French Fry Vending Machine….That is All

While there is some debate if we have the Belgians or the French to thank for the french fry, it’s an argument that’s now entirely irrelevant as the Belgians have recently perfected the food by creating a french fry vending machine.

Now unlike those crappy hot fries Andy Capp has been trying to pawn off on you for years, these vending machine fries are the real deal, as for about $3.40 you get a cup of crispy fries just like momma used to buy them from your favorite fast food joint, and even a complimentary squirt of mayonnaise or ketchup.

You may have some, very valid, questions concerning the quality of vending machine french fries, and some equally worrisome queries regarding how well vending machine condiments hold up, but frankly not wanting a cup of french fries and dipping sauce for under 4 bucks in about a minute and a half is simply un-American.

Of course for the moment this machine of wonder and fried joy is only available in Belgium, but if you think there is a chance a machine that dispenses cheap bad decisions for your supposed nourishment won’t be coming stateside, you simply haven’t been paying attention the last half century or so.

The Monkey Light Pro: Geek Made, Hipster Approved

As biking becomes more and more popular due to its financial, health, and environmental benefits, particularly among bearded twenty-somethings in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, we’re starting to see biking culture become a bigger and bigger thing.

For the most part, this has been a tame culture. Some biking outings, a few repair shops here and there, and of course some minor…err…accessorizing. Again though, nothing unusual.

Of course, it was only a matter of time until someone said screw it, and really just crafted something wild for the most eccentric of bicyclists. It turns out that time is now, that someone is MonkeyLetric, and the something wild is a series of LED lights that go on the spokes, and can create an almost limitless amount of images, such as these.

4b262d72a5f5425d769aea468e8239ff_large

Working off of a 4 piece LED unit that attaches to a bike’s spokes, the Monkey Light Pro is an incredible piece of technology not just because of its ability to create a moving image based on nothing but the bike’s momentum, but because of the creative potential of the images themselves.

Besides a few stock images that come with the device, considering that just about every file type is supported for uploading, and variables such as speed and looping abilities can be implemented, there really appears to be no end to the images that can be created, leading to some amazingly creative examples so far stemming solely from the invention’s creators.

Speeding towards its $180,000 goal on Kickstarter, and requiring a $695 baking to receive one, it’s looking more and more likely that we will be seeing these on the streets sometimes in the future. While it’s hard to tell if this will eventually be annoying, or even hazardous, for right now the creativity of the device makes it one of the more entertaining Kickstarter projects, and the best bicycle wheel enhancer since the baseball card.

Is This the Coolest Desk on the Internet?

If you’re anything like me, your desk is the cheapest, most easy to assemble piece you could find at IKEA, and usually doubles as an elevated storage unit, rather than stylish room piece.

However, some people take their desk designs more seriously, and whether it be one that Don Corleone would be proud to sit at, or a model the captain of the enterprise might use, there are a variety of awesome desks floating around the internet, that few of us will ever watch por…err…translate scripture from the bible at.

Of those desks, this infinity mirror desk from Reddit user Jacks_RagingHormones might just be the coolest.

G4fwiqV

3KpXcLM

 Photos Courtesy of Imgur

While a pretty standard desk on the sides, that LED framed infinity mirror in the middle gives an incredible impression of an infinite void that your monitor, or you, could slip into at any moment (or worse, something the girl from “The Ring” could crawl out of).

The effect, as with most infinity mirrors, is perfect, and the actual design of the desk is that great mix of surprisingly practical and exceptionally nerdy that separates it from the pack.

So while the user leaves no instructions as to its design, and we’re unlikely to ever see a retail model, the desk envy I’m experiencing right now makes me want to take up some design lessons, save up a few hundred bucks, and (to quote John Lennon) “lay down all thought, and surrender to the void.”

New Wool Blend Shirt Could be the Last Shirt You Ever Need

bbea1ab85d7f5d7b3f22783213818219_large

A question for you. Why would someone wear a shirt for a 100 days straight?

There are several answers of course. You really like that shirt, it’s a harbinger of good luck, you’re really broke, you’re…umm…trying to win some sort of bet, and of course many others.

