Attack Drones, a Smelly Smartphone App and a Smart Paper Airplane-Jet
Here, we've rounded up 10 examples of technology that are pushing the envelope and make us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?"
Watch Out: Attack Drones!
Yes, drones. That attack. It's for real.
The same hacker who was apparently responsible for knocking MySpace offline for a period in 2005 has created something he calls the SkyJack. It's an aerial drone that seeks out other drones, hacks them and then essentially takes control over them.
Translation: Amazon's delivery drones better have some serious security measures built in before they take to the skies.
A Cross-Country, 3-D Printed Electric Car
It might look like a reject from a decades-old Sci-Fi movie but, yes, this is a real car. A hybrid, three-wheeled car, actually.
Called the Urbee 2, more than 50 percent of the car is 3-D printed. It weighs about 1,200 pounds and comes with a single-cylinder 7-hp engine that uses either diesel or ethanol and networked batteries to drive two electric motors.
Its creators are planning to drive the Urbee 2 across the U.S., from New York to San Francisco. But not too quickly. The car only has a max speed of about 70 mph.
Google's Lie-Detecting Throat Tattoo
Google is at it again. The tech giant is said to be developing a lie-detecting microphone throat tattoo.
Even if I could via typing ... no, I didn't stutter.
Google filed a patent application called "Coupling an Electronic Skin Tattoo to a Mobile Device." The idea is that by affixing a microphone directly to the throat, you might be able to eliminate the problem of background noise.
Ah, but that's not all. The patent application also notes that the device could be used as a way to detect whether the wearer is telling the truth or a lie. Kinda creepy, right?
Say Hello to IBM's Watson 'Brain'
Remember Watson? It's the IBM-built supercomputer that famously won on the game-show Jeopardy! in 2011. Now, IBM is making the software technology behind it available to anyone via the IBM Watson Developers Cloud. IBM hopes companies large and small will build apps and develop programs on top of the Watson software.
A Fashionable, Inflatable Bike Helmet Collar Thingy
One way technology can benefit society is by helping reinvent things people find cumbersome or undesirable. Enter the H?vding. Improving on the traditional bike helmet, it's a collar that inflates into a helmet when the wearer gets into an accident.
Cue all fashion-forward bicycle riders: This might be perfect for you.
A Badass Wheelchair Tank
You've never seen a wheelchair like this. Called "der Ziesel," this contraption combines elements of a wheelchair with an all-terrain type vehicle. It has tank-like treads, a roll bar and can hit a top speed of 22 mph.
Message Alerts You Can Smell
What's that smell? Is it coffee brewing? No, it's your smartphone.
A Japanese company has created a device that plugs into your phone's headphone jack and releases a pleasing aroma into the air whenever you get an email or someone comments on your Facebook page.
Customized ringtones? Pssssh. That's, like, so yesterday.
Microsoft's Stress-Monitoring Bra
Perhaps it's a stereotype that women overeat when they're stressed out. Or maybe there's some science behind it. Either way, Microsoft is getting involved.
Researchers at the tech giant have developed a bra that can help regulate stress eating. By monitoring the wearer's vital signs and moods, the idea is the bra can make the woman wearing it more aware of when she's anxious and most likely to eat an entire pint of ice cream, for example.
Kinda far out.
Solar Cleaning Tech
For parts of the world where electricity and other infrastructure are hard to come by, researchers at Houston-based Rice University have developed -- get this -- a solar-powered steam system that can sterilize some of the dirtiest places. In other words, it uses a complicated system of pressurized nanoparticles and heat that can kill microbes, spores and viruses.
A Smartphone-Powered Paper Airplane Jet
Who wants to fly a paper airplane when you can fly a jet? Thanks to PowerUp 3.0 you can do both.
First, attach the module plus propeller to your paper airplane. Then fire up the accompanying smartphone app the lets you control its flight. It allows you to move not only forward but also up and down and side to side.
So. So. Very. Cool.