Currently on display at the Nina Mall in Hong Kong, China, what you’re about to witness is the construction of the Guinness World Record holder for the largest Rubik’s Cube, measuring a very respectable 2.503 m x 2.505 m x 2.502 m – or about 27 square feet. So it’s not exactly square, but it’s very close. Or the measurements weren’t accurate. They used a tape measure, not laser beams.
I liked it better before they put all the colored stickers on the blocks. It looked way more…solvable. Now not only am I going to feel stupid for not being able to solve the cube, but I’m going to feel small too. Talk about adding insult to injury.
I remember the first time I ever solved a Rubik’s Cube. It was four years in the future from now, and I really felt accomplished. I mean more about building the functional time machine than solving the Rubik’s Cube, but still. It’s the little things.
The great outdoors: it comes with a lot of bugs. And what if you don’t like those bugs? Enter the WalkingPod Mesh personal anti-insect tent, a wearable fine-gauge mesh tent that prevents pesky bugs from getting too close. Plus it makes you look cool while you’re mowing the lawn or picnicking with your significant other.
Available from Under The Weather, the limited edition (act now!) $90 pod stays in place via backpack-style shoulder straps and an adjustable belt. It also has an elastic waistband to prevent bugs from entering from underneath, and two elastic holes to stick your arms through, making your exposed forearms an all-you-can-eat buffet for mosquitos.
So, did you already buy one? I bet you didn’t, because I already bought them all out of stock. Now I’m reselling them on eBay for twice the price like PS5s, although they’re not exactly selling like the hotcakes I expected them to be. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually had to take a loss on most of them. Also, there’s a 100% chance I forget I’m wearing my WalkingPod and smash a hotdog into the mesh.
Sandwiches: what would I do without them? Probably starve, or at least go hungry for lunch. Well, now mechanical engineer Yuto Kuroki of Meiji University in Tokyo has made the entire sandwich-making process easier, thanks to a 3D printer that’s been modded into a 3-axis robotic manipulator. Extra cheese, please!
The robot is capable of picking up and placing a piece of bread, picking up and adding meat, slicing and dispersing cucumber, then adding a top piece of bread and cutting the whole sandwich in half. Unfortunately not diagonally, making the sandwich almost inedible as far as I’m concerned.
I particularly liked how the robot regularly detaches and attaches a different functional head to its arm depending on its current task (e.g. picking something up, cutting, etc.). That’s a clever design. Now it just needs mustard and mayonnaise squirting capabilities and I won’t have to beg my mom to make my lunch for me every morning, although I will miss the encouraging handwritten notes.
Because it was inevitable we reach the pinnacle of human achievement at some point, researcher Marc Teyssier has developed the Eyecam, a webcam that resembles a moving, blinking human eyeball. One thing’s for certain: it’s going to be nearly impossible to look away from the camera during Zoom meetings now.
Developed at Saarland University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab, the Eyecam was designed to make us “speculate on the past, present, and future of technology.” And, I think I speak for everyone when I say if this is the future of technology, maybe 2020 wasn’t as bad as we’re all making it out to be.
The Eyecam uses six servos to replicate the human eye muscles, and the autonomous eye can move both laterally and vertically, with the eyelids closing (and webcam briefly going dark as a result) and eyebrow moving. Per Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Truer words have never been spoken, particularly in the case of human eyeball webcams.
Remember making pillow forts as a kid? Those were the days, weren’t they? The only thing missing? Magnus, the magnetic play couch. It can be assembled as a children’s sofa or disassembled and built into various fort configurations using its integrated magnet system. Don’t worry. I already emailed demanding an adult-size version.
Each cushion has dozens of magnets inside for connecting to other pieces, and the covers are all removable and machine washable in case somebody pees on them. Ahem, Ellie! Ellie’s my dog, just so we’re clear. Currently a Kickstarter project, the 14-piece Magnus set costs $199 but will increase to $320 after all the early-bird rewards have been fulfilled.
Looks fun, doesn’t it? I just wish there were even more pieces for more building possibilities. Because if we’re being honest, I still make the occasional pillow and blanket fort as an adult, and I don’t even have kids. I do have a bunch of people at IKEA pointing and staring at me, though.
Stressed out? I think we all are these days. You need an outlet for that stress, or it will eat you up like the shark in Jaws. Enter these anti-stress Push Pop Pads, a stress-reliever and fidget toy for people like me who recognize they’re entirely too uncoordinated to operate a fidget spinner.
