Stop motion 'Super Mario' level made using fridge magnets

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Twitter user @phi6 used fridge magnets to make this Super Mario stop motion animation with their 4-year-old son over the weekend. The result is pretty impressive for something thrown together over a weekend. It makes me wish I did fun projects like this with my own dad, but instead we just played a dumb game where I would wait in the living room while he went to the corner store to get cigarettes and then never come home ever again.

Keep going for the full video.

Source: Geekologie – Stop motion ‘Super Mario’ level made using fridge magnets

3D printing a functional life-sized LEGO go-kart

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YouTuber Matt Denton used a 3D printer to create this life-sized LEGO go-kart. It would’ve been more impressive if he had used actual LEGO pieces instead of 3D printing giant versions, but it’s still an incredibly fun project and the result looks great. Plus it actually works. Now we just have to wait until somebody takes the idea to the next level and 3D prints a life-sized functional LEGO Death Star.

Keep going for the full video.

Source: Geekologie – 3D printing a functional life-sized LEGO go-kart

Creating temperature illusions using smells in virtual reality

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Researchers from the University of Chicago’s Human Computer Integration Lab have developed a way of simulating temperature in VR by using smells.

We explore a temperature illusion that uses low-powered electronics and enables the miniaturization of simple warm and cool sensations. Our illusion relies on the properties of certain scents, such as the coolness of mint or hotness of peppers. These odors trigger not only the olfactory bulb, but also the nose’s trigeminal nerve, which has receptors that respond to both temperature and chemicals. To exploit this, we engineered a wearable device based on micropumps and an atomizer that emits up to three custom-made “thermal” scents directly to the user’s nose. Breathing in these scents causes the user to feel warmer or cooler. We demonstrate how our device renders warmth and cooling sensations in virtual experiences. Participants rated VR experiences with our trigeminal stimulants as significantly warmer or cooler than the baseline conditions. Lastly, we believe this offers an alternative to thermal feedback devices, which unfortunately rely on power-hungry heat-lamps or Peltier-elements.

So basically they blast pepper into your nose to make you feel hot and mint into your nose to make you feel cold. It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but I can’t imagine breathing in pepper for hours at a time can be good for you. “But what about that time you shoved sliced jalapenos into your nose on a dare?” That was to earn the respect of my peers, and it failed miserably when I ended up lying on the floor crying.

Keep going for a video of the VR device in action.

Source: Geekologie – Creating temperature illusions using smells in virtual reality

Lamborghini wrecked 20 minutes after purchase

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According to the West Yorkshire Police, a $250,000 Lamborghini was wrecked just 20 minutes after purchase. The driver had stopped in the outside lane due to a mechanical failure and was hit from behind by a van.

So technically the Lamborghini owner didn’t crash it the way we all hoped they had and it’s actually the van’s fault for hitting them. Although I guess you could make the argument it’s the Lamborghini’s fault for breaking down immediately after purchase. Personally, that’s the reason I don’t own a Lamborghini myself. It’s not that they cost more than my house, it’s the, uh, poor reliability. Yup.

Keep going for one more shot and the original Tweet from the police departrment.

Source: Geekologie – Lamborghini wrecked 20 minutes after purchase

Pokemon Grandpa's insane 64 phone 'Pokemon Go' rig

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When we last wrote about Pokemon Grandpa in 2019, his bike rig was a measly 30 phones. And before that in 2018 it was a pathetic 9 phones. Well now the Taiwanese fengshui master Chen San-yuan has upped his Pokemon Go rig to an insane 64 phones. I’m honestly not sure how many more phones he can physically add to his rig, but I’m pretty sure by this time next here he’ll qualify as his own telecommunications company. And at this point he must have already caught them all, right? He must have already caught anything that can be caught, Pokemon or not. And by that I mean radiation poisoning. With that many phones he’s definitely caught that.

Keep going for more shots of the impressively unsafe Pokemon Go rig.

Source: Geekologie – Pokemon Grandpa’s insane 64 phone ‘Pokemon Go’ rig

Stop-motion Thanos sculpture turned to dust

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Artist Steven Richter filmed this time-lapse of him sculpting a Thanos sculpture from scratch and then turning it into dust.

