Inventor brings Mario Kart to real life with HoloLens AR technology

Ian Charnas, the inventor of those amazing windshield wipers that "dance" to your car's music, is up to yes good again (the opposite of "no good"). He's made a real-life Mario Kart video game using electric go-karts and augmented reality (!).

Ian explains:

In this augmented reality racing game demo, players zoom around a track in real-life go-karts and pick up virtual power-ups to boost their kart’s speed or slow down the competition.

The virtual power-ups are generated by a Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset on each player. The speed boosts (and reductions) are provided by some electronics I created that extend an existing go-kart system with this functionality.

[If you want to know more about it works, he explains it further on Hackaday.]

Ian is hoping that there's a demand for this real-life Mario Kart. He's got all the pieces, including a provisional patent, he just needs the right partner to get it off the ground in a bigger way.

Thanks, Mark! Read the rest

Vehicle outfitted with "shoes" to avoid crushing Christmas Island crabs

Each winter, millions of Christmas Island red crabs mass migrate from the rainforest to the sea to lay their eggs. While the roads are closed during migration season to protect the crustaceans, a couple who live in this Australian territory still needed vehicle access to their two luxury eco-lodges. So, Chris Bray and his wife Jess attached sweeper "shoes" to their Toyota Land Cruiser tires to "gently push the crabs out of the way without harming them."

They call their invention the "crab mobile":

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The #crab mobile working a treat! The roads are thick with red crabs migrating to the coast for a refreshing dip in the #ocean. What an amazing time to be on #Christmas Island @christmasisland @parksaustralia

A post shared by Swell Lodge (@swelllodge) on Dec 29, 2019 at 7:44pm PST

(Nag on the Lake)

screenshot via Chris Bray Photography/Caters Clips Read the rest

A cereal bowl that amplifies the "snap, crackle, and pop" of your Rice Krispies

Be still my heart. There's a cereal bowl that lets you listen to the snap, crackle, and pop of your Rice Krispies! I'm just hearing about it but apparently the "Snap Crack and Pop Amplifier Cereal Bowl" was designed by Dominic Wilcox back in 2015:

Kellogg’s challenged artist and designer Dominic Wilcox to make breakfast more interesting and fun for families and children going back to school in September. Over the course of 10 weeks he designed 7 inventions and prototypes from a robot spoon to a head worn cereal serving device.

The sound of Rice Krispies popping is a well known sound for many breakfast eaters, particularly from their childhood. Instead of hearing a quiet snap crackle and pop why not increase the sound? This technological cereal bowl amplifies the sound of Rice Krispies using a microphone and volume control. Simply fill the bowl with Rice Krispies, pour in the milk, with on the bowl and increase the volume of the pops by turning the dial.

"Well, turn it up, man!"

Check out Dominic's other neat-o inventions at his website.

(Dude I Want That)

Thanks a million, Kent! Read the rest

This cereal sippy cup mixes in the milk as you drink it

Finally, an invention worth its weight in gold. The CrunchCup is a to-go cup for your cereal and milk.

It's comprised of two cups; one for the cereal and the other for the milk. Each cup has it's own hole so that the cereal and milk don't meet until they hit your mouth.

Pre-order it now for $25. (It reminds me a little of those "magic" milk bottles for dolls.)

Watch and learn:

(Geekologie) Read the rest

This "Noggle" tube redirects A/C to your backseat passengers

If you have a vehicle that isn't fancy enough to have air conditioning vents in the backseat area, you might want to consider this totally tubular invention. It's called the Noggle and it was designed to keep kids cool in the heat (and warm in the cold). It costs roughly $50 for an 8-foot-long one.

(Geekologie) Read the rest

One Foot Taller Periscope glasses

Designer Dominic Wilcox isn't short himself but sympathized with a woman at a concert who is, "I was standing at a gig and turned to see a small woman dancing away but unable to see the band. This gave me the inspiration to design a way for people to see over obstacles such as tall people like me."

Dominic's initial sketch

That's how his One Foot Taller Periscope glasses came to be. Yes, the glasses make its wearers look silly but they allow them to see a solid foot over their normal eye level, ie. over the dang crowd. A sturdier version of these would probably sell well if they were actually for sale. Alas, he created them as a proof of concept for a contest that prompted its designers to come up with an extraordinary solution to an everyday problem.

Dominic's got all kinds of great inventions. Take a look.

(Funny or Die) Read the rest

Gadget solves first-world peanut butter problems

Having difficulties using a butter knife or rubber spatula to get the last ounce of peanut butter out of the jar? Or maybe you're sick of having your too-soft bread being ripped apart by peanut butter (wait, what?). Not to worry first-world citizens, inventor Andy Scherer of Burbank, California has got you covered. His Peanut Butter Pump promises to clean the jar for you.

The jar-cleaning gadget won't, however, clean itself.

But, it will squeeze out peanut butter in ribbons or in a stream.

Get one of Scherer's patented gizmos for $25 through his Indiegogo campaign. Over 1400 backers have already funded the project.

images via The Peanut Butter Pump/Indiegogo

(Delish) Read the rest

An overengineered invention to crack open eggs

Although properly breaking open eggs isn't as hard as they show in the video, people with certain disabilities might find value in The Q's "DIY Simple Egg Opener" (or this one which is already on the market).

