Archive for the ‘Cool Stuff’ Category

Blowing Your Mind, in Five Easy Steps

July 25, 2010

1. Go to YouTube – here’s a LINK

2. Start watching any video.

3. Pause the video.

4. Hold down the Left Arrow key on your keyboard.

5. Play Snake

Godzilla vs. Oculus

October 23, 2009


Woah yeah. The most badass boat ever.

Apparently it’s  classified as a ‘yacht’… but really it looks like something more suitable for taking over the world in than ferrying rich people around tropical hotspots. Sadly it’s not actually been built yet, but it’s the lead design for Schöpfer Yachts LLC ‘s new range of boats, so who knows – it might be sooner rather than later that this Godzilla-esque sea-dwelling beast will be looming over horizons across the globe!


Grarr! Oculus rise from deep! Eat puny humans!


Mouse Powered Furniture

June 25, 2009

But we’re not talking little critters running round in wheels…

The table above acts as a mouse trap, table, and LCD display in one. Inside it is a microbial fuel cell, and via the mouse-trap hidden in the ‘L’ shaped leg, the table lures in mice, uses sensors to detect and kill the creature and then digests the body to power the trap door and LCD screen.

This little gem is a clock that powers itself by catching household flies, sucking them inside it and using their bodies to power its own fuel cell. According to the inventors, two British chaps, even if the entire human race were to be wiped out, these (and a few other pest-fuelled items of furniture they’ve come up with) will carry on feeding themselves and would, in a way, ‘outlive’ us.


Seriously; give one of those an intelligence and it’s going to look at humans and think “om nom nom, looks like a tasty battery to me“…

In other news:


*scratches chin*

Ah yes; Silvanus, a member of the Fifthwind forum, has been taken prisoner, spirited away while investigating the address in my post a few days ago to some unknown dungeon and hooked up to a horrific device – an IV filled with Dr. Pepper – that is, in turn, connected to a timer counting down from Forty-Eight hours. At the time of posting, we have around twenty hours left to figure out where the hell he is…

Thanks to a shortwave radio left next to him, so far we have been able to glean that he’s strapped to a stone table in the dark, with rats running around the floor and strange, indistinct colours flashing around him occasionally. During the night he thought he saw hallucinations of his family, and, slightly more unnervingly, a phantom of some kind, but these are most likely just delusions brought on by a lack of food.


The Top E3

June 7, 2009

Project Natal1

Had a very enjoyable afternoon today being treated to good conversation, spicy pizza and Jack Daniels cocktails, which is definitely my kind of afternoon! Thanks Liz 😉

So, the 2009 E3 computer games expo finished the other day, and there was some absolutely mind-blowing stuff on display, out of which I present, to you, the three most impressive gems:

1) Project Natal / ‘Milo’

Hardware-wise, Microsoft and Sony were eager to surpass Nintendo’s now famous Wii motion tech, and both demonstrated amazing examples of face /emotion recognition and motion sensor technology.

Arguably the most impressive overall came in the form of Microsoft’s ‘Project Natal‘, which does away with a controller altogether, instead mapping and tracking the user’s entire body in real-time through a simple, small set-top device. And alongside it, British games industry legend Peter Molyneux revealed something which has the potential to a) revolutionise user interaction and AI in software, or  b) become self-aware and wipe out humanity. It’s a virtual human, and his name is Milo.

Project Natal2

Here’s a link to the demonstration of Milo interacting with a person. It is astounding, potentially groundbreaking, and also slightly unnerving:

‘Milo’ recognises the person standing in front of him, what emotion they are expressing, what they’re wearing, and reacts to their speech. One journalist tried telling him an on-the-spot  joke, and he laughed. Tell me that’s not a little creepy… Of course, there are a lot of clever tricks and reactions going on too, to give the illusion of comprehension, such as Milo recognising the tone of voice but not the content, and reacting appropriately. That said, that the tech has only just been revealed, and is even now only 50% complete, so there’s still aways to go.

Personally, while the ‘tamagotchi-esque’ game that Molyneux has in mind for this particular piece of software might be entertaining for some, I’m more excited about the possibilities it holds for the more active, story-led games. Say in the game you’re looking for a secret cult and asking townsfolk about its location, and you’re frowning or asking aggressively. Some characters might react negatively, while others might be more susceptible to intimidation. Enemies could react to your cursing and exclamations while taking them on, or you could rally people to help you in whatever your cause is, so long as you sound enthusiastic enough…  there are endless possibilities, and you have to wonder what it will be like when it reaches full potential.

2) The Last Guardian


The trailer for Sony Computer Entertainment’s upcoming game, ‘The Last Guardian‘. I’m not ashamed to say I almost shed a tear watching it; the emotion and haunting beauty of it is just out of this world, and those animations and graphics are using the actual  game engine. I urge you to watch it, especially if you aren’t into computer games, or see them as a low-brow medium. This is art, pure and simple. Watch it here.

Last, but certainly not least:

3) Star Wars: The Old Republic


A four-minute masterpiece that is better than most of the last three Star Wars films combined.

Action-packed, CGI brilliance. The game itself promises to be quite something; an online, open-world game that developers Bioware are saying will bring a new meaning to story-telling on a massive scale. They have an impressive enough track record for that claim to be proven correct, so high hopes for this one.

That’s just a small snippet of the amazing things on show this year; it really was a cracker. The games industry is beginning to gather pace, and it’s an exciting time for the concept of storytelling, which could soon mean something different to anything that we imagine today. Characters that recognise and interact with us on an emotional level, stories that span and effect millions of people, and that we can actively affect the unfolding of… I find it hard to imagine not being stirred by the potential of these things.

Roll on the interactive revolution!

Six Million Dollars, Man

May 23, 2009



This is a visual/audio studio built for home use by music engineer and producer Jeremy Kipnis for a wallet-shaming $6,000,000. Ouch… Though judging by the size of it, he probably found most of that money in change down the back of his monster sofa.

See here for all the eye-popping, ear-blasting details.

Now, if one was ever rich enough to buy one of these aural sex chambers, then one would also need to find somewhere of equal badassery in which to house it, right? Well, yesterday I found:


‘The Power House’: located in the Thousand Islands, New York.

That place is so cool I’m surprised the water around it isn’t frozen solid; it even has underwater passages to another, larger castle a little further along the island coast. Underwater castle passages. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that, and my biggest ambition is to live in a castle type house. One day…

As for this day however, no such grandiose schemes. The website’s edging ever closer to the precipice though, and should be ready for a nudge off into the bottomless chasm of the internet very soon – all that needs doing now is making sure all the links work, and tightening up the text and then it’ll be ready to roll!

Oh, the deadline for the ‘Can you fantasize in ten sentences or less?’ competition was yesterday, so best of luck to everyone who entered – looking forward to reading what people came up with 😀