LEGO The Child Brings Us a Brick-built Baby Yoda

There’s not much that’s cuter than Baby Yoda. LEGO clearly agrees and has just announced a new official LEGO set based on The Child from The Mandalorian. LEGO set number 75318 is as adorable as you’d expect and will make a great addition to any Star Wars fan’s bookshelf or desktop.

The 1073-piece set measures 7.8″ tall once complete, making it a little less than half the height of The Child as it appears on screen in the Disney+ series. In order to give Baby Yoda as much expressiveness as possible, the model features a poseable head, ears that move, and an adjustable mouth. It also comes with the knob that Baby Yoda was fooling around with aboard Mando’s ship, the Razor Crest. It also comes with a display easel with pertinent stats and a minifig of The Child.

 

The $79.99 set is designed for kids age 10 and up, which is good news for anyone who was thinking of ordering one of these for their own child’s Christmas present this year. LEGO will ship The Child set starting on October 30, 2020, but you can pre-order yours today (9/21/2020) starting at 1pm PST / 4pm EST over on LEGO.com.

 

 

Just How Big are the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series X?

Holiday season 2020 should be a good one for video gamers, with the impending release of next-gen consoles from both Sony and Microsoft. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X pack graphics capabilities on par with many gaming PCs, so they need room for all of that hardware and cooling tech. We’re starting to get some perspective of just how much space these new consoles will take up in your living room cabinet.

Now that we have official dimensions for both consoles, Keisawada, an illustrator in Japan, decided to create some computer-generated models to put their sizes in perspective. The image above shows the relative sizes of a PS5 in vertical mode, an Xbox Series X, and a Nintendo Switch for comparison. When placed alongside each other, you can see that the PS5 towers over the others, while the Xbox Series X takes the prize for girth.

While it initially looks enormous next to that display, it turns out that’s a relatively small 32″ TV that they’re standing next to. Still, with the PS5 measuring 390mm x 260mm x 104mm (15.3″ x 10.23″ x 4.09″), it’s about 18% bigger by volume than the original PS3, which was known for its gargantuan size. The Xbox Series X is a bit shorter at 301mm (11.85″) high, but its portly 151mm x 151mm (5.94″ x 5.94″) footprint means its more than twice as thick as an Xbox One X.

If you’re interested in saving space, and you don’t care about a Blu-ray drive and physical game media, The PS5 Digital and Xbox Series S are smaller. The PS5 Digital isn’t much different in size from the regular PS5 at 390mm x 260mm x 92mm (15.3″ x 10.23″ x 3.62″). However, the Xbox Series S measures in at a downright svelte 305mm x 275mm x 53mm (12″ x 10.8″ x 2.08″), making it by far the smallest of the next-gen consoles at launch.

You can check out all of Keisawada’s comparison graphics below:

[via Hot Hardware]

Artist Gives Us a Real Woody (from Toy Story)

With reboots of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Mulan, Disney seems to be on quite the live-action remake kick of late. While some of these movies have been okay, I prefer to leave these Disney classics in the animated world where they belong. Now that I’ve seen this realistic looking figure of Woody from Toy Story, I’m afraid that Disney/Pixar might get some crazy idea of a live-action Toy Story reboot too. I’m begging them to just say no.

This incredibly detailed sculpt was created by the talented figure maker @jeno_figure. He did a fantastic job turning Tom Hanks’ iconic CGI character into a realistic looking person, retaining Woody’s upbeat expression, and reinterpreting his cowboy outfit onto a body with more human proportions. From the cowhide vest to the yellow and red shirt, to the cow skull belt buckle, Jeno truly nailed the design. It also looks like he created another alternative head with a more serious expression, as you can see in his original tweet:

Incredible work, Jeno! Now can we please have realistic versions of Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and those three-eyed aliens?

[via Reddit via Mike Shouts]

This Computer Case Doesn’t Run on Pyramid Power

Back in the 1970s, the idea of “pyramid power” was about as popular among crackpots as today’s flat earth theories. While the Egyptian pyramids and other pyramid-shaped structures possess no magical qualities, they are cool to look at and architecturally significant. If you think pyramids are awesome, perhaps you’ll dig this pyramid-shaped computer case.

The AZZA Pyramid Mini 806 is a mini-mid-size case for building your own custom PC. It features an aluminum structure along with four tempered glass side panels which let you peep inside and check out your computer componentry. It holds any standard Mini-ITX motherboard, and an SFX power supply. It also includes a 120mm cooling fan with RGB lighting, which sits above the computer components and extracts heat out of openings at the top of the glass.

 

Measuring 17.1″ tall, with a 14.5″ x 14.5″ footprint, it’s not exactly a conventional small form-factor computer case, but it definitely is eyecatching, and its stacked design makes for easy access to components.

If you’re ready to build your own desktop pyramid, you can find the Pyramid Mini 806 case over on Amazon for $249.99. For those looking to make a larger ATX-based computer, they make a larger model called the Pyramid 804V, which sells for $297.87.