Available as $16 two-packs in a variety of shapes and colors, the silicone pads are lined with bubble wrap like dots that can be pushed, making an “audibly satisfying click” as they are, melting your stress away like a scoop of ice cream on a sidewalk in August (alternatively, there are these electronic bubble wrap poppers).
Did you know that according to a very questionable survey paid for by the makers of Bubble Wrap® that popping their product for 60 seconds can provide the stress relief equivalent of a 33-minute massage? Because I call shenanigans on that, especially considering I just popped bubble wrap for five whole minutes and still have a back full of knots and have to do my taxes.
Because nothing says I’m eating like an astronaut like freeze-dried foods, this is the collection of freeze-dried candies available from Etsy shop Stellar Rabbit Foods. Available in Rainbow Puffs (Skittles), Worm Puffs (gummy worms), Mega Blasts (Starburst) and Tart Puffs (SweetTARTS) varieties, each 1-ounce bag costs $8 and is sure to put a smile on your face, and a cavity in that smile.
Just what does the freeze-drying process do to candy? Well according to the company, it “transforms once chewy candies into an airy, light, crunchy and melt in your mouth texture. The process of freeze-drying our candy intensifies the flavors making them even better than before! Take a moment and savor flavor before crunching down into them!” Yum! I think it goes without saying I just ordered a bag of each.
I remember when I was a kid I would eat a bar of chalky, freeze-dried ice cream and daydream about traveling among the stars. Now I’m afraid to travel higher than the third floor of any building and cry on Ferris wheels. Long story short, I’m not an astronaut.
The brainchild of maker Greg Daville, this is an LED icosahedron crafted using a total of 2,400 LEDs, all placed individually by hand. Wow! I’m not sure if I would have had the patience for that, but I definitely don’t have the know-how to build an LED D20.
The panels of the oversized die can be programmed with different animations, and Greg mentions that in the future he may add wireless capabilities to sync the D20’s patterns and animations with other devices in the room. I smell an LED dance party soon!
So you’re not actually supposed to roll it, but I imagine you could use a random number generator to simulate a roll. That would be cool. Me? I don’t even have a D20, so whenever we play tabletop games at my house we have to roll three regular six-sided dice and flip a coin (heads is one, tails is two) to add up to 20. I think it goes without saying people don’t like playing games at my house.
Check out Greg’s blog for an in-depth read about the build, and if you’re interested in making on yourself Greg has made all the files available on Github here.
Tacos: you need something to hold them upright so none of those delicious ingredients spill out. Enter the $15 TacoCat taco holder (affiliate link), an upside-down cat that prevents your taco from falling apart while at rest. All that delicious meat, cheese, guacamole, sour cream… great, now I’m starving. How early is too early for tacos? That was rhetorical of course.
The taco holder includes a silicone taco rest which is removable from TacoCat’s body. Impressively (and I feel rare these days), both pieces are dishwasher safe so after you’re all taco and margarita’d out on Taco Tuesday, you can just toss them in the dishwasher instead of relying on TacoCat to lick himself clean. It can also be used as a napkin, remote control, or sink sponge holder! The possibilities are practically limitless (but actually limited to TacoCat’s 9″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ dimensions).
Did you know TacoCat spelled backward is TaCocat? My wife just brought that to my attention when she saw what I was writing about, and I haven’t felt the same since. Smarter? No… more like this information just replaced the words to the Gilligan’s Island theme song in my head, which stinks because I like singing it in the bath.
Fingers: after a long day of typing they just want to let loose. And what better way to let your digits go wild for a bit than with some rhythm-based finger dancing with this $43 Finger Dance Machine available from Firebox? Oh, no, my fingers are telling me they’d actually prefer a hot bath and manicure instead.
The Finger Dance Machine requires 4 AA batteries (not included) and uses your smartphone as its video screen. You just download the free Mini Finger Dance app, connect your phone to the machine via Bluetooth, and it’s time to put those fingers to a dancing test with “heaps of tunes – all with varying speed and complexity.” Needless to say, I will be playing nothing but the low-speed, low-complexity tunes and still failing to set any high scores.
But will playing it give me carpal tunnel? Or will it relieve carpal tunnel? What exactly is carpal tunnel, and did I really think it was spelled carpool tunnel until I just looked it up? Would I really admit it if I did? Yes and yes.