Finally! MIT scientist helps you get all the ketchup out of the bottle

Nothing like a side-by-side demo, is there?

(Credit: Fast Company screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

I don’t know what you have in your shower, but I have those bottles of soap from Sephora.

You know the ones — they have different smells like raspberry sorbet, almond ice cream, and Keira Knightley.

I paraphrase, but not by all that much.

Anyway, it’s always hard to get the last bit of sorbet out of the bottle. You leave it upside down, hoping that the soap will all come out smoothly during the next shower. Then the plastic seems to crinkle a little too much. Then you squeeze and still there’s soap left over.

This has been going on ever since the days of glass bottles of ketchup and mayo. What this problem clearly needed was some large heads at MIT.

Thankfully, the egg-headers finally got onto it and created LiquiGlide. Initially, they focused on getting the ketchup out. Now Dave Smith, the clever man behind the idea, has left MIT and turned LiquiGlide into a company that will ease your frustrations more powerfully than Diazepam.

As Fast Company reports, he’s now perfected his lubricant to such a degree that he believes he can make it work for just about anything that gets put in a bottle, even glue.

[Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Pedal power helps fuel Times Square New Year’s ball

(Credit: Citi Bike)

When the 30,000 LED lights on the New Year’s Eve ball at Times Square light up Tuesday night, onlookers will have pedal power to thank — in part at least.

As CBS New York reports, six stationary Citi Bikes from the city’s bike-sharing program have been set up to supply electricity for the lights.

April Campo of Maryland was among those spinning away on one of them over the weekend.

“I’m loving this,” Campo said. “Isn’t this a great idea? This is so fun.”

The bikes pump out about 75 watts per hour, according to Citi spokesman Ed Skyler.

“If everybody does their job, that ball is going to light up, and it’s going to be something we’ll all remember,” Skyler said.

The energy generated from the bikes through Monday is being stored in large batteries, then transferred to the grid to offset the power demands of the ball.

Campo said it was a great way to be green and do one’s part for the massive celebration.

“I’m going to say, ‘Look there. Look at what I did,'” she said. “I’ll be telling all my friends about it.”

This story originally appeared on … [Read more]

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Ikea augmented-reality app helps prevent sofa shock

(Credit: Ikea)

When purchasing a giant Ikea shelving system, there’s always that concern it will turn your living room into a habitrail. Ikea’s 2014 Catalogue app offers a new augmented-reality function to help you ensure that what you’re buying is just the right size.

To use the free Android or iOS app, you just need to place a printed copy of the catalog booklet in the room you want to decorate. Using the camera on your phone or tablet, the app then captures an image of the room, using the catalog as a size guide, for the virtual furniture that you can place in the room.

Since the app uses the front cover of the catalog as a reference, it’s likely you can use a printed copy of the Ikea catalog cover instead of having to bring along an entire book. Here’s a link to the 2014 Catalogue. Check out the video below for more information.

(Source: Crave Asia via Dezeen) [Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Segway-like robot helps fight fires with 3D, thermal imaging

The robotic scout can assemble 3D maps of the interior of burning buildings.

(Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego)

In 2012, 83 firefighters died in the line of duty in the U.S. alone, and another 37 fatalities have been reported thus far in 2013. But, with better scouting tools, these numbers could be lowered.

Thank goodness for robots.

A new one out of the University of California, San Diego, may soon help first responders survey a fiery scene with its ability to enter a burning building and immediately transmit data on the state and location of the fire, the building’s structural integrity, and the presence of any volatile gases — all while on the lookout for survivors.

The robot, which for ease of reference I’ll call Little Segway, is small, self-righting, can climb stairs, and comes equipped with an infrared camera (to map thermal data) and a pair of stereo RGB cameras (to map visual images that can be converted into a 3D scene). The resulting virtual reality map with temp data can be used in real time by first responders as the bot navigates the building.

The engineers, who are presenting thei… [Read more]

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Ean Golden helps DJs level up

Ean and I at DJ TechTools headquarters in San Francisco. In my hands: a custom-made MIDI Fighter.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

I spent the better part of my twenties pursuing electronic-music rock stardom. Obviously, I failed.

I had some fun along the way, though, which is a rare achievement in a music genre that traditionally splits the duties of creating the music (studio-dwelling producers) and performing the music (fun-loving DJs).

Through trial and error, and many horrible shows, I had a profound realization. The secret to a great show as a DJ or electronic musician is to stop worrying about the audience having fun and focus on entertaining yourself. If an audience can see that you’re happy and engaged in something you love, they’re more inclined to have fun too.

This same philosophy can be found in the products made by San Francisco-based DJ TechTools. The company made its name by customizing existing DJ products with oversize arcade buttons, letting DJs wail on their gear in a far more expressive way than traditional controls allowed. Since then, the company has evolved its own line of DJ products, which continue to put fun at the forefront of the design.

DJ TechTools’ Ean Golden

I had a chance to talk with the founder of DJ TechTools, Ean Gold… [Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET