New Device Allows You to Hear Dogs Talk; No Disney Movie Required

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I have a question. Can you understand what dogs are saying?

You can’t huh? That’s absolutely crazy you say? I see, I see.

Well until very recently I would have agreed entirely. However, that was until a project called “No More Woof” exceeded its funding goal on indiegogo and got me thinking that perhaps we have all been too quick to jump to such a seemingly obvious conclusion.

“No More Woof” is an EEG reader and speaker system that your dog wears around their neck and on their head. From there it is able to read their neuro signals and brain waves in order to form and relay a basic idea of just what is going through their mind. Now while that does mean you won’t be having a conversation with your dog regarding the modern societal relevance of “Catcher in the Rye,” the device will be able to tell you if your pooch is tired, hungry, curious, and some other basic thoughts.

Believe it or not the technology fueling this idea is actually very much legitimate. However it has never been put together in such a fashion, for such a purpose, and on the consumer level. You’re perfectly justified then for maintaining a skeptical outlook regarding the prospects of this device’s functionality. However, there is enough in place to hint that this device may just be feasible, though on an admittedly simple level.

With 48 days left during its funding period, “No More Woof” is already $5,000 over its asking goal. If you want to get in on it early, the basic model is still available for an $85 contribution.

This New BMW Concept Key is Nearly as Impressive as the BMW it Starts

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Way back when during a less hi-tech time of car ownership, if you wanted to impress someone with your car keys alone they either had to have a Ferrari logo on them, or had to be accompanied by a particularly humorous key chain attachment. Otherwise, they weren’t likely to generate much of a reaction on their own.

The new BMW i8 key, though, is more than capable of doing just that.

Resembling your basic smartphone design, the i8 key features a built in LCD screen which relays some vital information about your car when in use. As the i8 is a hybrid, its main purpose is to relay how much charge and fuel is left in your car, which is a handy little trick that isn’t hard to imagine becoming standard in the near future.

Function aside, though, the real selling point of this key is honestly its uber sleek looks. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the car its attached to looks to be one of 2014′s best and among the more exciting hybrids released to date.

Now, its very much worth noting that this doesn’t appear to be an official design at this time, and more of a highly circulated rumor of what the official model will look like. In any case, even if this is just an enthusiastic fan design, its not hard to imagine this being a good representation of the future of this technology and a very exciting one at that.

The Next Wave of Ugly Christmas Sweaters Are Going Digital

While I’m not sure when exactly ugly Christmas sweater went from genuinely dreaded gift from a well meaning grandmother, or perhaps maniacal aunt, to a hipster fashion trend that is now a highly coveted holiday accessory so popular that entire parties are themed around them, there’s no denying the shift did happen.

Should you find yourself falling victim to this trend this holiday season or perhaps even invited to one of those said parties, you’re going to naturally want to find yourself an ugly sweater of your own. While all of your favorite online outlets and shady thrift stores most likely offer some, there’s only one site that is offering an ugly Christmas sweater worthy of the modern age.

Designed by Digital Dudz and available through morphsuits.com, these sweaters each feature a velcro pocket that stores your Apple or Android phone and, in conjunction with an app, allows you to display a variety of animated Christmas themed images. The final effect gives off the, very convincing, illusion that your sweater image is animated on its own accord. In the case of the fireplace sweater, you can even interact with the animation by double tapping your phone to extinguish and ignite the fire at your will.

Going for around $55 a piece, this will likely become the most expensive sweater you’ll ever own and only wear maybe once a year for a laugh. However, in that pursuit,  they are incredible successes that are sure to draw a significant amount of passerby attention, or make you the unofficial “winner” of any ugly sweater party should that be your thing.

On the Eve of PC Gaming’s March to the Living Room, An Interesting New Gaming PC Emerges

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When famed game company Valve announced the introduction of the open source linux based “Steam OS” earlier this year to compliment their new line of Steam Machines, they made it clear that they have every intention of bringing PC gaming to the living room in a way never thought possible.

