Boing Boing 

This week's best gadgets

This week Mark and Jason compare tea makers and Xeni talks about her Hario Japanese coffee products.

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Shuriken multitool


@fuwa has developed a shuriken multitool, to let you hack like a ninja, and has promised to start selling them once they've gotten 2,000 retweets.

Potemkin rumble: your car's muscular engine noise is an MP3


Car manufacturers admit that they fake the throaty rumble of their products' engines, using tricks like hidden amplifiers or even playing digital soundfiles when you depress the gas pedal.

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Lying down in bed desk


The kneeling desk led to the standing desk and thence to the treadmill desk, but I propose that we bring this full circle to the lying down in bed desk (instructions available in Japanese only). (via Sean Bonner)

The acrobatic Japanese maid/pancake surreal domino-run cookware ad you've been searching for

Never have empty carbs been more elegant -- and that's a catchy jingle! (via JWZ)

Marvellous rube goldberg mechanical lightswitch covers


These laser-cut rube goldberg lightswitch plates from Green Tea Jewelry turn your lights into hand-cranked, mechanical delights to rival the very best in novelty switchplates of yore.

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Gadgets 022: RGB LED Lightbulb, KontrolFreek joystick extender, Photive 5 Port Multi-USB Charger

This week Mark, Xeni and Jason recap their holidays and current favorite gadgets — a remote controlled color changing light bulb, Xbox joystick extender, and a multi-USB charger.

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Amplified speaker for smartphones doesn't need pairing

speaker

My sister gave me the BoostPlus Near Field Audio speaker for Christmas. I was happy for the kind thought, but since I already have three or four Bluetooth speakers, I wasn't overly excited about getting another one.

But when I used it I learned that it is not like a Bluetooth speaker. It doesn't need to be paired via Bluetooth. You just set your phone on it and it starts playing. This feature makes it a great kitchen gadget. When I'm cooking or washing the dishes, I use it to listen to podcasts and to Spike Priggen's excellent Pop-Psych, Garage & Freakbeat playlist on Spotify. When it's my wife's turn for KP duty, she listens to her podcasts on her phone (she can't be bothered with Bluetooth pairing and so before we got this thing she would just crack up the volume on the phone and listen via the built-in speaker).

The downside is that the audio quality is not as good as a Bluetooth-paired amplified speaker, but for podcast and garage music, I don't care - the convenience factor makes up for the low-fi sound.

iFrogz IF-BSP-GRN BoostPlus Near Field Audio Speaker for Smartphones and Digital Music Players ($23)

Lights and chandeliers made from booze bottles and books


The Moonshine Lamp Company makes beautiful lights out of booze bottles, such as the Crystal Skull Sconce and the eight-bottle chandelier; but they also make lights out of hardcovers, including one made from Jeremy Scahill's superb investigative 2007 book Blackwater. (via Neatorama)

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Electric “supercar” coupe prototype from Renovo Motors unveiled at CES

Renovo Motors Coupe Cockpit

Looks dope.

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Sony's new $1200 Walkman targets audiophile true believers

The new Walkman ZX2 runs an antiquated version of Android and has a textured faux-leather skin. Sony calls it "the fruit of continuous refinement in high audio quality technologies." At $1,200 it's definitely 240 times better than buying a new-in-box LG 800 for $5 and using it as a media player. [via]

LP sleeve is also a DJ controller

DJ Qbert's (previously) successful Kickstarter funded production of a Bluetooth-connected sleeve printed with capacitive surfaces that connect to a music-controlling app. (via Sean Bonner)

Bridging gongkai and free/open source


Bunnie Huang and his team have set out to fully reverse-engineer and document a cheap Chinese Mediatek MT6260. mobile-phone board -- licensed in the complex, informal regime of "gongkai," through which lots of theoretically confidential information is published, but some critical pieces are withheld.

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Detailed Snowtrooper armor


A mere $2000 gets you this suit of Imperial Snowtrooper couture armor, suitable for fighting asymmetric warfare on Hoth or chilling at a con.

