Boing Boing 

DRM for woo: "light therapy" mask's LED only works 30 times


The Illumask LEDs only fire for 30 15-minute sessions, despite being rated for 30,000 hours, thanks to a patented system.

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Alternate universe, Star-Wars scale Cthulhu action figures


Warpo's amazing, Kickstarted alternate-universe Cthulhu action figures have been reality for some months now, but now they're objects of commerce: $20 each at Thinkgeek.

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Portland cops charge homeless woman with theft for charging her phone

In Portland, OR, "Jackie," a homeless former social worker with muscular dystrophy, was hit with a misdemeanor theft charge for charging her phone from a plug on a planter-base on a sidewalk; she spent a day in jail when she missed her arraignment.

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This Book is a Planetarium (really!)


Master paper artist Kelli Anderson has a forthcoming title called This Book is a Planetarium that literally converts into a planetarium, as well as a smartphone amplifier, and many other paper contraptions.

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LED lamp made from real dandelion fluff


Studio Drift's Dandelight uses a "stem" of copper that mounts directly to a 9V battery, and its halo of dandelion seeds are hand-plucked from a real plant and glued, one at a time, to the business-end.

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Laptop killing booby-trapped USB drive


The USB Killer is a booby-trapped, hand-made USB drive that will "burn down" your laptop if you insert it into your USB slot.

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Back to the Future Flux Capacitor watch

The Back to the Future Flux Capacitor watch is $50 from Thinkgeek -- naturally, it displays the date as well as the time (and has a mode to make the date jump back and forward to significant dates from the BTTF canon).

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One-handed bottle opener preserves caps for your collection


The Gropener is a one-handed bottle-opener designed to lift off caps without bending them (to preserve them for your collection); the anodized aluminium body has a rare-earth magnet to keep the cap from falling after it's removed.

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Bondic: multipurpose liquid UV-curing plastic adhesive

Bondic is a UV-curing liquid plastic adhesive that can stick together materials that usually require different kinds of glues to bond.

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Vaping hoodie with mouthpiece in the drawstring


Vaprwear has a vaping chamber in the central pocket that feeds smoke out through the drawstring around the hood; they cost about $100 each, in a variety of styles. No word on washing instructions.

Wearable laugh sensor knows when you're feeling good

laugh_sensor At the 2015 Wearable Device Technology Expo in Tokyo in January, a tech firm introduced a small lapel worn sensor that can tell when the wearer's laughing, talking, or in trouble. Based on 10-years of "laugh-detecting" research, it's meant to help monitor the health of senior citizens. According to researchers:
To know they are "laughing" will help you see that they are happy and mentally well. "Falling" may indicate an emergency situation. This device reassures you that your loved ones, who live far away, are doing well.
via Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service

Nova Scotia artist generates furious noise from hand-made sound machines

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Artist Rebecca Baxter of Halifax, Nova Scotia makes noisy, grating, often ethereal sounds from machines she designs and solders herself. Demand has been high for her one-offs, including those used in recordings and performances by Flaming Lips, Electric Wurms, New Fumes, Mike O'Neill, Panos, METEOROID, Holy Fuck, Buck 65, and Oscillator Sunshine Machine.

Now she's launched a campaign to raise money to build more sophisticated handmade instruments. So far her devices have been stand-alone, creating sound from oscillators inside, but her next model, the Omega, is slated to have inputs for a guitar or keyboard. More videos: 1, 2, 3.

Ad-hoc museums of a failing utopia

Photographer David Hlynsky took more than 8,000 street photos in the Eastern Bloc, documenting the last days of ideological anti-consumer shopping before the end of the USSRRead the rest

Cuddly log-pillows

Just in time for the Twin Peaks revival, a microbead-filled, photorealistic plush log pillow, which comes in "birch," "log" and "platanus" (and is glowingly reviewed by hundreds of satisfied customers).

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Tactical cutlery


The Buck 941 Travelmate Kit Chocolate Paperstone Knife is a tactical spreading knife with a clip-on multispork.

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Kickstarting Keybiner: a multitool caribiner that also holds your keys


It's a bottle opener, multidriver, wrench-set, and comes in brass, stainless, blackened or anodized aluminum, and it holds up to 14 keys, as well as a USB stick.

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The dystopian future of quantified babies

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A group of design students from a Swedish university published an insightful academic paper last year spoofing all the baby health trackers now pitched to parents. The trackers measure things like a baby's breathing rate, heart rate, and sleep, and are made by startups including Mimo Baby, Owlet, Sproutling, and Monbaby.

Is this fear mongering for new moms? Or will these devices actually offer valuable data on infants? I think it's too early to tell. But the paper does a good job of critiquing the design pitfalls of the user experience. It argues such devices could needlessly raise anxiety and remove intuition from parenting.

There's a cool hand-drawn storyboard of a new mom deciding not to go the park with Johnny after she binges on biometric data:

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Also, a good rendering of an epidemiological map overlay that would show all the kids in your neighborhood suffering from excessive booger:

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