Cat Head Chargers: For Purring up Your Gadgets

Do you like cats? Got some electronic devices that need charging? Then have I got something for you! These battery packs from Japan look just like cat heads. And just like real cats, they’re kind of weird.

Nyanko cat head phone chargers comes in five different cat breeds, each of which balances precariously on the thin line between adorable and creepy. Each cat head packs a 4400 mAh lithium-ion battery, which should be enough to juice up most cell phones completely. I’m not sure how many times you can recharge kitty’s laser pointer with one.

They’re available here in the States at Japan Trend Shop for $72, or if you’re in Japan, you can order one from Village Vanguard for the much more reasonable price of ¥4180 (~$39 USD). Man, those cat eyes are staring into my soul.

Shark Tea Bags: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Cup!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen and pour yourself a soothing cup of tea… dammit, sharks. Yes, Daisho Suisan’s awesome tea bag looks like an angry shark floating in your tea cup.

Not only does this shark look like he’s ready to take a bite out of your pinky while you daintily hold your tea cup, there’s blood in the water. Well, actually, there’s a blend of rosehips and hibiscus which create a deliciously red-colored tea, but it might as well be blood, because I’m not going anywhere near this tea cup with that monster shark sticking its head out.

If you dare to swim with the sharks the next time you fix a cup of tea, head on over to OMG Japan, where you can grab a set of three shark teabags for $20, or if you live in Japan, Ocean Teabag has them for just 1200 yen, or about $11 a set.

Keep Your Digits Dry with Some Thumb Sweatbands

Whether you use your them for sending endless text messages to your friends, or playing a round of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on your Nintendo Switch, your thumbs are getting a workout. After all, opposable thumbs are one of the more useful bits of human anatomy. Of course, if you use them as much as I do, they might work up a sweat. What your thumbs need are some tiny sweatbands!

Fortunately, the guys at Entertainment Earth have got you covered. These miniature sweatbands are just the right size for your thumbs, and will keep your joysticks and buttons nice and free of thumb sweat.

For $6.99, you’ll get a set of four tiny sweatbands, two with a “P1” designation, and two marked “P2,” making them perfect for two-player gaming sessions.

I wonder if these are stretchy enough to put around your cat’s paws.

This Earthquake Safety Helmet Folds Flat Until You Need It

Earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence in parts of Japan, so they have a tendency to think more about earthquake safety there than other places. One of the more important things to do in the event of a quake is to protect your head from falling objects. There are lots of ways to do this, from getting under a desk or table, to covering your head with a helmet. But helmets are bulky and take up alot of space – especially if you need them for a whole family or office full of workers. Enter the Derucap.

The Derucap is designed specifically for protecting your head in the event of an earthquake, and what makes it unique is how it stores flat when not in use, measuring just about 1.6″ thick. To open it up, simply place it over your head, and pull down until it’s expanded. The lightweight helmet is made from a flame retardant polyethylene, and can cushion the blow in the event that something falls on your head. It’s not going to protect you from a 2-ton steel beam, but it should reduce the chances of injury from things like items falling off of shelves or other small debris.

The Derucap comes in two designs – a compact model that you can toss in a desk drawer, or a stackable square model which comes in boxes of 10. If you live in Japan, you should be able to grab one for about 3,900 yen – or about $36. But if you want to import one to the states, you’ll need to turn to Japan Trend Shop, who sells singles for $69 each.

R/C Frilled Dragon Puffs Out Its Neck

I’ve always been fascinated by those crazy looking reptiles that can puff out their necks to scare off predators. But I don’t have the time or patience to take care of a living, breathing lizard. Now, you can enjoy all the thrills of a frilled dragon, with none of the pesky cricket feedings.

This silly looking remote-controlled toy has a lizard-like body, and has the ability to puff out its neck with the push of a button. It can move around autonomously, avoiding objects and changing directions, and can be set to follow a hand placed in front of its face, or lurk about waiting to scare off any threats.

You can grab one of these electric lizards over at Hammacher Schlemmer for $39.99. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually crawl like a lizard. Instead, it’s got wheels on its underbelly, and it legs and webbed feet are just along for the ride. Eh, what do you want for forty bucks?

Toyota e-Palette Autonomous Vehicles to Transport Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Athletes

We’re less than a year away from the start of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, so the Japanese city is well underway with preparations for the celebration of athletic talent, sportsmanship, and global goodwill. Among the many things that will be needed for the games to be successful will be methods for athletes to get quickly and safely between their housing and venues during the games – and automaker Toyota is working on just that.

