If you have a habit of overdoing it when it comes to drinking science might have a solution. MIT graduate student Dhairya Dand has created ice cubes that let you know when you’re drinking too much.
Dubbed “cheers”, these cool ice cubes contain a circuit inside an edible jelly mold. The circuit monitors the number of sips you take and determines how drunk you are getting with a timer clocking the rate you’re knocking back those cocktails. As you start drinking too much the ice cubes change from glowing green to orange and then red.
If you keep drinking despite the warnings, the ice cubes can send a text message to a designated contact to let them know you’ve had a few too many.
Just in time for the tastiest craft beer season of them all, Brew Gene is a handy app that allows beer aficionados to track and rate their favorite brews, and then uses those personal ratings to offer suggestions based on what you’ve liked in the past! It’s like TiVo, but for your liver!
I just downloaded this today, and it’s pretty new, and thus a little buggy — users are automatically logged out if your phone goes dark, and I’m having difficulty logging back in after my initial sign-up.
That said, there’s a lot of potential here. In addition to just rating the beers you’ve tried, you can also take notes on taste and color — how wonderfully, wonderfully nerdy!
The app also suggests a “Beer of the Day” each day, and has a “Random” function to populate a list of random beers for you to rate in case you’re too lazy to actively use the “Search” feature — and let’s be honest, if you’re drinking beer, you’re probably not too inclined to type keywords into your phone, especially as the night wears on.
If you’re of-age and like beer and obsessively documenting every aspect of your existence, Brew Gene is available for free download in the iTunes app store. And as Gary Thorne, play-by-play man for the Baltimore Orioles likes to say, “Please drink……..responsibly.”
Guaraná Antarctica is a Brazilian soft drink company. They’re also revolutionizing post-breakup back-slides and social media shaming with their Ex-Lover Blocker app.
Here’s how it works:
You “convince” your newly-single friend to download and install the app on their smartphone. They then designate the former lover’s number as “blocked”, and in the event of a moment of weakness, the app prevents the ex’s number from dialing and also alerts selected friends of the attempted contact in order for them to prevent further attempts. If the forlorn dump-ee still elects to deactivate the app and call the dump-er, the app announces their weakness on Facebook to invite public shaming. You know, the way all good friends do.
Things aren’t going so hot for the US Postal Service right now: they’re fending off a barrage of angry emails & phone calls from me on an almost weekly basis, and seeing their customer base shrink by the day. Don’t weep for them, though — much of this is self-inflicted, as they continue to lose or just not deliver mail that people (hey, I’m people!) want, while simultaneously stuffing our mailboxes with junk, excuse me, direct marketing mail that most people don’t want.
Thankfully, Readabl has come along with an app designed to help put the USPS out of our collective misery a little more quickly: PaperKarma.
PaperKarma is available for iOS and Android phones (as well as something called Windows Phone. Apparently Windows forgot about the fate of the Zune. That’s OK, so did everyone else! *tech-zing!*) and allows users to take photos of the junk mail they no longer want to receive. PaperKarma then contacts the mailer and unsubscribes users from those distribution lists. Pretty sweet, amirite?
One hiccup, though — this app only works for junk mail addressed specifically to you. Sorry, Current Resident(s)!
Still, less junk is always a good thing. Unless you’re a hoarder. Or an extreme coupon-er. Well, even then it’s a good thing — who needs three lifetime supplies of store-brand cola and toothpaste?
Sakebii is a new social drinking app for the iPhone that allows users to invite friends out to get crunk. Now, there are already a lot of apps like this out there, but it seems like Sakebii is trying to set itself apart by keeping things small.
Sakebii limits the number of friends within your network to 30 people — which still seems like a lot to me. If I walk into a bar and see more people than there are seats, it’s too full. But it’s still a decent concept that insulates you from potentially annoying acquaintances from popping in and crashing the party.
It’s still in development, but once it’s launched, I might try it out — if only in the hopes that the user interface is as adorable as the images on the “how to” page make it out to be!
OK, the title is a bit misleading, in that I (and I imagine a lot of us) already think of our iPhones as robots. And with the release of the iPhone 4S and its introduction of Siri, the already-amazing devices certainly became much more robotic. But they still count on you for gettin’ around.
