Boffins to develop bullet-proof vests made of cement


Leeds University’s School of Civil Engineering has received a £100,000 grant to work on a bullet-proof vest that is made out of cement.

The vest uses ultra-strong cement mixed with recycled carbon fibres and could work out to be up to 90% cheaper to manufacture than the current alumina-based vests.

The British army has been widely criticised for not providing the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan enough armour and protection.

Dr Philip Purnell, who is leading the research team said: “Cement-based body armour would not only create a whole new market but it would also take some of the pressure off the demand for hi-spec alumina models so that people like soldiers, who really need this kit, can get it.”

I’m glad I’m not in the army. I wouldn’t fancy lugging a cement vest around in the desert.

(via The Yorkshire Evening Post)

Lightsaber umbrella – turning Jedis into Stormtroopers


The answer you’re looking for is no. No, you can never have enough Star Wars themed merchandise – certainly not in rainy old England where not even a Jedi mind trick can prevent a downpour.

Instead, equip yourself with the £19.99 lightsaber umbrella. It’s got three internal LEDs, which light up the shaft when you hit the button, but, sadly, you’ll have to make all the sound effects yourself – probably quite fun when you’re cutting through all the pedestrain traffic.

Three AAA batteries are not included, which is a shame because that’s what it require to work, and the whole thing is 84cm long. Suitable for those 12 and over apparently.

You know, I don’t think I can use the word “shaft” with a straight face any more. How did you fair reading it?


Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle shoes!

Squeeeee! I want these more than life itself. Some enterprising Spanish Lucasarts fan has copied scenes from Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle onto Converse sneakers.

They’re both one-of-a-kind and on sale on eBay for €250. Go get them, get them now. Once they’re in your inventory, USE them with FEET and GOTO the post office. Then weep as no-one recognises them. That’s okay. We’re an exclusive club.


(via RPS)

Tokyo Flash Kisai Denshoku – still purely ornamental


Let’s be honest about Tokyo Flash watches. They’re a conspiracy by Japanese people to undermine Western culture by making sure that nobody knows what the time is – ever. The Kisai Denshoku, here, and its buddies are designed to look irresistibly appealing but completely useless as chronographs.

There’s some nonsense about the number of bars representing hours – most likely hours until the West’s self-destruction through enforced disorganisation – but I don’t buy it for a minute, or second or whatever units they want to represent. The clever part is we get to pay them for the privilege. £163.70 and you too can speed the revolution. Fool.

Tokyo Flash

Tauntaun sleeping bag keeps your kids safe in the snows of Hoth


The Star Wars fans among you will have gasped with disbelief already just from clicking the link, but the uninitiated will be wondering “wtf?”. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is lost in the snows of ice planet Hoth, and is bloody cold, so he chops open a big hairy creature – a Tauntaun – and climbs inside to survive the night.

Now your kid can crawl into the guts of a hairy snow-creature too! Though actually, it doesn’t seem to be available, which means it was probably an April Fools joke. The response seems to have been so great, though, that they’re actually going to try and make the things. Here’s what they say:

“Due to an overwhelming tsunami of requests from YOU THE PEOPLE, we have decided to TRY and bring this to life. We have no clue if the suits at Lucasfilms will grant little ThinkGeek a license, nor do we know how much it would ultimately retail for. But if you are interested in ever owning one of these, click the link below and we’ll try!”

That link is on the product page, which can be found here. Go give it a click. I demand an adult-size version, too.

Product Page (via @gorocket88)

It's a coat! It's a bag! It's a tent!


If you travel a lot, you appreciate convergence gadgets – those ones that combine two or three different gadgets into one. Is this going a bit far, though? It’s a coat that also serves as a bag and a tent(!).

The product of designer Justin Gargasz, this is just a concept so you won’t be able to buy it, but it’s pretty well-constructed. Made of Cordura, the excess material when in jacket form is rolled into the lower back to provide lumbar support. The arms of the jacket act as a handle when you’re in bag mode.

The only problem that I can forsee would come if it rained. If you’ve got a soaking wet tent, are you really going to want to put it on to try and keep you dry the rest of the day? One for dry weekends only, I think.

(via LikeCool)

Hyundai's MB-910 touchscreen watch-phone


Oh dear, I hear the rumblings of the forming of a bandwagon. The £1,000 LG G910 wasn’t enough for you all? Hyundai doesn’t think so, because it’s making its own variant – the similarly-named MB-910.

As well as being a watch, it’s a tri-band phone, with 3 hours of talk-time battery life, bluetooth (for a headset), SMS, MMS and video playback. No video calling, I’m afraid. Best feature of all? POLYPHONIC RINGTONES! Hurrah – I missed those.

Available within the next few months (“Q2”), Hyundai’s watchphone will cost £200. A bit more reasonable than LG’s effort, at least.

(via Reg Hardware)

LG watch-phone to cost £1,000!?


Gosh, that’s rather a lot. Mobile Today reckons that the LG watch phone that we covered here will be exclusive to Orange and cost a massive £1,000. Wow. The mere thought inspired Nate Lanxon from CNET to create the wonderous venn diagram over the the right there.

The G910 watch-phone was announced at MWC last week, and LG showed it off at CES too. Considering its appalling specs, requirement that you constantly wear a headset, and – now – massive price tag, it’s clear that Orange see this as a novelty for rich people, not a real device.

(via Mobile Today and CNET)

MWC 2009: LG's G910 "Touch Watch" and Arena phones get official


Wow, things move fast from prototype to production these days. The LG GD-910 that we saw at CES is now the LG G910 Watch Phone, and due for release later this year.

It’s got a 1.4″ touchscreen face, HSDPA, and video calling capabilities. There’s also a text-to-speech engine for reading out texts to a bluetooth headset, and voice recognition stuff too. For maximum geekiness, precede every voice command with “Computer:”.

As well as the Touch Watch, there’s also the Arena, previously written about here. We were promised specs and a release date, and by jove, we’ve got them. Or most of them, anyway.


There’s a 3″ touchscreen, running at WVGA resolution. It supposrts DivX and Xvid codecs. It can record DVD-resolution video, and video at up to 120fps for super-slo-mo playback. There’s 8GB of internal memory, and that can be expanded by another 32GB of MicroSD action.

There’s an immensely joyful 3.5mm headphone socket, and the aforementioned HSDPA, GPS and Wi-Fi. There’s a 5-megapixel camera, too, and geotagging for photos. There’s a tonne of inbuilt Google apps, too. All this is packed into a 105.9 x 55.3 x 11.95mm shell.

What’s missing? Well, I’d like a flip-out QWERTY keyboard, and maybe an upgrade on that camera, but beyond that, I can’t think of too much. The Arena seems like a very capable handset. I hope that it delivers on its promise, but I don’t think it’s topping the N97 in my “can’t wait for” phone list. How about you?