These specially-designed vehicles are based on the e-Palette, an autonomous, battery electric mini-bus first shown in 2018. This updated version has been specially adapted to provide mobility for the athletes in Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic villages.

The Tokyo 2020 e-Palette has big doors that slide to the sides to allow for quick entry and exit by multiple passengers, as well as electric ramps to make it easier for those in wheelchairs or with other physical challenges to board and disembark. It has low floors, and a long wheelbase with virtually no overhangs, allowing for the greatest capacity inside.

One e-Palette has enough room to transport four athletes in wheelchairs at the same time, along with a standing passengers as well. It’s not clear what the total capacity is between seated and standing passengers though.

The e-Palette is rated SAE Level 4 autonomous, and will automatically drive passengers to their destinations with the help of various cameras, sensors, and sophisticated 3D mapping technology. Toyota says a human operator will be on-board each vehicle for safety purposes, but they will only take the controls in an emergency or if other conditions prevent safe autonomous operation.

Toyota plans on showing off the Olympic-bound e-Palette during the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from October 24 to November 4.



These Creepy Purses Have Got Their Eye on You

There are monsters all around us, and they’re hiding in plain sight. It looks like some of them even like hanging out in the women’s accessories department now.

These awesomely creative and creepy clutch purses come from the mind of Breanne of Creature Clutches and The Geekstress. Each one is handmade, and features a single eyeball peering out from beneath its fabric shell. While I dig the big dragon’s eye, the monster ones with the teeth sticking out are my favorites.

We’ve been assured no actual monsters were harmed in the making of these bags. The eyeballs are made from hand-painted glass, while the teeth are made from shells.

You can currently find a few of these clutches over on Breanne’s Etsy shop, with prices ranging from $35 to $75. She also makes some nifty monster dice bags for tabletop RPG fans. Thanks to Technabob friend Mike for the heads up on these amazing creations.

Sleep with a Gorilla in Your Bed

Are you feeling lonely sleeping in your bed alone? Scared somebody might be climbin’ in your windows and snatchin’ you up at night? Well you need a gorilla in your bed!

Japanese outfit You+More’s gorilla pillow is the perfect addition to any bed, offering up a comforting arm and huge pectoral muscles for you to rest your weary head on. The pillow is inspired by Shanabi, a Western lowland gorilla who resides at the Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya, Japan.

The soft and comforting pillow measures about 18 inches-tall and almost 3 feet-wide, and is made from 100% polyester – just like a real gorilla! There’s even a cosy nook to hang onto your phone when he’s not holding a banana there.

Sadly, I’m not sure where you can get this gorilla pillow here in the states, but if you live in Japan, you should be able to pick one up from Felissimo for ¥6,300, or about $59 USD.

[via PlayJunkie via Design You Trust]

This Drone Has Legs and Can Walk

I always thought the point of a drone was so it could fly around and do its work without having to touch the ground. But engineers from Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems & Technologies (CAST) have been working on an unusual drone which actually has legs.

The LEONARDO (LEg ON Aerial Robotic DrOne) uses its upper body thrust to stand upright, while a pair of jointed limbs at its bottom help it to walk along flat surfaces. Now I’m not quite sure what the real world application would be for a robot like this but there’s no question that it’s, uh… interesting to look at:

The only real value I can see in this design for a bipedal robot is that we’ll have more advance warning that they’re coming after us, thanks to the buzzing bee whine of their rotors.

[via iEEE Spectrum]

This Retro Flip Clock Looks Like an Old TV Set

These days, lots of people are replacing their bedside clocks with smartphones or other mobile gadgets which keep time. But there’s something about being able to just open an eyeball in the middle of the night and glance at the time that makes me still prefer a standalone clock. I always loved those mechanical flip clocks from the 1970s too, so this looks like a fun option.

Midclock’s TV clock combines two different old school devices in one: a retro flip clock, and a retro television set. Unlike the flip clocks of yore, Midclock says theirs operates silently, so it won’t wake you up ticking away. Plus it’s got a built-in night light which makes reading the time easier, and adds a gentle glow.

It runs on two AA batteries, so you can take it with you when traveling too. The only bummer about this clock is that it doesn’t have an alarm built in, so that’s a bit of a fail. Still, it’s a cool design for fans of retro tech, and you can grab one over at Amazon today.