tell me exactly what is so very wrong with mice that Scientists are determined to spend so much time supe-ing them up?!

Last week i wrote about scientists who created exercise-in-a-pill for mice. Well, this week, different lab-coat wearing mouse-botherers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York, have gone and genetically modified a lil’ mouse’s liver to stop the aging process in it. And it’s worked, apparently.

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Is your neighbour an evil felon? Find out online, right now, for free.

Ryan Weir Internet, Websites, Weirdness 4 Comments

We all know the fear..

A new guy moves in to the place next door, and he seems nice enough – all smiles, and quiet, and polite, and stuff.. But, no-one is really that nice, are they?

You’ve just started dating, and as you stare lovingly in the eyes of your newly beloved, a thought crosses your mind.. you can’t help but wonder.. Is he/she all he/she seems to be? Is the friendliness and charm just a cover for a darker, more sinister reality? Is this person a serial killer who likes to rape children!?! They could be! How would i know!?

Well, if you live in America, there is now a convenient, free, online way for you to find out. Yes, spying / invading privacy has just got that little bit easier: criminalsearches.com is a beta website (i.e. ‘in development’), that allows anyone with access to the internet (that’s everyone now, right?) to search for any and all criminals living in their neighbourhood, or State, or indeed, Country. Not only that, but the website lists what crimes they were convicted of, and, brilliantly, their names and addresses too.

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