Bizarre Gadgets

air bonsai

Plants are a bit boring, aren’t they? They just sit there, photosynthesizing, silently judging our fashion choices. If only there were some way of making them cooler.

Well, it looks like a company in Japan has cracked that nut. They’re trying to raise the funds for Air Bonsai, a range of bonsai trees that float about two centimeters above their magnetic base. Not surprisingly, they immediately blew away their Kickstarter goal.

Prices for these amazing flying bonsai trees start at $200 for the basic kit all the way up to $10,000, though that drop of ten Gs also includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the Air Bonsai Garden Workshop in Japan. Not too shabby!

It’s also important to point out that export restrictions don’t allow for the shipping of plants between countries, so they have secured support from “team members in the United States who will negotiate with regional bonsai and plant makers”.

Check out the project video below.

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So long Siri, sayonara Cortana, adios Alexa – there’s a new digital home assistant in town, and she’s holographic.

Japanese startup vinclu Inc. have posted a concept video for a holographic assistant called Gatebox. Trapped within Gatebox, like Tinkerbell in a glass jar, is a character named Azuma Hikari. She’ll wake you in the morning, greet you when you get home from work and communicate with other smart devices in your home so you can use her to turn on your TV, adjust your thermostat, play your favorite music, etc. Think of it like an Amazon Echo with even more personality.

Will this spark some pretty creepy relationships? Probably.

At any rate, Gatebox is just an idea right now, but it looks like vinclu Inc. is gearing up to launch a crowdfunding campaign later this year.

See the concept in action in the video below.

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crazy tentacle

“I appear to have invented a knife wielding tentacle”.

The kind of person that can utter that statement with a deadpan delivery is very dangerous. Something tells me that YouTuber outaspaceman in on his way to becoming a supervillain (if he’s not shredded by his own creation that is).

Check out the video after the break…

wake up machine

Simone Giertz decided that the most effective way to wake up in the morning is to have an alarm clock that slaps her in the face repeatedly with a rubber arm. To make it happen, she picked apart a clock, wired it to an Arduino UNO and controlled it via a 165 rpm brushless DC motor through a relay.

As you’ll see after the jump, the Wake-Up Machine may work too well. Not only did it smack Simone in the face, but it also ate her hair. That being said, watch out for some nsfw language.

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With the help of Swiss high-end clock manufacturer L’Epée 1839, MB&F has created a bizarre and terrifying timepiece dubbed “Arachnophobia”. It was inspired by a giant spider sculpture called Maman (mother in French), created by Louise Bourgeois.

And the price tag is even scarier, starting at $16,000 – $18,000.

Check out a few close-up images after the break…if you can handle it.

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slinky escalator

After an insane amount of trial and error, Matthias Wandel achieved mankind’s dream of an endless slinky staircase.

As you’ll see, this project took few hilarious engineering turns with what appears to be an uncooperative slinky. But once he added a hand crank to control the speed, the never-ending staircase and slinky married in perfect harmony.

Check out the video after the break.

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MIT researchers have developed a tiny origami-style robot that folds itself up, does a bunch of cool moves, and can be dissolved in acetone.

This amazing robot premiered at the 2015 ICRA Conference in Seattle, Washington. It represents the first time a robot was able to demonstrate a complete life cycle like this, and the hope is that one day it will be able to perform these actions inside a human body.

IEEE explains:

“…we present a novel single-sheet structure that self-folds into a centimeter-sized mobile robot that subsequently walks, swims, and dissolves. The robot is controlled using an external magnetic field exerted by embedded coils underneath the robot. Equipped with just one permanent magnet, the robot features a lightweight body yet can perform many tasks reliably despite its simplicity. The minimal body materials enable the robot to completely dissolve in a liquid environment, a difficult challenge to accomplish if the robot had a more complex architecture. This study is the first to demonstrate that a functional robotic device can be created and operated from the material level, promising versatile applications including use in vivo.”

Check out more photos and the incredible video of the robot in action after the break.

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Colin Furze (who we’ve featured previously for his amazingly dangerous experiments) decided to strap a jet engine, and his own ass, to a homebuilt go-kart that can reach speeds of up to 60 mph.

That’s not particularly fast to be honest, but it looks like a crazy vehicle you might find in Mad Max: Fury Road. See it in action after the break…

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Mobility scooters aren’t generally the kinds of things that strike fear into the hearts of men, but this one is the exception. It’s been custom-fitted with a flamethrower by Lance Greathouse of Greathouse Labs in Phoenix, Arizona.

They design all manner of tricked out wheels for people in wheelchairs or scooters so they can have fun with their rides. He calls this creation Lord Humongous and it took a month’s labor and $1,000 to build. Underneath the kick-ass exterior is an electric golf cart with all terrain tires and a seat from a helicopter. Yeah, you just watch how fast people clear a path for this thing!

See another picture and video after the break…

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Want to make annoying co-workers, friends, or family disappear? Well, JPL’s Mark Rober has you covered. All it takes is a Nintendo case, a motion detector, an Arduino board, and a few other components.

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