Category: Cool Gadgets

You’re Welcome


Most of us could agree that the Internet is composed of the worst breed of humanity all gathered into one giant community of face palms. If you ever forget this fact, one conversation with a fellow Internet dweller will refresh your memory. Of course, you yourself are the only decent and mature person in this unending ocean of 13-year-old trolls, so why continue to immerse in this scum of society?


For things like this: that make the Internet worth browsing.


This Tone Matrix is a synthesizer that can never sound bad. It is the pinnacle of human potential! Well, okay, that may be going too far, but still, this thing is awesome and you should try it out. I probably sat at my computer for an hour just messing with it the first time I was introduced to this glorious creation. Now we can finally put faith in humanity and know that maybe, just maybe, the Internet isn’t completely void of decent people like yourself.


Look! I made Tetris!


3-D at Its Best


Welcome to March, everybody! I know it’s a couple days late, but March is great because it puts you that much closer to spring. And what’s so great about spring? It’s not winter. Snow is for old ladies who have no need to go outside and kids who enjoy sledding more than they enjoy being not cold. I’m not one of those kids. So, happy March, and here’s to warm weather!


Anyway, I’d like to direct your attention to the video at the top if you haven’t already looked at it. It’s a really cool concept, and I hope to see it in the future of gaming. If you absolutely refuse to watch the video (which I finally figured out how to embed!), then it’s basically about a cool little computer program this guy makes that changes the perspective of what’s on the TV screen based on where your head is located. He uses the Wii tracking technology to accomplish it, allowing anyone to experience this really cool 3-D effect by downloading the program off his website.


The concept looks really, really (gotta have two for emphasis) awesome. I mean, imagine applying this technology to video games. You want to peer around a corner to shoot the bad guys, you actually move your head to change your view. But I guess the Xbox Kinect could theoretically do that, too, if it actually had good games (although Sonic Free Riders looks pretty good; I’ve always been a fan of racing games). But anyway, the most exciting this about the “head tracking” is that it gives you the most realistic looking 3-D yet, and it doesn’t even need a special TV.


So, yes, the head tracking sounds all great and wonderful, but if you do apply it to video games, there is one thing I take issue with. It’s not that only one person can see it as 3-D–no, that can be fixed with a helpful setup called “split screen.” What I’m afraid of is wanting to play a really addictive game late at night and being too tired to move anything other than my fingers. You gamers know what I’m talking about. It’s 3 a.m., you’ve consumed more Mountain Dew than you’d like to admit, and you’ve been playing the best game in the world for the past 6 hours. There is no way you’re going to have enough energy to take a deep breath after a difficult boss, much less move the upper half of your body to look around a corner. I experienced something similar when playing Twilight Princess on the Wii. So many lost hearts that could have been avoided if only the attack command had been just a simple button…

Improving Your Image

…Digital image, that is.


You know when you’re watching a detective show like CSI, and they enlarge and enhance an image to an unbelievable resolution?



Movies and TV shows like these used to make me angry. I mean, there’s no way that we could actually be able to see tiny details that were lost by poor quality cameras and blurry lenses, …right?


Wrong! Using a new mathematical algorithm, we can actually bring photos to a higher resolution than the original. This means that CSI scientists can generate a more detailed image without fear of jumping the shark.

I’m sure you’re wondering by this point: how can this be?! You must be pulling my leg! Well I do not want your leg, nor am I pulling on it. That would be creepy. Before, people would have to make assumptions as to what’s in a blurry image, like if there are letters you could hardly make out, you would have to guess what it says. But as you may expect, this method is not very reliable.


Instead, scientists have discovered that adding noise to parts of a photo makes it less ‘sparse,’ or void of data. The noise fills in the gaps with amazing accuracy, as you can see in the pictures to the left. The top row shows the original image–the left is the picture, and the right is the frequency map. The middle shows the same image, only foggy, and the bottom contains the reconstructed picture.


After seeing what this new technology can do, I’m sure it won’t be long before the algorithm finds itself in the hands of detectives across the globe.


