It wasn’t until working at a bar a few years ago, did I really discover the joys of mixed beer drinks.
Usually overlooked by just about every type of drinker for one reason or another, you probably haven’t ordered one of these concoctions, and if that is the case you are truly missing out, as they usually combine the enhanced flavor of a traditional mixed drink, with the relaxing simplicity of a beer to create what just might be the perfect afternoon drink.
That being said though, they can be more difficult to get right than you might anticipate, not only because they require the proper proportions, but also due to the fact they like to settle into one another, ruining the flavor.
This glass, made by the appropriately named Pretentious Beer Glass Company, features a brilliant two chamber design that allows for you to pour two different beers in the proper proportion in the separate sections, and allow the mixture to occur right before the drink hits your lips, which is where of course it matters most. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the original design of the glass’s interior makes this a pretty appealing looking way to get a nice afternoon drunk going.
When I look back at the 8 bit era of video games, the thing that impresses me most is the music quality. Think of classic themes like those in Mario, Zelda, and DuckTales, and marvel at how such a new concept like full video game music could have produced so many classics on a sound system that was as bare bones as can be. Even as modern games now come with sweeping full sound orchestras accompanying them, some still prefer 8 bit music as a medium, and not just view it as another wing in the nostalgia museum.
The makers of the Pianocade, also recognize the technological brilliance of the 8 bit era of melody and have engineered an equally brilliant device to help people replicate it. Underneath the minimalist arcade board design lies a pretty complex keyboard system meant to product an exact replication of the 8 bit music style. The Pianocade boasts a full range MIDI system and open source capabilities that allows for an immense level of user customization and sharing options. The built in synthesizer also produces an impressive level of sound quality with a 128 note sound range, and full tempo control. Now if you’re as musically inept as I am (I believe the technical term is “Tone Deaf”) then you don’t really need to follow all of the specs, and instead just need to check out the video of this thing in action.
Currently the Pianocade is only available for pre-order, and retails for $250CDN ($253 US) for a one octave model, or $325CDN ($329US) for the two octave version. Even better is the newly announced optional strap that allows for conversion of the unit into a keytar. The preorder period is estimated to be over on September 14th, at which time the first units will begin shipping out.
Obviously if you want to recreate 8 bit music there is a wide variety of digital options available (hell, it was digital to begin with). But since the goal of this project is to recreate the arcade experience of a room filling with a variety of video game music for all to enjoy, if you have the skill and the means this could make for one interesting party piece, conversation starter, or even a legitimate addition to your recording studio, as if you have the need, this device certainly has the capabilities.
Either sci-fi film directors in the past were strangely prophetic, or the entire field of science is really just made up of geeks trying to recreate “Star Trek,” but for some reason there is quite a selection of gadgets available ripped straight from science fiction. From smartphones, to bluetooth headsets, to good old fashioned space ships, the amount of technology available that was once reserved for fictional far off worlds is quite impressive.
Yet for all of the progress made in the field of science fiction to science fact, there are a few notable items that are still not quite widely available as of yet. Tired of waiting (I blame this insta-result technology fueled world we live in) I’ve decided to check back in with some of the greatest sci-fi inventions of all time, and see where real life is in producing their equivalent.
Virtual Chess Board
In The Movies – The virtual chess board has made appearances here and there, but its spotlight moment has to be in “Star Wars” when R2-D2 played Chewbacca in a game. The game may not have exactly been chess, but it did show us two things. That chess would be much cooler if the pieces were homicidal holograms, and that you always let the wookie win.
In Real Life – While video games have been giving us virtual chess matches for years, we’re surprisingly behind as a society on recreating the physical experience. In fact, I had a tough time finding anything that comes close to the “Star Wars version” we are all familiar with, as that picture up there is just an LED set of chess pieces designed to give off the illusion (fooled ya). While several companies are investigating the potential for hologram technology (not to mention that Tupac thing), this is one seemingly simple (in comparison to some of the other items on this list) sci-fi invention that is lagging behind.