Whatever your reason may be though, it is ultimately irrelevant as of course even the sturdiest of shirts need to be dried, ironed, and generally maintained in order to preserve their quality, meaning that the shirt of a 100 straight wears is in fact just a pipe dream.

There is one upstart designer, though, by the name of Wool&Prince that insists that isn’t true. What’s more is that they aren’t relying on some space age material or microchip to accomplish it either, but are rather using a simple wool blend to craft a shirt that can be worn for a 100 days straight, without generating a single wrinkle, or producing one bad odor. Also, unlike your typical wool sweater, the material is apparently very high quality and actually comfortable to wear.

While the 100 day wear spree may be a gimmick, it is one that proves the more interesting point that this is a durable shirt that can survive conditions both common and extraordinary and come out the other side in fresh from the dryer quality, with no more upkeep required than the occasional wash. While certain individuals like the business man on the go benefit most from this shirt then, it’s hard to imagine there isn’t a guy who wouldn’t like to have that one favorite shirt that just happens to be near invincible.

Of course the point is that you won’t have to imagine any longer. The makers of the shirt Wool&Prince have already earned $300,000+ of their asking $30,000 goal, meaning it’s just a matter of time until you can own a shirt that’s Clark Kent sensible on the outside, and Superman durable within.

Are Interactive Restaurant Tables the Wave of the Future?

I’m constantly torn between my love of technology, and of the more classic ideas. I couldn’t live without my Galaxy SIII, but refuse to use an e-reader over print books, for instance. I’m particularly adamant about limiting technology when it comes to the kitchen, restaurants, and food in general, where I just think that containing the number of technological advances produces a better atmosphere.

But even I’m finding it hard to not love the e-table designs currently employed in a few restaurants across the world. The most interesting of which belongs to an Asian-Fusion restaurant in the SoHo district of London called Inamo. It looks like a touch screen table, but actually works off of an interactive projection concept that would allow for diners to, among other things, view menus, access a live camera in the kitchen (a somewhat pervy extension of the open kitchen philosophy), play games, change the digital tablecloth, and even project an image of the food onto their plates.

A similar idea from designer Clint Rule places a greater emphasis on social features that would aim to turn the café environment to a much more integrated place with options like voting on music, or sharing what you are reading with others around you and elsewhere.

Neither of these are entirely unique, as this idea has been a popular science fiction mainstay for decades and restaurants here and there for years have employed similar designs. But I believe that one of, or more realistically a combination of, these two ideas represent a real trend that could be seen soon in many more restaurants. Worldwide, eating out is becoming more of a cultural phenomenon than it has ever been as chefs become rockstars, and dishes become worthy of pilgrimage. In that growing environment a certain amount of technological expansion is almost inevitable just as it has been everywhere else. As long as the food remains the draw though, and waiters and waitresses keep their jobs, I see no harm in exploring the benefits and uses of this idea, if for no other reason than it looks pretty damn cool.

Bladeless Ceiling Fan To Redefine Home Comfort

The Nest may be cornering the market on the future of central air conditioning, but even with such a great innovation, there will always be room for the classic ceiling fan set up. It’s not only the preference of many home owners, but still the necessity in some regions when it comes to cooling down a room. Yet unlike central air’s revolution with the Nest, the ceiling fan has not really had the privilege of new age influence creating a fresh design.

Until the bladeless fan from Exhale Fans that is. Supposedly inspired by the works of Nikola Tesla, the bladeless ceiling fan works much in the same manner as a tradition fan, as it redistributes the existing air in a room and converts it to a cooling flow. The difference is that it’s more discreet, more stylish (available in several colors in fact), extremely quiet, cheaper, and most importantly can provide cool (or warm depending on the need) air evenly throughout a room instead of in select spots like the usual ceiling fan. A great example of this can be found in the demonstration video that shows the fan’s capabilities of complete air flow coverage with the help of a smoke machine.

If you’d like to support the bladeless fan…you’re too late. It’s already achieved its funding goal on the site indiegogo, and will soon go into production and be available via the manufacturer’s website. Should you buy it when available then? Well, it’s not often that you see a device which can improve upon the classic design of a necessary object, and vastly improve the functionality of it as well, so unless you’re aiming for a classic Havana kingpin inspired design for your home, it’s hard not to recommend jumping on the biggest improvement to come to the ceiling fan since…well the ceiling fan.