But let’s get past the obvious crime-fighting applications and ask ourselves, how can this help us as geeks? I’m probably proposing something a little too difficult for this wonder-working algorithm, but just picture applying the image enhancer to your TV screen. And then dusting off your old Nintendo system. And then playing, say, Mario on it. What would that look like?! I know that with the release of more recent games, we can play a higher resolution version of Mario, but when you think about the original Mario game, you think in giant pixels clouding your vision of the little red plumber from Italy.


I just had an even better idea! One word: Doom.


If you’d like to learn more about the algorthingy, click here for the only article I found on it.

Invisibility Cloak

I’ve read a lot about this thing and I’m still getting chills thinking about the very idea of an invisibility cloak. But it really is real! Really guys. Technology is quickly catching up to Harry Potter and Star Trek, as scientists have developed a cloaking device that hides something about the size of a paper clip. The ‘cloak’ is a calcite crystal that bends light around an object so that you’re seeing whatever is behind the crystal, rather than in it.


According to Gawker’s rather humorous headline: “Scientists Invent Invisibility Cloak for 1,000th Time,” this isn’t the first time something’s been rendered invisible. Apparently, scientists have used other types of crystals, a gold plate, and even something called a “carpet cloak” to make the seen unseen. This is the first time, however, that something as big as a paperclip has vanished. Other attempts have been limited to the micro level.


So instead of hiding atoms (which people can’t see anyway), now we can hide our office supplies! Pretty soon we’ll be up to stapler-size, and then just think of the office pranks we could pull! “I believe you have my stapler.” “That’s ridiculous! I don’t SEE it anywhere!”


There is a catch, though: we can still see the crystal. So when we finally do make it to full body size, we may not see a person, but we will see a giant crystal walking around, which would probably be even more conspicuous. Sorry ninjas, you’re probably going to have to wait a little bit longer to be truly invisible. While you’re waiting, I hear Lord of the Rings has a pretty good invisibility gig going on, with the one ring and all. You might have to fight Frodo, Gollum, and nine emo zombies to get in on it, but hey, good things don’t come easy.


If you’d like to learn more about the invisibility cloak, here’s a link to a video you can watch, or click here for an article and another cool video.

3-D Food Printer

So I was listening to Rooster Teeth’s podcast yesterday (because my addiction to Rooster Teeth is so bad that I literally sit around listening to a group of people I’ve never met talk about what they’re going to eat for lunch), and I heard one of them mention that Cornell is developing a 3-D printer that prints food.


Yes, you read correctly: a food printer. It takes a homogeneous mixture (like soft chocolate) and spits it out of a moving funnel, creating (supposedly) edible foods like cookies, cakes, or even a ‘designer dome’ made from liquefied turkey meat. I have no idea what a designer dome is, but it’s made from turkey meet, which sounds pretty disgusting if you picture it coming out like frosting from a funnel.


People are saying “Oh! the possibilities are endless! We could print out any kind of food we want!” which I doubt is very accurate. Some things, when liquefied, just don’t go back to their normal state. But hey, what do I know? How could they possibly have any trouble printing, say, an ear of corn? With desserts, sure, maybe the possibilities really are endless, but fruits and vegetables might be a different story.


But what I want to know about this whole food printing thing is, when is the food fax machine coming out? The 3-D food printer uses blueprints of the food to create it, so why not send another printer the blueprints of what you want made? It would be awesome! “Oh crap, I forgot to make dinner. That’s okay! I’ll just email my 3-D food printer, and it’ll make dinner for me!”


Or how about all those times when you’re texting someone “im makking c00kiez!!!1″ (because we all text like that), and they go “i want sum!” even though they’re in the next state over, and you’re like “ do I respond to that? ‘No you can’t have some’? Well now I’m a jerk.” With the 3-D food fax machine, you could say, “Sure! One liquefied cookie coming right up!” and waste all their food ink. Just be sure they don’t have it loaded with turkey meat, because that’s just gross.


Anyway, if you want to find out more about the food printer, here’s an article with some videos and words and stuff: