SHINY PREVIEW: Rubik's Touch Cube

Rubiks puzzles. I hate them. Never could solve one. Never had the patience to. However, I do appreciate the genius of their design, well, I did. Until I met the Rubik’s Touch Cube.

The trouble is that it’s exactly the same mental proposition as the original Rubik’s Cube only with a completely rubbish interface in the way. From my, admittedly limited, time with the one in the vid, I found the touch effect pretty terrible and, given that they’re charging £139.99 for each one when they’re launched, I’d chalk it up as “one for the enthusiast”.

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Daniel SungSHINY PREVIEW: Rubik's Touch Cube

Pleo creator Ugobe files for bankruptcy

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Awww, poor Pleo. Looks like he might be going the way of his friends very shortly, as the company that makes him has filed for bankruptcy and laid off all its employees.

It’s been on the cards for a while, as suppliers have filed lawsuits against the company for non-payment and the company’s website has been going down on a regular basis. It’s possible that the lovable dino will be saved by another toy company, especially as it’s such a powerful brand, but don’t get your hopes up too much.

(via Engadget)

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Duncan GeerePleo creator Ugobe files for bankruptcy

Timewasting website of the day: Tonematrix

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Tonematrix is a site that generates sinewaves in a pattern that you determine. If that sounds complex, then go ahead and click here, then draw something on the grid. It’s far easier to understand if you just give it a try. Far easier than understanding the developer, who says:

“The sound generation is basically a polyphone synthesizer with a simple delay with a variing read-offset to make the tones vibrating in the end.”

Despite the fact that the first thing everyone will do is draw a penis, there’s actually quite a sophisticated synth running in the background. It’s possible to make loops that sound pretty awesome. What would be even more awesome is if you could adjust the BPM on the fly. Or use it to play Battleships with a friend. Either would do.

Tonematrix (via @scdsoundsystem)

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Duncan GeereTimewasting website of the day: Tonematrix

Hexbug: Robotic scurrying insect wants to be your friend

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Forget useful accessories for your desk and instead invest in one or more of these funky little critters.

The Hexbug is a little creepy-crawly robot (6 x 5 x3.5cm in fact) with touch sensors on its feelers and a built-in microphone. Upon hearing a loud noise it will scurry away in the opposite direction, and any time it makes contact with something it will step back from it…

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Andy MerrettHexbug: Robotic scurrying insect wants to be your friend

Voice-controlled toy helicopters coming later this year

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Evil geniuses, take note. Your army of drone planes that currently need to be controlled by an army of assistants will, in March, become obsolete when Tokyo-based Taiyo corp releases a voice-controlled toy helicopter. It’s going to understand English and Japanese, and understands “”start engine,” “up,” “hold,” “down” and “stop”. No “forward”?

It’s battery-powered, 18cm long, and can fly 10m away from the operator. You need to wear a headset to control it, too. Still, it’s likely you’ll be able to mod it to carry tiny miniguns, and hack it to fire on voice command, too. If everything goes wrong, you can control it by conventional remote, too. It’ll cost $60 (£42 or so).

(via CrunchGear)

Related posts: Libelula: Rocket powered helicopter back pack – er, wow! | The DIY helicopter powered by a Honda Civic engine

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Duncan GeereVoice-controlled toy helicopters coming later this year

Xiao Digital Camera – Polaroid for the 21st Century

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I was having a discussion with my girlfriend the other day about Polaroid Camera. She’s a big fan, but I always thought they represented the worst of both worlds between analogue and digital. Still, some people adore them, and if you’re one of them, then this product, straight out of Japan from toy company Tomy, might excite you.

At its core, it’s essentially just a camera with a printer strapped on. That might not sound particularly impressive, but it replicates exactly what the old Polaroid cameras used to do. The camera is a five megapixel jobby, and has infrared so that mobile phones can send their pics to the camera for printing purposes.

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Duncan GeereXiao Digital Camera – Polaroid for the 21st Century

Bunny Webcam might just get you in the night

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In a straw poll I just conducted with a few former colleagues over Skype, I asked five people whether this product is cute or creepy. Turns out that four out of five rated it as “cute” – surprising, because I think it’s one of the the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Place your vote in the comments.

It’s a plush bunny toy, with a webcam in its nose. The webcam’s not that great – 1.3 megapixel, and it captures in 640×480. Not awful, but not brilliant. Still, if you’re buying a plush bunny webcam, then let’s face it – you’re not doing it for the specs.

There’s a wide range of these webcams, from the cute (cow, penguin) through the obscure (supposed-to-be-a-mole) to the utterly trouser-browningly-terrifying (“Angel Baby”).

Bunny-in-a-wittle-hat webcam

Related posts: Microsoft launches two new LifeCam webcams | Canadian “Robot Doctor” is little more than a glorified webcam on wheels

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Duncan GeereBunny Webcam might just get you in the night