Design Invasion

If there’s one thing that the world definitely needs more of, it’s video game-themed furniture. Visionary designer Igor Chak recognizes the dire need for real-life video game home accessories and designed this delightful Space Invaders couch.

The aliens from Space Invaders used to provide countless hours of excitement and frustration for gamers, but Igor Chak convinced them to retire just to provide some handy resting space for tuckered-out gamers.

The designer’s idea would be made of leather and memory foam with a glass surface on each arm, kind of like built-in coffee tables. Chak says that although the couch looks rather uncomfortable, it will be surprisingly soft and comfortable.

The Space Invaders sofa is unfortunately only a concept until Igor can find help producing it, but if it ever makes it onto the market it would undoubtedly find its way into every hardcore geek’s house.
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Philips Fluid

Phones are being used for so much more than just making calls these days: from texting to playing games to watching movies and listening to music. But for the most part, the mobile phone retains its traditional shape and functionality. Is it time to shake up the world of mobile phone design with a phone so radically different that it’s hardly recognizable as a phone? According to Brazilian designer Dinard da Mata, the next generation of mobile phone should be easily able to flow from one function to the next while remaining utterly gorgeous in the process.

Da Mata calls the design “Fluid” and gave it a (conceptual) Philips branding. The phone’s multi-tasking functionality isn’t all that’s fluid about it: its shape also allows it to morph from bracelet to phone to gaming system easily – and then back again over and over. Wearing the gadget on a wrist allows the user to stop worrying about whether his or her phone made it back into the purse or pocket where it belongs: the weight of the gadget on the wrist is enough to reassure its owner that it hasn’t been misplaced.

The secret to the Philips Fluid’s flexibility – both literal and figurative – lies in its flexible OLED display that spans nearly the entirety of the phone’s length. The display changes based on what you want it to do at the moment. When you want to make a call, a numeric keypad appears. When you want to play a game, gaming controls manifest. And when you need to search for the perfect application, your “home” screen displays all of your icons neatly.

The technology to make this particular phone isn’t available at the moment – at least not at a price that would make it reasonable as a consumer product. But it stands to reason that one day in the very near future, we will no longer have to worry about carrying multiple gadgets or even finding a pocket for our phones because everything we need will be in one compact gadget that fits neatly around the wrist.

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Genuine Victorian Artificial Arm

If you ever needed a good reason to be freaked out by technology, this would be it. It’s a Victorian-era artificial limb from Europe, and it looks like the kind of steampunk torture device you’d expect to see a crazy old man chasing terrified children around with. According to the London Science Museum, the wearer probably would have disguised the scary appendage with a glove to avoid scaring people…but we like to think the scariness just adds to its charm.

The arm was more advanced than one might expect of an artificial limb from that era. It was capable of articulating in several different ways, including at the elbow, wrist and fingers. The fingers could curl up, the wrist rotated to some degree, and the elbow operated on a spring. It’s not clear exactly how the user would have operated the arm and hand, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near as functional as today’s prostheses.

Despite its fundamental functionality, the purpose of the artificial limb was probably mostly to give the wearer a more “normal” appearance by filling out the left sleeve of his coat. And since most amputations in this arm’s era were performed due to battle injuries, the fake arm probably once made a veteran feel much more confident about his appearance.
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Steampunk Pocket Watch

We’ve seen plenty of new gadgets masquerading as old ones, but none of them have achieved the feat quite as gracefully as this one. Paul Pounds took a broken antique pocket watch, gutted it, and replaced the display with a custom face and LEDs in place of the second, minute and hour hands.

The result is a gorgeous timepiece that is functional and delightfully retrofuturistic. A cell phone motor vibrates each second to produce an audible “ticking” sound as the LED representing seconds moves around the face of the watch. The design juxtaposes the comforting, familiar sound of the ticking with the futuristic electronic look of LEDs.
The watch’s new features include an optical sensor that will dim the lights when the watch is opened in low light to avoid blinding the user. While this version is absolutely beautiful, Pounds is already making plans to remodel another old pocket watch into a 21st century version.
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ASUS Waveface Concept

Information overload is a very real problem for many modern humans. The problem is only increased by our mobile computing devices, smartphones and other gadgets that let us stay in touch and share information no matter where we are. ASUS thinks their Waveface system is the solution to the problem. The system gives you smarter updates, bringing you only the information that’s relevant to you at that moment through an intelligent network of devices.

When you’re on the go, you’d wear the stylish wristwatch-type smartphone seen above. Your personal network would realize that you’re mobile and would only push information to you that you need right then. But when you’re at home, the connected HDTV would give you the whole picture: your documents, communications, schedule and whatever else you need. There’s even a portable touchscreen tablet that would let you integrate the times you’re semi-mobile but not at home, like in the office or at a business lunch.

The above video, recorded at the ASUS event inside CES 2010, shows how the system works. The wearable component is the most interesting part: it’s built around a flexible OLED display, and the exterior is a touchscreen. The device can be operated by touch, or simply by gestures. The Waveface is firmly in concept territory at the moment, but we can definitely see something like this hitting the market soon and taking some of the info burden off of weary office workers.
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Electricity-Free Chargers

Most of the electricity-free chargers we’ve seen have come in the form of solar collectors, but two new YoGen chargers are using the power of people to keep gadget batteries topped up. The YoGen mobile device charger, seen above, charges cell phones, iPods, SatNavs, digital cameras and more of your gadgets with a simple pull of a string.

No matter how fast or how slowly you pull the string, you get the same amount of charge. And even better, it’s not just a drop in the bucket: one minute of pulling gives you about five minutes of talk time on your cell phone. Not bad for such a basic idea. The hilarious video above demonstrates how simple it is to use.But we’re even more excited about this laptop version of the YoGen charger shown off at CES 2010. Yes, you may look like kind of a weirdo pedaling furiously in the middle of Starbucks just to get a few more minutes of work out of your computer, but when you need a charge you need a charge.
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Do You Really Want To Live Forever

DARPA is something of a sci-fi nerd’s dream, being a government agency that dreams up and researches all sorts of futuristic-sounding projects for the military. Some of their projects leave us chuckling and some are kind of scary, but this project is among the weirdest. DARPA is pouring $6 million into a project called BioDesign, which is ultimately supposed to put all of our biology and technology together to make unkillable synthetic organisms. Not machines, mind you, but actual living, breathing creatures that will contain death-resistant cells and can potentially live forever.

But unlike similar crazy government schemes in movies, this one has a built-in kill switch programmed into its genetic code. If the creatures are stolen by an enemy, the genetic self-destruct feature would be activated, staving off any sort of uprising. However, DARPA also feels that they’ll be able to program the creatures to be unfailingly loyal, which (again, based on our thorough knowledge of such things gained from watching endless sci-fi movies) sounds like famous last words.

This research is all based on the belief that we can speed up and somehow manipulate evolution. But it may not be that simple – biologists are quick to point out that evolution is a complicated├â‚├é algorithm, not a random series of events. Attempting to circumvent the normal course of natural selection will be tricky at best – and dangerous at worst. What kind of ethical can of worms will DARPA open by creating organisms never before seen on Earth? We can’t tell you that, but when they bring one of these things to life we’re pretty sure we’ll be hiding out in an undisclosed fortified location.

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