cool things

I’m still percolating this Washington Post article about telekinetic toys (free reg) and the possible future applications.

You slip the wireless headset on. It looks like something a telemarketer would wear, except the earpieces are actually sensors, and what looks like a microphone is a brain wave detector. You place its tip against your forehead, above your left eyebrow.

A few feet away is a ping-pong ball in a clear tube called the Force Trainer. The idea is to use your thoughts alone, as recognized by the wand on your forehead, to lift the ball. Your brain’s electrical activity is translated into a signal understood by a little computer that controls a fan that blows the ball up the tube. Levitates it. As if by magic. It’s mind over matter.

All you have to do is concentrate. On anything, it doesn’t matter. The harder you concentrate, the higher the ball goes.

First instinct is “I want one of these for Christmas!!!”
More thoughts to follow after I have some time to ponder the imponderables.

Baseball cards just got a whole lot cooler.

Just hold the special 3D Live card in front of a webcam and watch a three-dimensional avatar spring to life — rotate the card and the figure rotates in full perspective. The technology provided by Total Immersion also allows collectors to drop the player into simple pitching, batting and catching games using the computer keyboard. Series 1 cards will cost $2 for a 12-pack while a buck snags a fistful of five.

Be sure you click through to the website for video of this marvel. File this one in “how do they DO that?”

We all know approximately what happened when USAirways flight # 1549 had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson on January 16, 2009. Intellectually I knew what a hero that pilot was; flying above New York City with both engines out, he not only managed to avoid crash landing into one of the most densely populated areas of the United States, but he did it without causing any serious injuries among his passengers.

It’s one thing to know this intellectually; it’s quite another to see it. This is a very well-done simulation in a third party view of exactly what happened and how amazingly the pilot did his job.

Once or twice a year, a novelty headline emerges about a picture of Jesus or the Virgin Mary showing up on some devout person’s toast. The discoverer generally gets their 15 minutes of fame, some casino or crazy collector pays way too much money for said item on e-bay, and the story goes away. But one day soon you will be able to inscribe a complete message from Jesus, or Satan, or yourself on your daily bread.

If that’s too religious right for you, perhaps you’d be more entertained by drawing your favorite Dilbert cartoon on your toast, an inspirational quotation, or just a loving message to your significant other. The sky’s the limit with the…well…it’s just in the concept stage and I don’t think it actually has a name yet. But I’ll be paying attention to Brookstone’s website, as I’m positive this will contribute to the breakfast of the future!

His crime was looking up the truth. Now you too can see our solar system in much the same way Galileo did. You even have the option to get a Galileoscope already built or as a kit to share with your kiddos. If you haven’t been outside with them recently to look at the stars, please do. Astronomy is often a child’s first introduction to real science. I’ll never forget my husband sitting down with our son when he was about three, using a paper plate to explain non-Euclidian geometry with him. Did any of it stick? Nah… But it’s the conversation that counts.

There’s probably going to be lots more really cool stuff coming out this year having to do with astronomy, since it’s the International Year of Astronomy and all. Which is pretty darned nifty in and of itself.

Here’s something on the “cool things to buy” list. Unfortunately, the “product page” link there takes you to the manufacturer, who wants people to order in a minimum lot of 500. I did a bit more digging around and can’t find any regular distributors of this product, but here’s an ebay seller.

In case you, as I did, read that ebay ad and have a panic attack, how about a similiar (but not quite as cool) product available here?