[via Gadgetify]

When is a Rubik’s Cube Not a Cube? When It’s a Fruit

The original Rubik’s Cube is one of the most iconic and popular toys of all time. From its deceptively simple design to its frustrating complexity for noobs, to the amazing way that some people can solve them in seconds, they’re a mechanical masterpiece of puzzle goodness.

The original 3x3x3 puzzle has inspired many variants, including much more complicated versions, and shapes like pyramids and dodecahedrons. Now, you can buy some Rubik’s inspired puzzles that look good enough to eat.

These Fruit Series “cube” puzzles are anything but cube-shaped, but they work in a similar way to the original Rubik’s Cube, with a multi-axis pivoting mechanism to scramble then arrange their parts out. The puzzles come in five tasty and nutritious versions, including orange, banana, pear, lemon, and apple. Okay, plastic isn’t actually nutritious.

At first glance, these things look like they’d be more challenging to sort out than a piece of fruit that you already took a bite out of, but apparently, they’re not that hard. Despite the temptation, don’t try and chomp down on one of these, or you’ll certainly chip a tooth.

All of these fruity puzzles are available individually from Hong Kong novelty shop Brando, where they sell for $16 each. The SpeedCubeShop sells a set of three that includes the orange, apple, and banana for just $17.95. I also found a set of four on Amazon for $19.99.

 

Welcome to The Cheetosphere

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a tendency to play with my food. I remember cobbling together all kinds of gross concoctions at the table whenever we went out to eat, and occasionally stacking food items like Lincoln Logs to create edible towers. Yet, despite all of my efforts, I never achieved the greatness of The Cheetosphere.

Artist Sam Keller figured out that if you have the properly curved Cheetos, you can assemble them into a nearly perfect orb. It looks like each orange snack covers a 120-degree arc, so gluing three of them together forms a circle. Then by arranging and attaching the Cheeto circles together with other individual Cheetos, you can make a sphere. I’m guessing that a balloon might have been involved here in order to provide an inner form for the structure.

However Sam made it, the Cheetosphere is a true work of art, and belongs in a modern art museum alongside the works of Jeff Koons and other contemporary masters. Heck, he could turn it into a performance art piece, where someone walks into the room and nibbles on the sphere until it’s all gone, while Sam cranks out another masterpiece for the next show.

Sam also made a smaller and simpler Cheetosphere, which I came across thanks to Pee-Wee Herman:

This isn’t the only time Sam created a snack food sculpture. At the same time, he made the Doritosphere

[via Pee-Wee Herman]

AI Frame Interpolation Boosts LEGO Stop Motion to 60 FPS

It takes a whole lot of work to create stop-motion animation. After all, the characters and scenery in each and every frame need to be precisely positioned before snapping each still image. At the traditional film rate of 24 frames per second, you need to shoot 1440 individual photos for one minute of footage. That’s why stop-motion animators sometimes choose to go with even lower frame rates, like 15 fps.

Digital animation tools usually include something called “tweening,” which can interpolate illustration positions to come up with an in-between frame. This can smooth out motion in two-dimensional images, but this approach doesn’t work well with photography. Now, thanks to neural network technology, it’s possible to cleanly interpolate frames between photographic images with impressive levels of accuracy.

Recently, LEGO stop-motion animator LEGOEddy decided to run one of his 15 frame-per-second animations through a tool called DAIN, which was able to upsample his original video to a super-smooth 60 frames-per-second. The software not only interpolates frames but is able to properly handle things like depth of field and occlusion (objects being hidden behind others.)

The resulting footage is impressive, and surprisingly devoid of unpleasant artifacts. Here’s the full 60 fps version of LEGOEddy’s “Apollo 11: A Lego Story”

And here’s the original 15 fps version for comparison:

You can find out more about DAIN on Two Minute Papers, or download the application for free (or for a small contribution) from the project’s Patreon page, or the source code on GitHub.

[via Born in Space]

Godzilla Tissue Dispenser Stomps out Stuffy Noses

Usually, when you think of Godzilla, you imagine the giant reptilian breathing fire from his mouth. But it turns out that the monster can also dispense tissues between his mighty jaws. Yes, this is a Kaiju for Kleenex.

Japanese company Rotary Hero (the same people behind the Big Moai tissue box) makes this amusing dispenser that makes your Kleenex look like smoke coming out of the famed Kaiju’s mouth. It’s also officially licensed Godzilla merch too, so no lawyers from TOHO will be knocking on your door.

These initially went on sale this past May from Japan-based collector’s shop DeAgostini for about $50, but they don’t seem to be available there at the moment. I’m hoping some of these eventually turn up on eBay so I can put Godzilla in my bathroom. For now, I guess I’ll have to settle for a Godzilla toilet paper holder.

