Turn Your Tub into a Touchscreen With Aquatop

Technology may be designed to be with you wherever you go, but the one area where your pretty much on your own is the bath.

Sure you can buy waterproof cases, but when you get right down to it, how comfortable are you really with holding your favorite expensive electrical toy mere inches above a pool of water? Even if you do survive an accidental drop, exactly how much submersion can that tablet or smartphone withstand before it’s lost?

That’s the question that keeps most of us from bringing our tech in the tub, and drove a team of developers in Tokyo to use a Kinect, a projector, some speakers, and a home computer to craft an invention that can turn the surface of your tub into a touch screen.

From the user’s perspective, once the device is turned on, they only need to dip their hands into the water to turn them into interface tools. With that in place, you are now able to run files, videos, pictures, and other applications, and interact with them in a manner very similar to how you would with a touchscreen.  There are even special gestures, like the ability to use your thumb and index finger to grasp an icon and drag it around or, even cooler, the ability to fully grasp an item and submerge it to delete it.

The really impressive part about this tech comes through the games however. I advise you skip to about 7:06 in that video above, to see what happens when you combine all of the elements of this tech to produce a game that may be simple (essentially an aerial shooter type), but uses what should be a hindering environment for such a thing as an advantage instead, as you are provided a gaming experience that could be had nowhere else but the bathtub.

Continuing a recent trend on this site, this is a device that isn’t likely to go beyond the prototype stage, but hopefully makes sporadic public appearances in some fashion, as it’s hard to not want to get your feet wet (so to speak) in this technology once you see it in action.

Start Turning Your Home into a James Bond Villian’s Lair with the Burglar Blaster

Anyone who has seen “Home Alone” (which is hopefully everyone) knows that when it comes to home security, the one undisputed assurance for safety is a series of well implemented traps leading to hilarious punishments for the armed thugs now in your life.

To begin constructing your own dominion of doom then, consider purchasing the Burglar Blaster.

Working off of an infrared sensor, when the Burglar Blaster is set, it detects movement and fires off four ounces of pepper spray guaranteed to cause some serious second thoughts to anyone in the remote vicinity(coverage is up to 2000 square feet). It also comes equipped with a timer that can be set up to 40 seconds, presumably so you can allow the burglar to momentarily relish in the acquisition of some perfect loot, before they’re met with a spray of burning aerosol to the face.

Reloadable, easy to install, and battery operated, the only alarm systems more ballsy would have to be some sort of elaborate swinging ax contraption, a trap door to a Rancor pit, your own bare fists, or perhaps the upgrade to the Blaster’s regular model (the Decintegrator) which holds up to 4 pepper spray cans and covers twice the space.

Sure it’s dangerous and impractical, but can you really put a price on your family’s (potentially humorous) safety?

Yes actually. The standard model runs $595.00, while the less discreet Decintegrator retails for $495.00.

Well worth it for your home to be affectionately known in the criminal underworld as the house of pain.

Behold the Finest Achievement in the History of Man

In “2001: A Space Odyssey” director Stanley Kubrick opens his film with a group of apes discovering the monolith, which was a towering structure of great significance, that would serve as a beacon to change of global proportions, and shape the events of everything that was to come.

In 2013, we now know this was not a creative plot device and instead a herald of the real future, as the monolith was recently discovered, and it has taken the form of an arcade machine called The Last Barfighter.

The Last Barfighter is a Big Boss Brewery sponsored arcade machine that allows two players to play a few rounds of a simple 2D fighting game featuring a host of wacky characters. The game is mostly irrelevant though, as the real story here is that the victor gets his or her cup filled with a free beer straight from the machine, immediately putting to shame every Chuck E Cheese gaming prize you’ve ever garnered.

The machine runs off of motion sensors that recognize cups and not quarters, and it only appears at special events, most around the brewery’s home state of North Carolina. With any conceivable amount of luck though, they will start getting these to venues everywhere as it is not only one of the more significant milestones in all of human endeavors, but the best combination of beer and games ever.

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.