Film Controller “Hold On” Lets You Punch Chuck Norris, and Get Away With It

As video games grow to mimic movies more and more, the desire to experience the two in harmony with each other is greater than ever.

What I mean is that sensation you suddenly get when playing “Uncharted” to watch “Indiana Jones”. Or, the opposite that makes a “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” viewing lead to a “Red Dead Redemption” marathon. The examples go on, but for media junkies the combination of gaming and movies provides the ultimate fix.

Now two inventors, Emilie Brout & Maxime Marion, are unifying that media relationship in a very interesting way, courtesy of their device called “Hold On“. Exhibited at the recent GAMERZ festival, “Hold On” uses a very simple set-up that includes two buttons and a joystick (the basic arcade cabinet) and allows you to manipulate characters and situations in some of your favorite movies. Examples so far include turning a nature documentary with dung beetles into a puzzle game, attempting to delay the death of your film crew in “The Blair Witch Project”, navigating the halls of that infamous haunted hotel in “The Shining” on Danny’s tricycle, and perhaps best of all, controlling Bruce Lee in his infamous film fight against a young Chuck Norris from “Way of the Dragon“.

The creators say they’ve been able to incorporate 15 interactive movie moments so far, all of which offer some sort of basic manipulation of the scene on display that work similar to the classic arcade title “Dragon’s Lair” in terms of your abilities. It’s not so much about the complexity though as it is the intriguing idea of combing a familiar fictional situation with the enhanced emotional attachment of personal involvement, as well as an uncertain outcome, as the user it not necessarily bound to the same results as the film scene, and certainly not the same path.

So far, outside of an extremely entertaining and well received demonstration, there isn’t much in the way of plans for “Hold On” at this time. However, it would be interesting to see a more developed version turn into something similar to the party game “Scene It”, or for it to be incorporated into major home video, or digital streaming, releases to give the user interactive options (trivia and mini-games via special features would probably be the best bets) during some of their favorite films.

In whatever capacity the tool is eventually used in, it’s already pretty clear that between this project, and the group’s other (a modification of Google Earth that lets you explore movie worlds) that they are fanatics of both film and technology, as well as skilled practitioners in the use of both. It’s the biggest reason why this device, while not unprecedented in its technology, may go on to success in whatever endeavor it  chooses, and provide film and game fans with the greatest tool to relieve and personally experience their passions yet.

New Mace Case for iPhone Brings new Meaning to FaceTime

Irresponsible iPhone users can be a dangerous lot.

That’s because in anyone else’s hands, that device is really just a phone. But in the hands of the irresponsible user, it becomes a weapon that allows them to text while driving, destroy relationships with ill-advised, at the bar Facebook updates, risk their careers over a chance to beat their “Angry Birds” high score during a meeting, and even have access to the combined knowledge of the world, should they ever get around to it after updating their Pinterest boards, and browsing Netflix.

However, not content with the tools of destruction already allowed to iPhone users, a company called Spraytect is giving them a much more tangible weapon in the form of an attachable pepper spray canister.

The device is very simple, as you install the compatible case on your iPhone (which comes in 4 colors with matching canister, including pink). From there, should the need arise, you simply remove the safety clip on the back and fit the cartridge in while rotating it until the yellow label of the cartridge is facing forward. Then you just  turn the phone sideways so you may press down on the top of the cartridge and fire your pepper spray burst. Additionally, each case set includes one test cartridge filled with harmless aerosol, and one of the real deals. A replacement cartridge will set you back $18, while the case bundle retails for $39.95 from the spraytect website. Currently it is only available for the iPhone 4 or 4S model.

With smartphone thefts growing every day, and crime in general not threating to fall anytime soon, I’m sure that this device was created with the best of intentions. However, we’re more likely to see this become a favorite tool of the frat guy market, as well as a host of Instagram users who can’t resist posting an “OMG pepper spray! LOL” section than we are to hear of it actually preventing theft. I also question the integrity of an item that recommends using the canister as a kickstand for your phone right above the safety section of its own website. I don’t care how many safety precautions the device has, when it can jet out a cloud of burning spray that’s as strong as law enforcement models, you should probably sooner advise to factor in a degree of human precaution, and not encourage people to use it as a way to watch “Doctor Who” easier.