This sculpture didn’t last very long, 4 hours to sculpt and paint, 2 hours to animate it being destroyed.

This guy spent 4 hours making something I could never make and then destroyed it for 30 seconds of entertainment. And that is why I love the internet. If Leonardo DaVinci were alive today he’d film himself burning the Mona Lisa just to get some new TikTok followers.

Source: Geekologie – Stop-motion Thanos sculpture turned to dust

Russians replace rear wheels on car with metal legs

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The Russian auto engineers at Garage 54 decided to replace the rear wheels of an old Lada sedan with metal legs because, hey, why not? Eventually the axles broke, but it did work for a few glorious moments. One can only imagine how beautiful this would be if they could get it working at relatively high speeds. Forget hovercrafts and jet-packs, I want to live in a future where vehicles walk and crawl everywhere.

Keep going for the full video, and skip to 12:00 if you just want to see the walking car in action.

Source: Geekologie – Russians replace rear wheels on car with metal legs

Probably the worst hold music of all time

Twitter user @jkmb posted the above video of them calling their bank and being put on hold. Make sure your audio is on, because the hold music can only be described as a rendition of Britney Spears’ Toxic being played by demon insects and sung by people being tortured in hell. Look, I get it. Nobody likes talking on the phone, and if I wanted to get rid of my customers I’d be playing this too.

Source: Geekologie – Probably the worst hold music of all time

The SlothBot is a slow-moving energy-efficient observation robot

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Robotics engineers at Georgia Tech have built a SlothBot for use in the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which mimics the low-energy lifestyle of real sloths for extended continuous observation.

Powered by solar panels and using innovative power management technology, SlothBot moves along a cable strung between two large trees as it monitors temperature, weather, carbon dioxide levels, and other information in the Garden’s 30-acre midtown Atlanta forest.

“SlothBot embraces slowness as a design principle,” said Magnus Egerstedt, professor and Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “That’s not how robots are typically designed today, but being slow and hyper-energy efficient will allow SlothBot to linger in the environment to observe things we can only see by being present continuously for months, or even years.”

There’s really no reason for it to look like a sloth except that it’s adorable. It clearly wouldn’t fool any actual animals into thinking it’s a sloth and it serves no functional purpose. If we’re just trying to make it look like a lazy slow-moving slob, they should’ve made it look like Tim from accounting. Seriously, Tim, get your shit together.

Keep going for a video of SlothBot in action. Spoiler alert: it’s not very exciting.

Source: Geekologie – The SlothBot is a slow-moving energy-efficient observation robot

Sand drawing robot draws in sand

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YouTuber Ivan Miranda built a 30 pound robot using 50 miniature servos that writes messages in the sand.

I made a sand drawing robot with 50 miniature servos and a two half tanks, I use an Arduino Mega 2560 to read from an sd card a text file with the desired image and send the servo position data to another two Arduino Mega that then send the adequate signals to the servos. 5 DC to DC converters connected to a 6S LiPo battery provide enough power to support the stalling current of all the 50 servos at once. Two half tanks provide enough grip and torque to drag all the servos through the sand. The entire thing weighs around 14 Kg in working order (with the batteries on) so I had to build a tailor made trailer to cary the thing as there’s quite a walking distance to the test field.

This is the perfect invention for when you’re stranded on a desert island, which is why I recommend every single person always carry one with them at all times. Sure, it’s gigantic and weighs 30 pounds, but you’ll get the last laugh when your “Help” message is perfectly spaced and legible and your fellow strandees are using coconuts like a bunch of chumps.

Keep going for the full video of the robot in action, along with Miranda’s previous version, which was slower but had more contrast.

Source: Geekologie – Sand drawing robot draws in sand

Visualizing the life-cycles of berries

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Twitter user @AlfieDaye shared the life-cycle of a blackberry, sparking others to post their own versions of other berries. There’s something so satisfying about seeing nature laid out like this. Like seeing a larvae next to an insect or a stork next to a baby. Wait, what do you mean that’s not where babies come from? Why would my mommy lie to me?

Keep going for more.

