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Geeky Gizmos

  • Robotic lawn mowers soon to graze US lawns

    Automated lawn mowers are more and more becoming a reality around the globe. While these sheep-replacers have started cropping up all over in Europe within the last few years, iRobot from the US has just received the go-ahead from regulators to release a hands-free, grass-cutting machine on home soil. An NASDAQ-listed company, iRobot is popularly known for its range of Roomba vacuum cleaners, which are flat, automated dust collectors that crawl around your homestead doing what they do best. They are also an excellent source of transportation and play things for cats. The company has also recently received a nice, fat US$9.8-million...

  • 5 useful but fashionable fitness gadgets for the sporty generation

    Purchasing gifts in this day and age is a scary task. There's no such thing as resorting to socks if all else fails, and roses are great but don't last particularly long. In the technological era, people want gifts with screens and buttons. But don't worry, we're here to help. If you're wondering what to buy a particularly sporty person in your life, there has never been a better time to choose a sporty gadget. With the troves of options available -- from wearables to smartphones that do more than most -- the choices are endless. While narrowing these down is a...

  • Fallout 4 fans can preorder a real limited edition Pip-Boy for $120

    For more news, announcements and videos from E3 2015, follow our dedicated week-long live blog. Set in a post-apocalyptic world (roughly around the 22nd century), in a retro-futuristic setting with heavy influences from the post 1950s nuclear paranoia, the Fallout series just got a bit closer to the heart. The Pip-Boy, a crucial piece of the gamer's equipment when scrolling through your in-game items and characters information, was released at Bethesda’s E3 2015 showcase in Los Angeles, but unlike a coded experience, gamers can now have a real device to wear on their wrists. A real Pip-Boy for your wrist? Yes...

  • 5 incredible robots showcased at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge

    Entrants in DARPA’s 2015 Robotics Challenge competed for a US$3.5-million cash prize, and the robots showcased didn’t fail to deliver on their promise. The robots were expected to successfully navigate a marathon-like obstacle course, complete with eight tasks specifically designed to test their mettle in natural disasters. Why natural disasters, you ask? The competition was conceived and put into motion directly following the cascading disasters that resulted from the deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown combo that devastated parts of Japan in 2011. Earlier in May of 2015, 10% of containers holding contaminated water at Fukushima’s power plant were still...

  • Tempescope downloads the weather forecast and makes it rain, literally

    Weather is a difficult phenomenon for the average Joe to read. It's erratic, and even more so in Cape Town, so one must be fairly adept at either gauging when it's likely to change. This small box however, dubbed the Tempescope, takes the guesswork out of weather forecasts. It sits on a desk and downloads the weather forecast for tomorrow. Sounds boring right? Not until it actually displays the weather physically within the cube. Lightning, rain, clouds and sun can be reproduced on a miniature scale to bring a little bit of the outside inside. Ken Kawamoto, a software engineer, has been...

  • MIT builds ‘first ever’ cheetah-like running, jumping four-legged robot

    This week MIT researchers released a video featuring the first ever four-legged robot that can identify and jump over obstacles while running. Thanks to a new three-part algorithm, MIT’s cheetah robot can size up the height and distance of an approaching obstacle and estimate the best placement of its feet right before jumping. The robot is also able to assess how much force it has to exert to clear the obstacle and land safely. "A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior. You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically...

  • Kickstarter Cubit lets makers build to their imagination’s content

    Crowdfunding and the Maker Movement go hand in hand, and there have been a number of projects riding on the coattails of this new phenomenon. Remember the likes of Kano and CHIP? Well, there's another device to add to that list, called Cubit. The company's pretty serious about the Movement too, and hopes that users of the Cubit will allow users to "make whatever can imagine -- and fast." Cubit itself consists of three distinct nodes: the Cubit Controller (which is essentially the central piece of the puzzle), Cubit Smartwares (which contains all the necessary servo motors, etc.), and the...

  • Bipedal robot ATRIAS takes its first outdoor stroll

    Developed by engineers at Oregon State University (OSU), ATRIAS is a bipedal robot that recently took its first ever outdoor stroll, marking a significant milestone in its quest to become the first robot to emulate the true nature of human locomotion. Although there are plenty of exciting bipedal robots currently in development, only ATRIAS mimics “the elastic, energy retention” characteristics of human legs. Why develop bipedal robots that walk like humans? To scare children and expedite the obsolescence of human beings, obviously. I kid. In truth, emulating human walking in robotics serves the purpose of saving energy. Already, ATRIAS expends significantly less energy when walking as compared to other...

  • Nexpaq is a smart, modular Iron Man suit for your smartphone

    Phones embracing the beauty of modular technology might still seem a big strange to some, and a bit far from consumer reality. This is mainly because consumers are used to choosing a device with a set spec sheet. Modular technology turns this notion on its head, giving consumers the power to choose the features of their phones. It's brilliant, and we're holding thumbs for the likes of Google's Project Ara modular smartphone project, but another company is thinking of the closer future, bringing modular technology to something a little closer to the smartphone, but not quite the smartphone itself. Read more:...

  • DIY ‘Iron Man’ glove boils oranges using lasers, won’t defeat Ultron

    What do you get when you combine a Marvel fanatic with an inventor who has his own YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers? Ladies and gentlemen, nerds and geeks, we present to you the indomitably brilliant Patrick Priebe. Priebe, the same guy who made the James Bond laser watch that can blast through plastic, is the founder of Laser Works, a website dedicated to nothing more than pure DIYer awesomeness that features a variety of Priebe’s laser and missile firing inventions. His latest gadget is a real-life Iron Man (you know, one of The Avengers) glove that fires lasers and aluminum slugs. And while these lasers...