From 1998 to 2008, the Las Vegas Hilton featured an attraction called Star Trek: The Experience. I remember going to it during a Vegas vacation, and it was quite cheesy- but in a good way. But if you have fond memories of it, or just want to bring a little bit of Trek into your home, check this out.
It turns out that after the attraction closed, they sold off a bunch of never-used carpet remnants, and someone has turned these into sweet space-themed area rugs. The custom-made carpeting features a repeating pattern of a starship’s windows looking out into space, and would look great in any geeky living space. As a bonus, since the carpet was designed for use in a casino, they’re made for high-traffic wear, and should last a very long time.
Etsy seller YourHouseWins is selling the area rugs in sizes ranging from 2×2′ up to 6×9′, with prices starting at $175 for a single space window, up to $995 for the biggest area rug. So set your wallet to stun, and head over to Etsy if you want to add a cool piece of Star Trek memorabilia to your room.
Of the many things I’ve enjoyed in my life, LEGO bricks and belgian waffles are pretty high on the list. So I was pretty stoked when I saw this waffle maker that lets you combine these two passions of mine into one.
The Building Brick Waffle Maker works just like any other waffle iron, except this one cranks out stackable blocks that you can build things with. It makes three different sizes of building bricks: 1×1, 1×2, and 1×4, and they have cutouts on their bottoms so they interlock just like LEGO.
You can make all kinds of edible sculptures with your waffle bricks, from small waffle houses, to giant waffle mansions. Your only constraint is your imagination – and your bowl of batter. Of course, I prefer to eat my waffles while they’re piping hot, so I don’t know if I’d get very far before I started to dig into my constructions.
The guys behind the project are making matching plates which serve as a base for stacking waffle bricks, and also have a couple of little side trays for dipping syrup or butter. While they’re not essential for building, they make a nice accessory.
You can pre-order the Building Brick Waffle Maker over on Kickstarter now. They’ve already met their funding goal, so that’s great news. Prices start at just $50 for the waffle iron itself, and start at $75 for a bundle with two baseplates for building. They hope to start shipping as soon as August 2020.
A few years back, we came across a pasta strainer inspired by the famed Flying Spaghetti Monster. Now you can turn any bowl of noodles into a pasta monster with this pair of serving utensils that look like a couple of googly alien eyeballs.
Made by Animi Causa, these Pasta Monster serving spoons actually will turn any food you serve into a monster, but they look best sitting in a big bowl of spaghetti or linguine. The pair includes one noodle-draining spoon, and one regular spoon, so I suppose you could use them individually to make some kind of serving cyclops.
They’re made of BPA-free, dishwasher safe plastic, and are guaranteed to give your guests a laugh when you put your serving bowl down on the dining table. You can grab the Pasta Monsters set over at Animi Causa for just $19.99.
Full disclosure: as much as people loved Tetris, I sucked at the game. Every time the blocks started falling from the sky, I’d survive for about two minutes before I got overwhelmed, and they hit the top and my game was over. Another quarter down the drain until my pockets were empty. At least with this Tetris lamp, I never have to worry about that.
This fun USB-powered lamp comes with 53 stackable Tetromino blocks for you to stack and arrange however you want. Just start humming the Tetris theme song to yourself, and you’re all set. The blocks won’t automatically disappear when you complete a row, but they will look cool sitting there on your desk or bookshelf.
Best of all you can stack the blocks any way you want. Challenge yourself, and if you can make them look like Mario or Pac-Man or a Space Invader. The Tetris lamp is available from I Want One of Those for $25.99.
Toymaker Super7’s ReAction line of action figures is designed to capture the feel and style of 1970s and 1980s action figures from brands like Kenner and Mego. So in other words, don’t expect them to be screen-accurate or well-articulated. That’s the charm. If you dig those kind of retro figures, and loved the original RoboCop, then you’ll want to check out these ReAction figs.
First up, there’s RoboCop himself. The 3.75″ tall figure is done up in a shiny silver paint, with five points of articulation and an oversized pistol that most certainly won’t store inside of his leg. You can also get battle-damaged and glow-in-the-dark versions of RoboCop if that’s what you’re into.
Next, we’ve got a figure of OCP’s famed ED-209 police robot, as he gives Mr. Kinney five seconds to comply. The 6″ tall bipedal robot has four, count-em, four points of articulation, and is guaranteed to fall down stairs. Kinney figure naturally has a bloody hole blown in his chest, arm, and leg.
Last, but certainly not least is the figure of Emil Antonowsky, the bad guy henchman who managed to get himself dipped into a vat of toxic waste. Naturally, this is what he looks like before he got splattered all over the windshield by his buddies. Fun fact: Did you know that Antonowsky was played by Paul McCrane, the same guy who played Dr. Romano on ER? You know, the guy who gets his arm chopped off by a helicopter? It must be in his contract that he gets mutilated in every role.
Electronic musicians are always looking for new ways to expand their arsenal of sounds. There are lots of different off-the-shelf synthesizers out there, but some of the coolest instruments are the homebrew designs out there. I recently stumbled onto this cool little touch-based synth, and it offers up some really nifty analog sounds.
Designed by Michael Rucci, the Touch Synthesizer has 15 contact points on its front. The monophonic noisemaker automatically plays the highest pitch of the keys being touched, and it’s both touch sensitive and sensitive to the resistance of its player’s fingertips. In addition, it has a couple of effects points at its ends – one for modulation, and one that makes a sort of scratch effect by altering frequencies. It’s also got control knobs for modulation speed, volume, and a low-pass filter. You can listen to some example sounds it can make in the video demo below:
The little synth runs off of a 9V battery, and has a mono 1/4″ output for connecting to an amplifier or mixing board. Best of all, it’s a bargain at just $45 over on Rucci’s handmade musical instruments Etsy shop.
