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Holy crap Facebook is paying $2 billion for virtual reality headset firm Oculus Rift


$2 billion? Are you fucking kidding me?

Update: Don't miss Dean Putney's opinion piece, "Oculus was the future of gaming. Now it’s the future of Facebook."

Facebook today announced that it has "reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion." The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, and provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on "the achievement of certain milestones."

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Unusual cat toy

Furreal Kitty is available on Amazon. [via]

Sonar tools head out in missing jet hunt


US NAVY

Debris sightings have drawn attention to a particular region, but choppy seas and rough waters deny a conclusive discovery. The TPL-25 is a military underwater microphone that could improve our chances of finding the flight data recorder, the "black box" that holds Flight 370's secrets. [Wired]

HOWTO make a chattering-teeth tooth-brushing timer

Here's a Make HOWTO for converting a set of wind-up novelty chattering teeth to an electronic tooth-brushing timer and toothbrush holder -- take your toothbrush out, start it running, and the teeth will chatter for two minutes (the recommended brushing time).

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Open source soft robotic quadruped with many applications

Pt and Limor write, "The Glaucus, named after the Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus Atlanticus), is an open source soft robotic quadruped from Super-Releaser. It is a proof of concept for a method developed at Super-Releaser that can reproduce nearly any geometry modeled on the computer as a seamless silicone skin. The company hopes to apply these same techniques to practical problems in medicine and engineering as the technology develops. The quadruped has hollow interior chambers that interdigitate with one another. When either of these chambers is pressurized it deforms and bends the structure of the robot. This bending produces the walking motion. It is similar to how a salamander walks, by balancing itself on one pair of legs diagonal from one another while moving the opposite pair forward."

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Ifixit's MacGyver toolkit


Ifixit is celebrating MacGyver's birthday with an Action Hero Toolkit in a Altos-tin-sized-tin. It includes a bobby pin, a match, a rubber band, bubble gum, a birthday candle, a paper clip (natch), a shoelace, a 1 cent stamp and duct-tape. $6.

Action Hero Toolkit (Thanks, Jeff!)

Pebble sold 400,000 smartwatches last year

A good start for the smartwatch pioneer. [CNN] Rob 9

Shelfie, a wall bike mount

Shelfie is a crowdfunded one-piece shelf designed to hold a bicycle. It seems rather steep at $125, but certainly looks more attractive and useful than a big old hook on the wall. [via Uncrate]

What happens when Louis Armstrong's batteries are low

Wherein the Mind of God is shown through His words. [Youtube via Arbroath] Previously.

Carved crayons -- now with color!


Both Mark and I have sung the praises of Hoang Tran's hand-carved pop-culture crayons (I have one in my office!).

But Tran has really gone to a new level, adding detail and sparing color not seen in the earlier works. These new pieces are on display in a Tumblr called Wax Nostalgic, and they're magnificent.

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Bookshelf masking-tape


Etsy seller Light Life makes this book-spine masking tape for sealing up your boxes and making them look like they're libraries for tiny flatlanders. The Taiwanese seller has lots of other notable designs, too. It's all $6.78/roll, plus shipping from Taiwan. (via Tor Books Tumblr)

Pop culture pencils

Glasgow's Popculturepencils makes custom pencils that come in threesomes which spell out fannish messages, For example: "He's dead Jim," "Beam me up Scotty" and "Live long and prosper." Or: "Sedagive?" "What hump?" and "Put the candle back." Very nice: now, put 'em on rebooted Blackwings. (via Geekymerch)

Kickstarting Airbulb: programmable Bluetooth speakers/LED lightbulbs

A group of Hong Kong engineers are kickstarting a Bluetooth speaker/LED lightbulb that draws power through the lightsocket called "Airbulb." Eric writes, "AirBulb has dimmable, bi-colored LED lighting and superb wireless Bluetooth audio. Just twist it into lamp socket, download the app and pair it, full function controls are under your fingertips. Just one single unit. No extra wires. No extra dock. No AC adapter required. No remote to lose. Truly simple and easy to use."

The lightbulbs can be paired to your phone to blink as a notifier or alarm, too.

$59 gets you one bulb/speaker. As with all kickstarters, there's no guarantee that you'll get anything for your money -- caveat emptor!

AirBulb - a LED Bulb with Enjoyment

Werkhaus: flat-pack housewares and accessories skinned with photos of scuffed, worn-in real-world stuff


I was in Berlin for the day yesterday to speak at a World Consumer Rights Day, and before I headed back to the airport, I dropped in at Werkhaus, a retail outlet that sells innovative, made-in-Germany flat-pack housewares that are skinned with beautiful photos of decayed, wabi-sabi surfaces from street furniture, antiques, and industrial apparatus. I bought one of their "Telefonstation" shelving units, designed to hold and charge your phones and mobile devices while disguising the charge-cables; the one I bought is skinned with the exterior of a scuffed and beaten Soviet pay-phone, with stenciled Cyrillic lettering.

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New old-timey Twilight Zone action figures announced


Zack sez, "Submitted for your approval -- Bif Bang Pow! has a new line of action figures inspired by the classic TV series done in the scale and style of such 1980s figure lines as Star Wars. Personal favorites include the Invader from 'The Invaders' and Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis in 'Time Enough at Last,' who is getting a permanent space on my bookshelf where he can finally enjoy some good literature without worrying about breaking his glasses."

These are in addition to the existing line of Bif Bam Pow Twilight Zone toys which include some real standouts like the Mystic Seer bobble-head and the Eye of the Beholder Nurse.

Bif Bang Pow! Enters a New Dimension (Thanks, Zack!)