While nobody who’s ever glanced at their success record would ever doubt Valve’s ability to accomplish this goal, the lack of specifics on the subject at the time of announcement left some questioning just how they’d accomplish such a herculean effort within the industry.

Since then, however, the unveiling of a few Steam Machine prototypes to go along with some additional details regarding the OS, have cleared up the picture somewhat and rightfully raised expectations.

However no prototype has personally intrigued me more than the recently announced Jetpack PC from PiixL.

Described as a slimline PC, the Jetpack is capable of sliding into your TV frame whether it is mounted or propped up on a stand. Once installed it allows you to instantly start using your TV as a PC that can support either Windows or Steam OS. While the specs are not currently available, PiixL has said the Jetpack has universal GPU compatibility and looks to be more or less as customizable as a standard desktop (though some parts like power supplies are likely not interchangeable).

Starting at a $1,000, the practicality of the Jetpack as a gaming PC solution is going to depend largely on whether or not on the built in specs and exactly how customizable and accessible it is.

Regardless of the specifics though, the Jetpack is an amazing example of the creativity inspired by Valve’s big move into the living room. If this is only an early example of the technology that will be fueling that move, then the coming years should be very interesting for the PC gaming revolution.

Convert Your Loose Items Into Video Game Treasure With This 8-Bit Chest

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Whether you find them behind suspiciously hollow walls, buried in suspiciously placed staircases, or at the end of a suspiciously long corridor filled with more enemies from hell with the capability to rip your throat out through your feet than you knew could ever exist, it has always been a constant joy to discover video game treasure chests.

Unfortunately treasure chests in the real world tend to be far more rare, meaning the joy of discovering one doesn’t really enter your day to day life. You can let this fact bum you out, or you can do something about it by picking up one of the 8-bit treasure chests available from Think Geek.

This 4” wide box painted in a pixelated art style runs off of two AA batteries, and stores the various items you can fit into it. Adding to the video game motif is a “Pulp Fiction” style glow that emits when you open it, along with an 8-Bit style tune that plays when you do the same (though it sadly isn’t the “Legend of Zelda” secret discovery tune).

Sure it’s not exactly discreet, but many things that are bad ass rarely are. At $29.99 this is the perfect gift for the gamer in your life, even if it does just serve as a desk decoration.

The Cinema One is a Pricey, but Incredibly Interesting, Alternative to Video Streaming

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I love Netflix and Hulu. Hell, I think most of us do.

If I had to make a complaint about those services, though, it’s that they both have an incredible tendency to not have the exact movie I want to watch at that time. This isn’t so much a fault of their massive libraries, as it is the result of the impossible task that is acquiring every film and TV shows that have ever been made, along with being able to anticipate the exact whim of every user.

The Cinema One from Kaleidescape proposes an interesting solution to this dilemma. It allows you to store up to 600 DVD quality titles or 100 Blu-Ray quality titles within the player to be accessed at your leisure. The movies themselves can either be downloaded from the Kaleidescape store, or ripped straight from the DVD and Blu-Ray source.

Think of it then as your own personal steaming service then that is catered entirely to your tastes. Even better, it offers services that Netflix and Hulu can not such as custom DVD like scene skips for every title, and video and sound quality that is simply not possible with the traditional streaming methods.

As absolutely incredible as the concept and actual product is, the price is a real buzz kill. Coming in just shy of $4000, this is already a big ticket item before you even consider the additional costs of purchasing movies to add to it (though it does come with 50 free movies upon purchase). While the whole “no subscription fee” thing helps somewhat, even then that’s a price tag that limits the market considerably.

Based on concept and design alone, though, this is one of the most notable devices released this year, and will certainly serve well as the centerpiece of any true film buffs entertainment center.

