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Geeky Gizmos

  • 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...

  • 5 awesome alternative gift ideas for Mothers Day

    It's that time of the year when we honor our mothers by showering them with gifts and showing them our appreciation for all the things they do for us all year long. It's the least we could do. We know that buying a card and a teddy bear in a teacup is probably the cutest thing you could do for her, but why don't you surprise her with something a little different? Perhaps, something that suits the 21st century lifestyle we all know and love? I'm talking about something with buttons and cool electronic circuit boards. Interested? Good. Below is a list...

  • 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:...

  • 10 movies that predicted and inspired the future of tech

    Since the days of Jules Verne -- author of Around the World in Eighty Days, and the like -- science fiction has been trying to predict the future, from the cars we drive (or fly) to the food (or pills) we eat. Science fiction has also opened doors to the future, even if we couldn't walk through them just yet. Even so, people in the 20th century expected us present folk to be flying around in jet-packs or travelling on air with the latest flying cars as portrayed on some movies. Hollywood took this as a challenge of creating more inventions...

  • 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...

  • Festo’s butterfly drones will set your heart aflutter

    Not only do most drones get a bad rap for being buzzing contraptions of death that can easily invade our privacy, they are also not the most attractive by design. While our perception of drone technology remains suspicious, explorers, artists and researchers are beginning to use them for more creative and educational purposes. From capturing sweeping panoramic views of exotic locales around the world to uses in space exploration, drones are finally getting the acceptance (provided they are used for good) they deserve. And now, thanks to a German engineering firm called Festo, drones are also beginning to mimic nature in a variety...

  • KSafe locks away temptation so you can reach your goals

    Storing things for rainy days often doesn't quite work that well, especially since the storage container is easily accessible, and pries open with a simple flick of the chocolate-craving finger. A Kickstarter project dubbed KSafe is determined to change this though, keeping those snacks (or gaming controller) locked and safe until you damn well reach those goals you set yourself. "We know it is much easier to set goals than it is to achieve them," notes Ryan Tseng of KSafe. "We can start with the best intentions, but then we become distracted, procrastinate or just lose focus. We turned to research...