All in all, for my iPhone security needs, I’ll stick with the iShank.

Recommended in Red to Hide Splatter Stains

Glow in the Dark Roads: An Intelligent Idea for a “Smart” World

The idea of the “smart” device has changed our lives pretty significantly in the last decade.

It’s all based around a, somewhat ironically, simple concept that basically states “Why should you just have a (blank) when you can have a (blank) that (blanks)”. The pursuit of that idea has led us to many world changing innovations, but has also contributed superfluous gadgets like refrigerators that are twitter capable.

Now there’s an entirely new “smart” object in development in the Netherlands, and it’s hard to tell which category it will ultimately fit in.

Creator Daan Roosegaarde is currently working on a five year plan that will add interactive lights to the major roads of the Netherlands. Essentially, the project will replace the more traditional road markings with a powder that gathers up to 10 hours worth of charge during the day, so that it may shine at night and give them a glow in the dark effect. The idea is to replace the more traditional street lights which can be expensive, cumbersome, and visually unappealing with a more organic (in a design sense) and attractive alternative. The lights will also be in tune with the conditions of the road as the idea is that below freezing temperatures they will form a snowflake shape that will instantly alert drivers to dangerous conditions.

Roosegaarde and his team are not only trying to bring roads into the modern world visually, but also see some larger practical benefits to the dynamic paint. Particularly when it comes to cost, as they estimated that hundreds of thousands of dollars can be saved annually by this new system once it is in place on a large scale. The need for a cheaper light source is highlighted by the recent decision by UK authorities to dim or turn off lights by 9 PM on certain motorways due to the rising cost of keeping them running at full capacity 24 hours a day.

However, the idea of a “glow in the dark” highway is just one of many concepts the team is dreaming up, with the larger goal being to create a truly smart roadway system that will also incorporate ideas like wind power lights, proximity lights, and electric car only lanes that can help charge the car along the way. Already, their ideas have won the ‘Best Concept’ award at the Dutch Design Awards, and as they slowly come into production, the creative team at the helm is imagining expansions to other regions of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. west coast which has romantic ties with the highway system and is a forefront of transportation innovations of their own at the moment.

300 meters of the road paint will get its first trial by 2013, and from there the reception will dictate the implication of some of the other smart concepts.

Considering we live in a world where various intriguing ideas are introduced at a blazing speed, it can be difficult to predict if even the most creative of which will end up being successful. However, regardless of the reaction to these “Smart Road” concepts, it opens up an interesting idea of modifying one of our most basic institutions (the road) to work more intelligently in a world constantly doing the same, and as such makes it pretty easy to root for.

Of course, if the actual product ends up as beautiful as the concept, we could be looking at a new world where keeping your eyes on the road is the distraction.

We May Soon Have a Cure-All For the Burnt Tongue

Along with the dreaded stubbed toe, and the fierce paper cut (which thanks to technology, future generations may never have to know), a burnt tongue is one of the more annoying every day pains you can suffer.

The only problem is, even though the pain lasts all day and ranges from incredibly annoying to genuinely painful, you can never really let anyone know your discomfort without anyone questioning your toughness. At best, you’ll find a gentle soul to oblige you with a comforting “I hate when that happens”, but you’ll find little more sympathy than that to soothe your pain and even less in the way of actual relief.

Researchers at the University of Texas are hoping to change all that as they are working on a dissolvable strip similar to the ones used for bad breath that will cure the common liquid beverage burn in your mouth. The strip uses a benzocaine that numbs the pain in your mouth, and also helps the affected area to heal faster.  The strip is supposed to very discrete, and comfortable, although it is not ready yet as scientists are preparing for human tests, with the biggest objectives still remaining being making the strips usable on more severe burns, and figuring out a way to make the taste pleasant.

Regardless of when they come out, it’s about time someone figured out a solution to a problem that dates back all the way to food being hot, and people being impatient. No longer relegated to grandmother cures like honey, sugar, or ice cream (why do grandmas want to fatten us?) for the burnt mouth, we could be staring a future where you are free to recklessly drink your coffee right away, or attack a bowl of soup like a maniacal homeless man without consequence.