Source: Geekologie – Visualizing the life-cycles of berries

Make your own bee bed, a bed inside a beehive

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If you’ve ever dreamed of sleeping in a beehive with live bees (and really, who hasn’t?), Horizontal Hive as free plans on their site for building your own bee bed:

Another great thing about horizontal hives: you can sleep in them. Do you still think that bees are for making honey? I thought so too until I built myself a bee bed. I call it Bed-and-Bees or B&B and it is a long horizontal hive where you are separated from the bees by thin planks and can bathe in their warmth and vibration and smells without any danger of being stung. It will change your life forever once you experience how relaxing and soothing and healing it is. It surely changed ours!

For the complete story about the effect sleeping-with-the-bees can have on your mind and body (and on the whole planet) see the article in the October 2015 issue of the American Bee Journal.

And here are the complete free plans for making your own bee bed!

So you’re not technically sleeping with live bees since there are some thin planks separating them, but no. I mean, just, no. What are we even talking about here? Clearly whoever is running Horizontal Hive has eaten too much honey and lost their mind. They act as if it’s perfectly normal to go, “Honey is tasty and all, but I bet what bees are really good at is snuggling.”

Keep going for one more shot of the bee bed.

Source: Geekologie – Make your own bee bed, a bed inside a beehive

Researchers discover resolution limit to "upsampling" of pixelated faces

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In news surprising only to CSI writers, AI researchers have discovered there is an inherent resolution limit to “upsampling” pixelated faces.

Duke University researchers have created an AI algorithm (“PULSE”) that pixelates an uploaded picture of a human face and then explores the range of possible (computer-generated) human faces that could produce that pixelated face.

For starters, Rudin said, “We kind of proved that you can’t do facial recognition from blurry images because there are so many possibilities. So zoom and enhance, beyond a certain threshold level, cannot possibly exist.”

“A lot of algorithms in the past have tried to recover the high-resolution image from the low-res/high-res pair,” Rudin said. But according to her, that’s probably the wrong approach. Most real-world applications of this upsampling problem would involve having access to only the low-res original image. That would be the starting point from which one would try to recreate the high-resolution equivalent of that low-res original.

“When we finally abandoned trying to come up with the ground truth, we then were able to take the low-res [picture] and try to construct many very good high-res images,” Rudin said.

So while PULSE looks beyond the failure point of facial recognition applications, she said, it may still find applications in fields that grapple with their own blurry images–among them, astronomy, medicine, microscopy, and satellite imagery.

So basically no matter how good our AI gets, we’ll never be able to achieve bad-TV-levels of zooming and enhancing. But how about hacking? Will AI ever let us get to a point where we can just randomly bash on a keyboard and achieve elite levels of hacking?

Keep going for some more samples, as well as examples of how problematic the AI can be depending on biased training data.

Source: Geekologie – Researchers discover resolution limit to “upsampling” of pixelated faces

Futurama predicts the first half of 2020

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This is an oddly prescient scene from Season 6 Episode 24 of Futurama, “Cold Warriors”, that addresses both issues of quarantine and police brutality. The Simpsons usually gets a lot of credit for “doing it first”, but this is spookily on the nose for 2020. Since they were so right about this, I can only assume this means we’ll be spending the second half of 2020 giving all glory to the Hypnotoad.

Keep going for the full video.

Source: Geekologie – Futurama predicts the first half of 2020

Another day, another botched art restoration

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Remember back in 2013 when a lady in Spain tried to restore a famous fresco and the resulting “Monkey Christ” was, uh, less than spectacular? Well apparently Spain didn’t learn their lesson and it’s happened again.

Conservation experts in Spain have called for a tightening of the laws covering restoration work after a copy of a famous painting by the baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo became the latest in a long line of artworks to suffer a damaging and disfiguring repair.

A private art collector in Valencia was reportedly charged €1,200 by a furniture restorer to have the picture of the Immaculate Conception cleaned. However, the job did not go as planned and the face of the Virgin Mary was left unrecognisable despite two attempts to restore it to its original state.

You know, it’s really not that bad. I mean the restorer was blind, right? It’s not so bad for a blind person. Wait, what? They weren’t blind? They had functional eyes and the gift of sight? But then I guess their hands must have been smashed with hammers. What’s that? Their hands were also fully functional? No missing fingers or anything? Look, next time just hire my niece. She’s only four, but she would charge less and still do a better job. And when she inevitable screws it up (but not as bad as this person) you could just say, “But she was only four” and everybody would go “Awww” and forget about the whole thing.

