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July 03, 2013

Short Circuits: Pillow Talk and X-Ray Vision


“We Can Totally See You, Carl”

You knew it had to happen eventually. Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory say they’ve developed a way to use a video of version of Wi-Fi to track people, in a kind of X-ray vision method. The new technology, dubbed “Wi-Vi” (for Wireless Video. Naturally.) “… could give all of us the ability to spot people in different rooms using low-cost Wi-Fi technology” the school said in a release. The full explanation is way beyond anything we can understand, but they were kind enough to give an example of how it might be used: “The device can detect gestures or movements by a person standing behind a wall, such as a wave of the arm … this would allow it to be used as a gesture-based interface for controlling lighting or appliances within the home, such as turning off the lights in another room with a wave of the arm.” Or, you just also just walk into that room and turn off the light. And yes, if you could see us with your Wi-Vi, you’d note that we are rolling our eyes.

This Is Your Brain on Games

Videogames are fun, but imagine how much more fun they’d be if they tickled your brain while you played. Yeah, we’re not enthused by that idea either, but some companies are now touting a headset that “…passes a current to the prefrontal cortex using a stimulation technique that is also used to treat depression” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The newspaper directs the curious reader to the website of Trans-Cranial.com, which explains the product so much better than we ever could: “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (or tDCS) is a non-invasive technique in which a device sends a small Direct Current (DC) across the scalp to modulate brain function. tDCS is considered to safely induce reversible changes in neuron excitation and can enhance brain function, modify behavior or interact with normal learning. More than 400 research studies indicate benefits in various applications, such as: treatment of depression, Alzheimer's disease, chronic neuropathic pain, migraine, Parkinsonism, stroke recovery, tinnitus and enhancement of cognitive skills.” Cool! Can we get that on a Rush Order?

You Light Up My … Night?

For long-distance daters, UK-based design shop Little Riot has come up with a unique way for lovers to keep in touch when they turn in at night. The company is pushing Pillow Talk, “An Internet-enabled pair of pillows that talk to each other anywhere in the world. When your long-distance paramour is sleeping, your pillow glows in response. When you put your head down on yours, it sends a signal over the Internet to light up the other as well. OK, all together now: “Awwwwwww….” Because what you really want when you close your eyes at night to sleep is a light right in your face! Seriously? Who thinks this is a good idea? Anyone? Beuller?




Edited by Rich Steeves


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