This World Noise Cancelling Prototype Is Well Worth Your Attention

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Perhaps I’m just odd (I’ve been accused of it before), but I really enjoy the sounds of the city in my apartment. Much like staying inside and listening to the rain, there is a certain joy that comes from absorbing yourself in the world outside while also enjoying the comforts of your home.

However there are times when the hustle and bustle of the city is not the optimal soundtrack for your relaxation. Sure you can play some music or ambient noises to drown them out, but the effect can be quite harsh and serve as a poor substitute or combatant to the ambience of the outside world.

Designer Rudolph Stefanich apparently felt the same, which may explain what led him to design a world noise canceller prototype of sorts called the Dial it Down.

Featuring a touch controlled dial and affixing to the inside of your window, the Dial it Down acts much like a pair of noise cancelling headphones and can either tone down, or completely block the noise of the outside based on your settings. More impressive, though, may be its ability to filter and replace the exterior noise and turn it into something more docile like the sounds of nature or even just isolate certain noises until you’re hearing exactly what you want to in your home.

While still in the prototype stage, it’s clear that the complex design of the Dial it Down is more than just a whimsical notion and is realized enough to actually come to fruition. Let’s hope that is the case too, as its ability to allow the user to control the noise of their home in a more organic and natural way not reliant on blasting as many decibels as possible is a very desirable luxury.

Popular Motion Technology “Leap” Reaches Deal With HP

Back in May of last year (essentially prehistoric times in technology talk) I wrote about the Leap Motion, a movement based control system for PCs that was rapidly gaining popularity in tech circles thanks to some impressive demos that had people wondering if it may just be the first viable motion based system. Fast forward to the present day, and the Leap continues to gain popularity for its non-invasive and highly functional design that not only amazes with its abilities, but its practicality as well.

HP seems to feel the same, as they’ve recently unveiled a new model of their Envy laptop line that will come with the Leap Motion installed, a first in the computer industry.

While most of the Leap’s functions are still focused on simple navigation tricks that are especially handy for the Windows 8 OS the Envy will sport, you’ll also get several specifically designed programs for the device pre-installed, such as a 3D modeler and five Leap based games when you purchase the $1,050 laptop.

Of course, as with many motion devices, the idea of buying a Leap or this Envy is the idea that you are buying into a future where several thousand programs and applications exist either specifically for the Leap, or with available support for it. While the impressive amount of currently available apps suggests that is not a future without hope, its still technology that is far from standard.

As such this Envy may be an early adopter’s buy, but it looks to be a pretty damn nice one. So while the Envy’s overall specs will probably be a better indicator as to the validity of the machine as an overall purchase for the average consumer, as Kinect owners will tell you, even when motion controls don’t always exhibit their full potential, they tend to still remain impressively entertaining.

New Jersey Will Soon Play Host to One of the Largest Theme Park Rides Ever

While the previous best reasons to visit New Jersey included hiding a body, and hiding two bodies, a new potential attraction to the garden state looks to emerge in 2014, and goes by the name of the Zumanjaro Drop of Doom.

The Zumanjaro (as it’d probably like to be called) aims to be the world’s tallest drop roller coaster ride, as it rises up to over 400 feet in the air, and plummets the unfortunate strapped in souls who brave it back to the ground at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour.

As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, the ride will actually be installed as an extension of sorts to another of Six Flags Great Adventures most horrifying attractions, the Kingda Ka roller coaster. The Zumanjaro will rise to the top of the Ka’s tallest point, meaning that right before you speed towards the ground, you can actually enjoy the thrill of having other riders zoom over your head at over 120 MPH.

The more I hear about this ride, the more it reminds me of some terrifying contraption I tried to build in “Roller Coaster Tycoon.” Only there, my virtual visitors all told me it was too scary to ride, and so it sat there unused until I took it on a test run one day, and it flew off the tracks and down to the ground where it killed the, rightfully, cautious guests below.

Of course, if that happens with the Zumanjaro, the good news is you’re already in Jersey so….

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.