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Franziska Dierschke was definitely having "fun" while creating the Aimat digital camera. Taking no assumptions of structure from the concept of a traditional digital camera, the Aimat carries forward its point-and-shoot functionality by creating the ability to take small, pinhole-shaped images without the aid of a viewfinder. And by being shaped like a gun.
Oops. Did I say "gun"? And that's supposed to be "fun"? Okay, I am going to shake off the skepticism and allow the playfulness that the designer had in mind while creating this concept camera. The intent behind which was to "put less emphasis on picture quality, and more on the playful act of taking the picture" itself. Cool. No word on when this one is going to find its way into production.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is "interactive" furniture of the most useless kind - a concept called the Mood Chair by UK based designers Aether & Hemera. And after some more wasted minutes spent in trying to understand its utility, I fail to find one.
The Mood Chair apparently has sensors that take cue from the user and the environment to determine his/her emotional disposition. That's not all. After the internal circuitry - consisting of "LEDs, embedded micro-chips, appropriate sensors and custom software" - can take stock of your mood while you are on it, the chair changes color to broadcast it to anybody who's around, and interested. Guess how infallible that can be.
For the others who jumped up in anticipation, we have no clue when this thing might get into the stores. If ever.
Catch a video after the break.
Sound pretty complicated? But not the principle behind this one-of-a-kind eco-friendly Water Powered Clock from Green Stamp. The idea is, simply, to use energy from water to keep the clock alive and ticking.
Judge it not yet. Because the Water Powered Clock is a small, albeit hugely significant, indicator of how modern electrochemical technology can be used to create electronics without emission or additional burden on existing "non-green" energy sources. And the clock is very conveniently designed for that very same purpose - a can into which you have to pour water once every 6 months to keep it running. A great product to introduce kids to green tech.
The can-shaped clocks are available in 4 colors at £9.99 (around US $17). And yes, the results maybe unexpected in case you decide to get creative with the choice of liquid. We guess.
Via Shiny Shiny.
How to veer Santa away from giving you those girly gifts (like hair curlers, eek!) and bring on the really useful ones (like gadgets, yum!) instead? Well, let why not let the tree scream for your cause this Christmas? So, get plentiful of these acrylic gaming ornaments designed by Dave Rollins, and we bet your decoration will be the talk of the geek town. They are sold together as a set of seven and contain laser cut-out versions of Wii, N64, Xbox 360, Dreamcast, NES, PS2 and Sega Genesis controllers. That said, calling this "geek-chic" would only be an understatement.
Via Slippery Brick.
After the gorgeous Galaxy Dress, I've been keeping my eyes open for more awesomely fabulous fashionable tech. Lo and behold, there's the Flare Dress from Dutch designer Stijn Ossevoort. The dress in itself is lovely, a light and breezy number perfect for a spring day. What makes this frock a talking point is the dandelion detailing.
When a breeze hits the dress, the dandelions come to life, glowing in all their gentle LED glory. That's right the Flair dress is a wind-activated number that lights up in a pattern of lights when the wind or a human blows on it. A whimsical affair, I can't wait to see what other innovative designs will come from this talented designer.
Via Born Rich
OK, I exaggerate. It's actually only 9,195 gifts under $50.
That's the number I got when I plugged HolidayUnder50 into the Search box at Etsy.com. Don't know Etsy? Etsy's tag line is "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade," and that says it all.
What can you get at Etsy? What can't you get there? Yes, there's hand-thrown pottery and handknits and handmade jewelry in unique designs. But there are also slightly naughty panties and monogrammed dish towels and Hello Kitty custom soap. And I haven't even mentioned Vintage items like the Polaroid Land camera (I remember those magical photos!) and the Lenox china Christmas angel brooch, and the wooden desktop paper sorter.
And several thousand more. And there's also a page of gift guides organized by price and category--stocking stuffers, food gifts, personalized items, and more.
Pictured above, a handmade iPhone/iPod case recalling the old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) control pad. If you plug iPhone into the Etsy Search box, the number of items you get is, wait for it, 3,820.
H1N1 (swine) flu activity has gone down a bit in the US, which is good news for Thanksgiving travelers this week. Some are even predicting that the disease may have peaked in the US. But even if that's true (which nobody knows), a great many people still are going to get sick. Meantime, there's lots of flu sufferers, and some deaths, everywhere else.
Here's a terrific free site for keeping up with the flu everywhere: HealthMap, the global disease alert map. This is the link to the English version. But from this link you can also get the flu map in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.
You can also download HealthMap's iPhone app that will bring your mobile a map and news of disease outbreaks near you, including swine flu. The app is interactive, so you can also report local outbreaks that are not yet in the HealthMap database.
Sometimes gadgets and their designers can take themselves a little too seriously. In the need to show that their new product is worthy of geek worship, tech gets painted in the utilitarian colors of black, white and silver. I'm not a huge fan of tech painted pink and marketed towards women either, but a little color wouldn't hurt some of these devices.
IPod speaker manufacturer Speakal has always been one to buck the trend, giving us speakers in the shape of cute little piggies, loveable ghosts, and playful pandas. Their latest speaker follows the same irreverent design cues and puts the "aw" in awesome.
The Speakal iPom is an shaped like an apple and has two flowers perched on top acting as speakers with the third hiding out in the apple-shaped base. This pom has a little punch with its 2.1 stereo speaker system, adjustable bass, and 12W subwoofer. In addition to being iPod compatible, the iPom can also play music from USB memory sticks and SD card. It also works with any mp3 player that has a 3.5mm output.
The flower speakers are removable so they can be placed around the room. Retailing for $99, the iPom is a cute change in pace from the black and silver, slick design gadgets have become.
Want to live on Mars and even study it as a scientist? Then move to this amazing new Web site
Drawing on observations from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mars missions, the "Be a Martian" Web site is designed to help the public to participate as citizen scientists to improve Martian maps, take part in research tasks, and assist Mars science teams studying data about the Red Planet, according to NASA. The site was put together by NASA and Microsoft and is just opened.
Among the possibilities, NASA says, participants will be able to explore details of the solar system's grandest canyon, which resides on Mars. Users can call up images in the Valles Marineris canyon before moving on to chart the entire Red Planet. The collaboration of thousands of participants could assist scientists in producing far better maps, smoother zoom-in views, and make for easier interpretation of Martian surface changes, the agency says.
By counting craters, the public also may help scientists determine the relative ages of small regions on Mars. In the past, counting Martian craters has posed a challenge because of the vast numbers involved. By contributing, Web site users will win game points assigned to a robotic animal avatar they select.
And if you're a software developer, you can win prizes for creating tools that provide access to and analysis of hundreds of thousands of Mars images for online, classroom and Mars mission team use.
It's not clear to me whether doing this stuff will actually help NASA out--although in these parsimonious days, who knows, maybe your contributions will actually count. And even if they don't count, this site is just incredibly cool.