This amazing kitchen gadget allows you to open any chicken egg in seconds! No more eggshell in your dish! All you need are plywood, popsicle sticks, 3 springs and small piece of sponge! Don't wait, build your own egg opener and make your morning easier :)

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Fancy high-tech water gun isn't for child's play

Tired of ordinary, janky water guns?

Well, inventor Sebastian Walter of Munich, Germany has made something for you. He's shaking up the water gun industry with his high-tech Spyra One. He and his team's $133 water gun isn't exactly for child's play though.

The Verge:

The Spyra One doesn’t shoot a stream of water; it shoots precisely measured bursts of “water bullets” that the company claims can clearly and accurately hit targets up to 25 feet away.

There’s an integrated pump that lets you refill the tank just by dunking the front of the Spyra One into a pool, lake, or bucket of water. It takes about 14 seconds to refill. There’s no pumping, either. That same pump keeps the tank pressurized so you’re able to start spraying water. But things get truly ridiculous with my favorite feature: a display that features a digital ammo counter that feels more at home on a futuristic rifle from Halo than an actual water gun.

...the Spyra One also features a rechargeable battery, which the company says should last for around 45 fill cycles before you’ll need to recharge.

When you do need to juice up the Spyra One, you’ll do so by plugging in a — wait, that can’t be right — a standard USB-C cable...

The Spyra One isn't available in stores, only through Kickstarter. So far, over 2,000 backers are willing to wait until August 2019 (or longer) for their fancy high-tech water gun, well surpassing the original $58,050 goal. Read the rest

Jet ski motorcycle

A friend was just telling me that jet skis are like motorcycles for water. Now here's a jet-ski... motorcycle. Some guy in the Netherlands put the shell of a Sea-Doo jet ski over a motorcycle and tooled around.

He reports:

I was driving my newly built jetski after a friend finished it this Easter. We build it because I woke up one day thinking about such a thing and I decided it had to happen. Now it's done and I haven't decided what to do with it.

(Geekologie) Read the rest

A 'Roomba' for weeds

The inventor of the Roomba robot vacuum, Joe Jones, has come up with something new: a solar-powered weeding robot called the Tertill. It will patrol your home garden daily looking for weeds to cut down.

How does it know what's a weed and what's a plant?

Tertill has a very simple method: weeds are short, plants are tall. A plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill's shell activates a sensor that makes the robot turn away. A plant short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, though, activates a different sensor that turns on the weed cutter.

Get your own weed-killing robot for $249 through the Tertill's Kickstarter.

(Business Insider) Read the rest

This guy is grilling meat inside of a filing cabinet

Summer BBQ season is nearly here. Oh sure, you could pull out the ol' grill again. But, why be boring when a perfectly fine piece of office furniture is ready to be transformed into a multi-level meat-smoking machine?

Last July, Joshua McIntyre of Mississippi showed off his four-drawer metal filing cabinet that he made into a smoker in this video that went viral.

And, it's not just Joshua who's figured out the beauty of barbecuing with office furniture. Apparently, this grilling-inside-an-office-filing-cabinet is a thing.

Ok, so I can't quite put my finger on it, but I sense this is a bad idea. I mean, for one, isn't the filing cabinet's paint toxic?

Thanks, Mimi!

(VSB) Read the rest

Listen to the nicest car horn ever

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober has invented a fancy in-dash car horn with three custom settings. The first one is sort of a swift and friendly 'toot, toot' for when your regular horn is too aggressive. The other two? Well, I won't spoil it but one is even friendlier than the first and the other is meant to get some real attention in "extreme situations."

Mark says, "This horn is SO courteous my car was granted Canadian citizenship yesterday."

(reddit) Read the rest

Ingenious pop-up shelter for people in wheelchairs

Under The Weather is a single-person pop-up shelter to sit inside that my big brother Rick came up with a while back. (He was sick of getting soaked at his kids' soccer games and was inspired by a portable toilet he saw by the field.) Under The Weather is designed for spectator sports, fishing, and other outdoor events where it's raining, windy, or cold, but you are either obligated to watch or having so much fun you don't want to leave. Rick used his personal savings to have a bunch of the tents made and they mostly just sat in a warehouse until last year when videos and photos of the thing somehow went viral. Now this curious contraption is selling like crazy. I'm proud of him!

In the last few months, Rick received a bunch of requests for a version of Under The Weather that a wheelchair or stroller could roll right into. (The standard Under The Weather tent has a lip on the bottom of the door that makes this difficult.) So Rick designed a new model, the Accessipod, in which the entire back of the tent opens up for easy access. Check out the videos below!

You can buy all the tent models directly from him here: Under the Weather

Read the rest

Comic about the woman who invented the coffee filter

Over at Backchannel, comic artist Andy Warner's illustrated the story of Melitta Bentz, a German housewife who in 1908 invented the coffee filter. Read the rest

Comic about the invention of The Slinky

Over at Backchannel, Andy Warner's delightful comic about how a naval engineer invented The Slinky. Read the rest

Comic about how a man and his dog invented velcro

Over at Backchannel, Andy Warner's comic about how in 1941 a Swiss electrical engineer returned from a hike with his dog in the Alps and came up with velcro. Read the rest