An AI Bot Wrote an X-Men Script

Artificial intelligence keeps getting better and better, especially with the advent of technologies like machine learning artificial neural networks. Such tech is being used for everything from improving vehicle safety to searching for cures to diseases. However, not all AI tech is used for such noble or important causes. Take, for example, this AI that was trained on to write an X-Men script.

Writer, comedian, and occasional tech geek Keaton Patti decided to feed a deep learning algorithm with dialogue from 1000 hours of X-Men movies, and then asked it to produce its own movie based on its newly-formed knowledge base. Keaton was kind enough to post the first page of the script on his Twitter feed the other day, and the results are pretty hilarious:

Yes, they are a team of friendly freaks for sure, Storm is bossing around the weather as usual, and Magneto sure loves to play with his magnets. I really hope that Keaton lets his bot finish writing the whole movie, and then makes a low budget live-action version. What other movies would you want to let an AI bot write?

[via GeekTyrant]

The Weirdest and Worst Star Trek Toys Ever

Despite getting its start back in 1966, Star Trek continues to entertain, with new series like Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks, all actively in production. Over the years, the franchise has certainly evolved, though in general, sticking to a formula that blends social commentary, science fiction, adventure, and humor. While there have certainly been hits and misses for Star Trek, the same could be said for its collectibles and toys.

These days, merchandising teams do a reasonable job tying in products to shows and movies. Often, toys are based on actual props or digital models used in production. But back in the day, toymakers often were left to their own devices, and fans weren’t quite as demanding in their expectations. That said, I thought it might be fun to catalog a few of the strangest and worst Star Trek toys made over the decades.

First up is the Official Star Trek Helmet, a ridiculous toy that looks nothing like anything worn by anyone in Starfleet. With its open face, this helmet certainly wouldn’t help you breathe on a spacewalk, so I can only imagine it was supposed to be used at pressurized locations – possibly at a Starfleet construction site or something. The flashing red light and “pulsing sonic sound” it emits are sure to scare off a Gorn, and the stick-on name lettering ensures that Kirk and Spock won’t accidentally take the wrong helmet from the locker room.

Next, we have the Star Trek Sky Diving Parachutist – which features non-poseable figures of both Spock and Kirk, each attached to a plastic parachute. Yeah, because that happened so many times in an episode, where someone on the crew of the Enterprise walked out onto the saucer and took a flying leap down to the planet below. So much better than a transporter.

Another terrible Star Trek toy is this water gun that was shaped like the original U.S.S. Enterprise. While they at least got the general shape of the Starship right, it’s still completely nonsensical, firing water instead of a force field out of its deflector dish. Now, if your friends had a Klingon Bird of Prey water gun, it might be a different story.

Dating back to the earliest days of Trek, the Star Trek Rapid-Fire Tracer Gun looks like the lovechild of a prop from a 1940s gangster movie and a ray gun from Flash Gordon. This thing looked nothing like a phaser, but at least its little disc-shaped projectiles were fun to shoot at things… until your little brother tried to eat them or stick them up a nostril.

The Star Trek Metal Detection Probe was another shameless cash grab. Basically, it was just like any other cheap metal detector, but with a Starfleet logo slapped onto it, and a sealed detector loop that just happened to pass a slight resemblance to the saucer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The least it could do is detect dilithium crystals, but nope, just steel pop-tops and other random metal junk dropped onto the beach.

Not every weird Star Trek toy came out in the ’60s or ’70s. Lionel trains are guilty of this with a product you can buy right now. What you’re looking at here is the Star Trek Lionchief Train Set. This set of large O-gauge trains includes a U.S.S. Enterprise “diesel” locomotive, and boxcars inspired by 10 Forward, the Holodeck, and Sick Bay, all based on their appearance in The Next Generation – if NCC-1701-D was Snowpiercer. They also make Captain Picard, Captain Kirk, and Tribble Transport boxcars, and a tanker filled with Romulan Ale. I kid you not.

Not to be confused with Lionel’s trains, the Star Trek Climb-Action Traction Mighty Mike Astro-Train Gift Set is even further off the mark. It’s like the guys who made this thing thought they could make up for its crappiness by adding more words to its name. This awful thing has zero resemblance to anything in Star Trek and includes such out of place items as a spinning disk launcher and a robot carrier trailer. Plus, they call it a train, and it doesn’t even run on tracks.

So you’re approaching an unexplored planet and want to search for signs of life. Why bother using the long-range sensors aboard your Starship, when you can transport down to the surface and survey the area with a set of low-powered, plastic Star Trek binoculars? They’re the only binoculars Spock trusts. I saw that on the package, so it must be true.

I started this off with a Star Trek helmet, and I’m ending it with an even worse Star Trek helmet. The bubbly yellow Star Trek Astro-Helmet looks like one of the ghosts from Pac-Man decided to park it on top of a kid’s head and suck out his brains. Either that or Dumb Donald from the Fat Albert Show traveled into the future and got himself a new hat. At least it has non-shattering lenses and a chin protector because the other kids would have beat the stuffing out of you if you wore this to school.