Despite some early worries, Japan has so far managed to keep the COVID-19 outbreak relatively well contained in their country. It certainly could spike, but I’m hopeful that their efforts to reduce social interaction, and to quarantine people with the virus have paid off. To help reinforce their message, the country now has a quarantine mascot, and his name is Quaran.
FORTH, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare created the mascot to help remind people that they need to follow quarantine rules, and to promote awareness of their Quarantine Information Office. The adorable yellow egg with wings and a cat tail wears protective goggles and carries a triangular shield as symbols of his protective work. Naturally, he wears a “Q” on his head as a reminder of his name.
Quaran, a winged fairy with goggles and a Q on its head, is the quarantine mascot for airports in Japan. pic.twitter.com/vjhcBwBXTQ
The mascot was actually created before the novel coronavirus outbreak took the world by storm, but now Quaran is working overtime to get the message out to people as a reminder to avoid crowds and practice social distancing whenever possible.
You know what the ghosts from Pac-Man could use? Plants growing out of their heads, that’s what. Yeah, that makes them much more adorable, and less intimidating for sure. That’s why I love these Pac-Man ghost planters from Dips and Prints.
Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are all here, and ready to help provide a home for your indoor succulents. Of course, Pac-Man is here to try and gobble them up too, though I’m thinking the spiky plants might get stuck in his throat. Wait, does Pac-Man even have a throat? Who knows? Regardless, these guys would look great sitting on your bookshelf… or your maze if you have one.
These guys are 3D-printed from PLA bioplastic, and come in two different sizes 2.5″ tall and 4″ tall for the ghosts, and 2.75″ tall and 4.43″ tall for Pac-Man, respectively. The small ones sell for $14.99 each or $44.99 for the set, and the large ones are $19.99 each or $69.99 for the set. You can chase them down over on Etsy.
Whether you have the heat cranked up during cold weather, or live in the desert or mountains, extremely dry air can be quite hard on your system. The best thing you can do besides gulping down buckets of water is to get yourself a good humidifier. And if you’re going to have to put a humidifier on your shelf or tabletop, it might as well look like Godzilla.
The King of the Humidifiers offers up a delightful mist to help improve moisture, and does it with style. Turn Godzilla on, and his theme music plays. His mouth also lights up to create a heat ray effect, which I assumed to be a cold ray since it’s blue. The desktop Kaiju will also alert you when his water tank is empty by making footstep sounds. Check him out in action in the video below:
All this Godzilla humidifying goodness can be yours for about $78 over on Amazon. I was able to find the same thing over on Ehobby Taiwan for just $1,899 Taiwan dollars, or about 62 bucks, though you’ll have to learn to speak Chinese if you want to buy one there.
With the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 in the works, it’s an exciting time for the future of console gaming. We know that both consoles will tout impressive hardware, and backwards compatibility with today’s games, and now Microsoft is showing off the detailed specs and internals of its next-gen console.
For starters, the Xbox Series X will pack an impressive system-on-a-chip designed by AMD, which packs their Zen 2 and RDNA 2 technologies. The SoC offers up to 12 Teraflops of performance – or roughly 8 times more performance than the original Xbox One. The CPU has 8 cores running at 3.8GHz or 3.6Ghz with simultaneous multitasking enabled.
The GPU componentry has a whopping 52 computational units running at 1825 MHz sustained, and is capable of doing variable-rate shading, which means that it can prioritize shading of specific objects or characters in a scene, improving frame rates at higher resolutions. The chip also supports hardware-accelerated ray-tracing, which can accurately render lighting and reflections in scenes in real time. Microsoft is targeting games that can run at 4K and 60 fps with HDR, though the system has the potential to handle 8K content at lower frame rates, and up to 120 fps gaming in some situations.
There’s 16GB of GDDR6 RAM on the system board as well, with the memory divvied up as follows: 10GB @ 560GB/s bandwidth, and 6GB @ 336 GB/s. 2.5GB of the slower memory will be dedicated to the operating system, user interface, and performing background tasks.
Notably, the Series X will be much faster than current-gen consoles in terms of load times, thanks primarily to the use of SSD storage rather than a hard drive. The unit inside is a custom-developed Samsung NVMe SSD with 1TB of storage, and a peak sequential transfer rate of 2,400MB/s. If 1TB isn’t enough for you, the expansion slot on the back of the new Xbox will allow you to add another 1TB SSD module (and possibly higher capacity drives in future.)
The interior of the console is quite innovative as well, using a duo of motherboards which sandwich around a heat sink chassis, and cooled by a single, custom-designed fan to flow air through all of its components.
Microsoft went above and beyond the call by allowing a small number of journalists inside of their offices for a first-hand look at the console and the hardware inside. Tech vlogger Austin Evans posted a great, in-depth video which both demonstrates some of its capabilities, and really shows us all of the inner workings of the system. It’s well worth a watch if you’ve got the time:
It’s hard to tell from the video how good next-gen gaming titles might look, but one thing that’s for sure is that the quick-switching between titles is impressive. Imagine being able to pause one game and flip right into another game in just 3 to 5 seconds, then back in the same amount of time. This will be possible with the Series X.
The console also has a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive built in, so you’ll be able to play both your older game discs, and the highest quality video content currently available. As previously revealed, the console will be backwards-compatible with games from the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, which is quite the accomplishment. The new Xbox Series X controller makes minor refinements, including a better D-Pad and trigger grips, and lower lag times, but is largely evolutionary from the current Xbox One X controller.
While there are some concerns that the COVID-19 crisis could delay the release of the next-gen game systems, Microsoft is currently committed to delivering the first Xbox Series X consoles in November 2020.