It's Friday, the weekend's nearly upon us, we're all tired; the last thing we need is a good old shock. But that's what the Tech Digest team got when a link to this peculiar mobile phone turned up in our…
The University of California is undertaking research, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, that will allow the creation of remote-controlled beetles. The beetles remain alive, but unable to control their bodies as the chips take control of their wing muscles via their optic nerve.
I don’t know what it is about this story that terrifies me most. It could be the fact that beetles are so easy to mind-control that you can just stick a chip on them and they’ll do your bidding. It could be that it would be incredibly cheap and easy to build a vast cloud of evil cyborg beetles and send them at your foes.
I might even be that there’s these poor beetles in California, alive, and unable to do anything but passively observe the remainder of their pitiful existence as their muscles spasm upon commands from military generals. I think it’s a combination of all three, so how about we end this post right about now, before I start shivering helplessly.
Remote Controlled Beetles (via Hackaday)
You can sometimes forget that the etymology of ‘fan’ is ‘fanatic’, but the video above will bring that particular recollection screaming back. The best bit? The ‘Silence of the Lambs’ voiceover, and the creepy dim green light. How many hours of his life do you think he’s spent in there?
This is a damn creepy robotic head, put together by researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. He’s called “Jules”, and can watch your facial expressions and copy them. In the video above, he’s copying the expressions of the scientist behind the camera, while you hear the scientists’ voice.
Dunno about you, but this one, for me, falls firmly into the uncanny valley. Especially if it was copying my facial movements exactly. It’s a bit like that friend everyone has who doesn’t quite ‘get’ social interaction and always behaves a little bit odd. Robotics is great, but we’re still some way off realistic human expressions, it seems.
(via the Daily Mail)
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”).
The Unfinished Swan is a forthcoming indie game / tech demo, made in XNA by a chap called Ian Dallas. It’s set in a completely white world, and you’re equipped with splats of black paint which you use to view the area around you. The goal is to find your way to the exit…
This is a “Solar seeking botanical augmentation”, to quote the Play Coalition, who are building the thing. It’s basically a plantpot on legs which has a light sensor and moves around your room in order to find the best, brightest spot…
Remember that god-awful Segatoys Dream Cat Smile from a few months back, which caused possibly every Dreamcast-owning Sega fan to mourn the downfall of their adored Sega Empire, and join up for another year’s membership of the anti-Sony fanclub?…