Keep going for a shot of the “Monkey Christ” which, if you don’t remember, is as hilarious as it is terrible.

Source: Geekologie – Another day, another botched art restoration

Strange meteorite-like object falls from sky in India

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A meteorite-like object fell in Rajasthan, causing an explosion heard 2 km away and leaving a one-foot deep crater. The 2.78 kg object was emitting heat when discovered, and once cooled was sent to a jeweler to be analyzed:

The officials concerned also got it tested in a private lab located at the jeweller’s shop in Sanchore who confirmed that the piece had metallic properties of Germanium, Platinium, Nickel and Iron (10.23 per cent of nickel, 85.86 per cent of iron, platinum 0.5 per cent, cobbit 0.78 per cent, geranium 0.02 per cent, antimony 0.01 per cent niobium 0.01 and other 3.02 per cent).

Looks like a space booger if ever I saw one. “What’s a space booger?” It’s a booger, but from space. Duh! I don’t know why I always have to explain myself to people.

Keep going for a couple more shots of the space booger.

Source: Geekologie – Strange meteorite-like object falls from sky in India

Algonuts is machine generated Peanuts

algonuts.jpgAlgonuts is the product of techno-artist shardcore, who trained a machine learning network on 18,000 of Charles Shulz Peanuts strips:

Charles Shulz, the creator and artist of the Peanuts comic strip, produced thousands of comics over 50 years. As a result, he is one of the few artists who have enough ‘content’ to train a styleGAN2 model. By extracting each frame from nearly 18,000 comic strips I was able to harvest 63,800 distinct images featuring Charlie, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the gang – plenty of food for the network to chew on.

Several hundred hours of computational time later, a network containing the ‘visual DNA’ of Peanuts emerged.

The results are interesting because you can clearly tell it’s Peanuts, but they also make absolutely no visual sense. It’s like when people look at my face. They can tell I’m super handsome, just none of my features really go together. Wait, when people turn away and scream it means you’re handsome, right?

Keep going for one more sample of nightmare Peanuts.

Source: Geekologie – Algonuts is machine generated Peanuts

Ants running off with a chicken nugget

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This is a video of a group of ants running off with a half-eaten chicken nugget. And I get it. I’ve ran off with my fair share of half-eaten chicken nuggets too. But did I get mine off the ground? Of course not. I’m not an animal. I prefer to source mine from the garbage like a gentleman.

Keep going for the full video of true teamwork in action.

Source: Geekologie – Ants running off with a chicken nugget

West Virginians petition to replace every Confederate statue with one of Mothman

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West Virginians have started a Change.org petition to replace every statue of a Confederate icon with one of Mothman. It sounds like a joke, but the Mothman was actually first sighted in West Virginia in 1966 and has an actual cultural history there. According to an interview with Brenna, the one started the petition:

“These monuments aren’t ‘celebrating history’; they were specifically created to intimidate Black Americans,” Brenna says. “Statues aren’t needed to ‘remember the past’ when so many are still experiencing the repercussions today. Therefore, all monuments honoring the racist and oppressive history of the Confederacy should be removed. And who better to replace them than the Mothman?”

It’s a pretty good idea, though I’d prefer if people supported my Change.org petition instead, which would replace the Confederate statues with statues of myself. Mothman is great and all, but did he once eat four Wendy’s Baconators by himself without throwing up? I’m the real hero here.

Source: Geekologie – West Virginians petition to replace every Confederate statue with one of Mothman

Polite Dachshund wipes paws before entering house

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This is Dixie, the most polite mini-daschund you ever did see. After seeing her human wipe their feet on the doormat she walked over and did the same. From the owner:

“Took our dogs out for an evening walk as always, the grass had a small amount of residual moisture on it after a previous downpour. Our dogs love to run around in the grass and got very wet as a result. Dixie, our little miniature dachshund, always wipes her paws when they are wet even after a bath.”

My dog does something similar, only instead of wiping her paws on the doormat she prefers to take a dump on my sofa and eat all my shoes. Twinsies, right?!

Keep going for the full adorable video.

Source: Geekologie – Polite Dachshund wipes paws before entering house