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Strange technology inventions and mods

There's some odd inventions out there - from solar-powered bikinis to USB BBQs.

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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Designer Andrew Schneider has come up with an innovative way to keep your iPod fully charged while sunbathing on the beach.

This solar-powered bikini has inbuilt photovoltaic film panels and a USB connection integrated within its design, with a male version of the beach wear currently on the horizon. This gadget-bikini was developed as part of a project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

 

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2 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Forget static posters -- what if the pin-up your daughter has on her bedroom wall could respond to her overtures?

It may sound like a concept from the world of Harry Potter, but scientists at Japan’s Keio University have developed just that -- a poster that responds when a person kisses it. The creative mind behind the poster, Keidai Ogawa, explained that he began to develop the idea after becoming frustrated and annoyed at the static nature of his pop idol and celebrity posters.

The technology behind the interactive poster is disarmingly simple. The poster is displayed on a screen, and the images portrayed depend on the distance between user and poster. By using an overhead electronic sensor, the poster flips images based on the proximity of an individual.

Once you hone in, the image changes from the default to the ‘moment before’ a kiss -- and then blushes and giggles afterwards.

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3 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Have you ever left your computer to grab a cup of coffee, and found your cat lying happily on your keyboard, causing destruction to the email you were writing -- and which may have just been sent to your CEO?

Pawsense is software designed by Arizonia-based inventor Chris Niswander. The program detects 'cat-like' typing across a keyboard, and blocks typing until an individual unlocks the screen.

 

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4 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

This USB-powered BBQ is one of many pretty cool modifications people make to their computer hardware. 

Yes, the PC still functions -- even though the barbeque plate is powered by 30 USB ports spread out over five USB PCI cards. Kaizo Aho Ichidai developed the mod after one single 500mw USB port failed to provide enough power to fry an egg.

Needless to say, it is probably best not to try this at home.  

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5 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The interaction team over at Mint Digital have created a robot that responds to social media. Olly’s slogan claims it to be ‘the web connected smelly robot’. The device, a small USB-connected object, is programmed to emit a scent as a cue for a web notifications such as re-tweets, Facebook messages or new email announcements.

The gadget’s tagline is: (Feeds/Pings/Tweets/Checkins) go in. Smell comes out. 

Olly consists of a 12v fan, Arduino chip, an outer shell and a small removable compartment for holding various scents. The removable compartment in the back allows owners to fill it with their preferred smell — anything from perfume to oils.

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6 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Interested in what your dog is thinking? Apparently, this gadget will provide you with much-needed enlightenment. 

The Bowlingual dog translator translates your dogs barks. You'll know if your dog is happy, sad, frustrated, excited and more. It 'analyzes' your dog's barks and then provides you with a written 'translation' of what your dog would say if it could. It can also be left on to keep track of your dog's emotions when you're away from home.

 

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7 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

A slightly bizarre Japanese invention with an oddly-translated name ('The King's Idea') is an ear pick with a video-camera attachment so you can check out the inner workings of your ears while you clean them out. 

Priced at around £50 ($80), the device might allow a user to see those hard-to-reach places -- but do you really want to look?

 

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8 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

For the eco-friendly ones among us, a pair of cardboard speakers have been developed by company MUJI. Lightweight, collapsible speakers, these products can be carried with you and folded away.

The maximum input power is 2W, and the speakers can be yours for less than $20.

 

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9 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

These keyboard cups, made in China, are available in 'Control', 'Alt', 'Reset' and 'Delete' key shapes with circuit board saucer -- in different colors. Potentially a fun gift for a geeky spouse.

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10 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

It is not technically a gadget, but who could resist this foam banana case for a cellphone? Perhaps it could be a take-the-hint kind of gift..

 

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