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Infectious disease squeeze-balls, full of buboes

The coolest gross-out toy under our tree this year is the $5 infectious disease ball, a squeeze-ball wrapped in mesh that erupts into disquieting, vividly colored buboes when you squeeze it.

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Jailbreaking your cat litter: welcome to the Internet of Feudal Things


Jorge loves his Catgenie automated cat-litter tray, but doesn't love spending $350/year on "Sanisolution" (perfumed gunk that makes the litter stick to his cats' feet and gets tracked all over his apartment), but he discovered that the manufacturer uses DRM to stop him from filling the empty Sanisolution reservoir with water.

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Scientology Christmas gifts


The Scientology Christmas catalog is pretty much what you'd expect, if you're familiar with the cult: enormously expensive (as in, "mortgage your house and embezzle from your employer") sets of books and DVDs/CDs, as well as crude, tarted up skin galvanometers ("e-meters") that are the holy relics of the faith.

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Hideous $10,000 plastic Christmas tree


Grad writes, "While cruising Amazon looking for some new Christmas tree magic for my family, I ran across what must be the world's most expensive Christmas tree."

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Laser-cut record clocks


Vinyl Record Eaters is Greg Durt's Etsy store for laser-cut record-clocks (made from unplayable, scratched records) that sport clever silhouettes from pop culture: Daryl from Walking Dead, Walking Dead execution, Lightsaber battle, Hobbit march, Godzilla eats New York and cities of the world!

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Engadget co-founder Ryan Block's favorite gadgets

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show podcast is Ryan Block. He’s the co-founder of gdgt, and the co-founder and former editor of Engadget. These days he is VP of Product at Aol, and is co-host of MVP, a show about technology products. He recommends Amazon Prime, the Bruer cold brew coffee maker, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and an iOS calculator called Tydlig.

Giant underwater plug


This humongous power-plug is a MacArtney Wet Mate Connector that allows undersea cables for floating windmills to be connected below the water's surface.

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Booze shoes


High-end shoemaker Oliver Sweeney offers a pair of shoes with a compartment in the sole that holds a Johnnie Walker miniature (or you could put better booze in there), and features a clear panel that reveals the bottle when you shoe someone your soles.

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Shiny shiny booze-flask


Areaware's Liquid Body Flask is a polished, stainless steel flask (6.5" x 3.4" x 0.8") that looks like it's formed from mylar. (via Canopy)

Monstrous menorahs!


Portland's Lisa Pierce makes amazing, whimsical menorahs and candlesticks that look like metallic creatures (they're painted plastic toys), including the Menorasaurus Rex, the treyfe-a-riffic Menobster, and these T-Rex candle-holders.

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Crowdfunding a USB-stick-sized, GNU/Linux-ready computer

A reader writes, "The USB Armory is full-blown computer (800MHz ARM® processor, 512MB RAM) in a tiny form factor (65mm x 19mm x 6mm USB stick) designed from the ground up with information security applications in mind."

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Replica Star Trek original series tricorder


Thinkgeek's $60 replica tricorder is full-sized, plays real Leonard Nimoy-voiced Spock audio samples, and has a removable light-up scanner. (via Geeky Merch)

Anatomical cookie-cutters


Boetech makes custom, 3D printed cookie cutters: brains, hearts, and skulls (plus plenty of non-antomical designs, of course).

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Snap-together Strandbeest kit

Theo Jansen's amazing, wind-walking Strandbeest (featured in my story the Man Who Sold the Moon) can be had as a 6-inch-cubed snap-together, 80-piece, chunky "rhino" kit: assemble and blow on it and it will walk across your desk with the odd majesty of the Strandbeest.

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An "anti-drop" device for Phablets

bunker-ringAs an iPhone 6 Plus owner, I'm interested in the Bunker Ring, a $16 device that attaches to the back of a phone or tablet, basically turning your phone into a giant finger ring.