Peter, Phu and Keller at Romotive would like to put a stop to that. They’ve developed Romo, a mobile platform and app network that turn your iPhone into a moving, talking robot. For funding, they launched a Kickstarter page, and based on the response so far, it looks like they should be able to expand Romo’s capabilities a lot in the coming months—their goal deadline is Nov. 21st and they’ve already more than doubled it. This is good news, because in theory, the more money they receive, the more command apps they’ll be able to develop, as well as new hardware modules to attach to the basic base to enlarge Romo and (ideally) increase its functionality.
See, Japan? Not every robot has to be man-sized and terrifying. Ease us into the future…baby-steps!
As we’ve already discovered ad nauseum (literally), Japan loves re-purposing poop. So it comes as absolutely no surprise that TOTO, Japan’s version of American Standard, is promoting it’s new eco-friendly image with an upcoming 500-mile jaunt from Kyushu to Tokyo on its prototype Toilet Bike Neo.
What makes Neo a “toilet bike”, you ask? Well… it’s “powered entirely by the on-board biogas digester. Biogas systems use an anaerobic bacteria system to convert dead organic matter into a usable fuel primarily made of methane.” Theoretically, this hog could run forever, provided the driver’s nice an’ regular. Oh, and if pooping out in the open into your vehicle is not embarrassing enough for you, Neo also talks as part of this campaign. Because nothing makes you less self-conscious while pooping in public than the robot you’re sitting on shooting the breeze with you. Still—pooh-derived energy certainly beats nuclear meltdowns. Right?
This is a fitting post, considering that I’m blogging at you FROM THE PAST. Real talk: I’m currently somewhere over the Pacific hoping I don’t pull an Oceanic 815 on the way to Melbourne. So Mystery Monday is actually Straightforward Saturday. But this is still very cool.
By “this”, I mean f@#king REPLICATOR TECHNOLOGY.
According to a story in the February 2011 issue of The Economist (seriously, how was I not aware of this for the last 8 months?), we (that is, humans) have been dabbling in “additive manufacturing”, which is just an extremely fancy way of saying “3-D printing”.
It works like this. First you call up a blueprint on your computer screen and tinker with its shape and colour where necessary. Then you press print. A machine nearby whirrs into life and builds up the object gradually, either by depositing material from a nozzle, or by selectively solidifying a thin layer of plastic or metal dust using tiny drops of glue or a tightly focused beam. Products are thus built up by progressively adding material, one layer at a time: hence the technology’s other name, additive manufacturing. Eventually the object in question—a spare part for your car, a lampshade, a violin—pops out. The beauty of the technology is that it does not need to happen in a factory. Small items can be made by a machine like a desktop printer, in the corner of an office, a shop or even a house; big items—bicycle frames, panels for cars, aircraft parts—need a larger machine, and a bit more space.
What. The. F@#k.
You know, when the first Iron Man movie came out, and Tony Stark tells his AI butler J.A.R.V.I.S. to fabricate his Mark II armor, and J.A.R.V.I.S. says it’ll be complete in something ridiculous like 9 hours, I chalked it up to interesting future-tech that some fanboy writer made up to make Stark and his resources seem cooler. I did not think for even a second this shit was real.
Now, about the asterix in the post title—there are two big limitations to this form or manufacturing at present:
1. The fabricators can only reproduce objects comprised of inorganic material. Hence starvation still existing and people still dying of exposure. Trust me, if these things could do cotton, every single one of the shirts you guys buy from me would be made with one.
2. They’re not exactly priced to own for everyone, but they’re surprisingly inexpensive (given that we’re talking about rudimentary Star Trek technology) at around $7000. You could buy two of these things for the same amount of money you’d spend on most sub-compact cars.
So while we still can’t get a cup of tea out of thin air, we’re a lot closer to it than I ever thought we’d be in my lifetime.
Look, I love robots as a concept. Cats riding around on them while they clean my house. A red & blue semi that protects us from Decepticons. Pudgy maids sassing me as I swallow my three-course breakfast pill before I head off to work in my flying suitcase-car. These are just a couple of the things that excited me about the future as a little kid. MABEL, however, is a little too much T1000, not enough Hedonism-Bot:
That’s right—scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a robot that can outrun the average person. And honestly, it’s not the speed that makes this frightening—it’s the combination of MABEL’s appearance and the ominous sound of “her” metallic legs clanking along as it circles this track.