In The Movies – There are too many incidents of laser guns in the movies to keep up with. From “Star Trek” to “Star Wars,” almost every science fiction work that feature shoot outs features lasers. Why? Well not only are they flashy, cool, and look better for the camera, but they’re really flashy, pretty damn cool, and look great on the camera.
In Real Life – Not surprisingly, while we are lagging on the recreation of a holographic chess board experience, we’re well ahead of schedule on deadly laser projectiles. The army has several deadly prototypes available, but I’m more impressed by what’s being done on the civilian level. Particularly by the team down at laser-gadgets.com.
And to think respected scientists have been wasting their laser research time on medicine.
Are you like me and would love to wake up even earlier in the morning just to go nearly kill yourself by running a few miles, and have to come back in a hurry so you can spend the rest of the day at work, but just can’t find a good jogging partner?Well if that’s your excuse (and believe me, it is a great one) then I’ve got bad news. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is working on a flying robot that can be programmed to keep pace with you and become your morning jog companion.
The Joggobot (those wacky Australians…) can be programmed via a smartphone app for pace and height settings, and then uses a built in camera to follow a marker worn by the jogger in order to constantly stay ahead of you. The device is meant to be a motivator to runners, and give them something to chase after and run with.
Is anyone else frightened by this invention? It reminds me of that villian’s machine from “The Incredibles” that could learn from all the heroes it defeated in order to become stronger for the next wave. Not to mention its basic design is essentially a machine that you are supposed to run from. I was convinced this would be the scariest bit of robotic propeller jet technology I would find today, but I was dead wrong.
Yes that’s a flying cat. Depending on the type of person you are, that image either causes you to laugh or shriek in horror at the danger that device poses to the poor kitten. But if you knew the full story, you’d understand that the only option is to scream in terror and run far away from your computer. Because that isn’t just a flying cat. It’s a flying dead cat.
It’s called the Orvillecopter and was created by a Dutch artist named Bart Jansen. When his beloved cat Orville died, Bart was so stricken with grief that he attached propellers to each of the cats paws and made it into a copter so that it would stand as a tribute to the person it was named after, flight pioneer Orville Wright.
Maybe we should just be thankful we didn’t get to see the invention Bart would have come up with if it was named after snack pioneer, Orville Redenbacher.
So yes, I admit that between training robots to match, map, and surpass human athleticism, and people turning their once loved pets into aeronautic exhibitions, today’s tech news is starting to scare me a bit. In fact, the whole ordeal of today’s news makes me yearn for a simple classic evening. You know, one where I can just retire to my quaint zombie proof home.
Confused by the headline? Well, it’s about to get stranger.
That’s thanks to this new invention called the MaKey MaKey. It’s another project that’s finding success on Kickstarter, and its goal is to inspire the creative side out of everyone that uses it, and try to turn the world into inventors.
And it’s achieving that with little more hardware than a circuit board and some alligator clips.
If you couldn’t watch that video (or if you were just as befuddled as I was when I saw it), I’ll elaborate. The Makey Makey is a small circuit board that provides inputs meant to function in place of your basic mouse and keyboard set up. You simply plug one end of the alligator clips into the inputs you desire and then attach the clips to any item that can conduct any form of electricity (bananas seem to work very well, but a pencil drawing, Play-Doh, or a million other items would theoretically work), and that item now functions as the input device.
Examples shown so far include a series of bananas substituting for the keys of a piano, Play-Doh being formed into the shape of a controller to play Super Mario Bros., and four buckets of water filling in for a Dance Dance Revolution dance pad. But from the looks of it, anything is possible.
Again the device’s main goal is to inspire creativity in its users and to try to blossom the inventor in everyone. It’s seems to be meant mostly for artists, amateur creators, and of course children, where it might ultimately find its biggest success in the toy market.
Of course just like another hot invention of recent times, The MakerBot, I think that the Makey Makey’s biggest contributions lay in the technology the invention is based off of and not the actual invention itself. Still with almost $130,000 dollars raised so far for the Makey Makey, it looks to find success in one field or another immediately, whether or not there is still more promising things it can lead to down the line.