Robot Scientist Amniote

Photo credit: Geek.com
Ever wonder how the earliest land animals moved? If so, you’ll be glad to know that scientists, led by evolutionary biologist John Nyakatura at Humboldt University in Berlin, have used a 290-million-year old fossil skeleton to create a moving robot model of prehistoric life. This four-legged plant-eater lived before the dinosaurs and believed to be called a “stem amniote”, or an early land-dwelling animal that later evolved into modern mammals. It fascinates scientists “because of its position on the tree of life,” said Nyakatura. The team partnered with robotics expert Kamilo Melo at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to develop a model of how the creature moved before building OroBOT. This robot is made of motors connected by 3D-printed plastic and steel parts and “helps us to test real-world dynamics, to account for gravity and friction,” said Melo. Read more for a compilation of interesting images gathered from around the web.

First Production 2020 Supra

Photo credit: Motor 1
The very first production 2020 Toyota GR Supra to roll off the assembly line, “Global #1,” was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale today for charity, and it fetched an incredible $2.1-million. All proceeds will go to support the American Heart Association(AHA) and the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). There will not be another 2020 Toyota GR Supra like this one, as “Global #1” is the only VIN that will end in 20201 – with “2020” representing the year the Supra was reintroduced to the world and “1” marking it as the first vehicle to roll off the production line. Its exterior is also factory-finished with sleek matte gray color, red mirror caps and matte black wheels. Inside, you’ll find a red interior and carbon-fiber inserts representing the first of the launch edition for the U.S. market. Read more for an in-depth video tour, additional pictures and information.

Fortnite Battle Royale Game 8-Bit
If Fortnite: Battle Royale existed back in the NES and SEGA Master System days, this is probably what it would have looked like on those systems. Animation specialists “Gamology” on YouTube have created a short clip that shows you dropping in from the Battle Bus, collecting resources, hiding in bushes, riding a rocket and even fighting a boss. Read more to see what the hype is all about.

The Weather Channel Ice Storm
Winter Storm Harper has already hit the Midwest and is fast approaching the East, which means The Weather Channel has created yet another amazing mixed-reality video showcasing just what may happen when it arrives. For this segment, they used meteorologist Jim Cantore and combined him with vivid, digital simulations to bring extreme weather events to life. “Just a tenth of an inch makes roads and sidewalks extremely slippery. A quarter of an inch can break branches, and once you’re over half an inch, serious problems ensue,” said Cantore. Read more for the video and additional information.

Samsung Qi Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Samsung’s (EP-NG930TBUGUS) Qi Certified Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand not only works with the company’s own smartphones, but compatible iPhones as well, and it’s being offered for just $23.99 shipped, today only, originally $69.99. You’ll still be able to use your device while its charging, and since it’s always accessible, answers calls without unplugging. Charge your Samsung Fast Charge compatible device with up to 9 watt wireless charging power, which is 1.8x more power output than a standard wireless charger. Product page. Read more for a video review and additional information.

Fortnite Ice Storm

Epic Games’ Fortnite Ice Storm event has kicked off, and it all began with a mysterious orb that recently appeared above Polar Peak. That orb has now opened, and the Ice King has emerged, blanketing the island with an Ice Storm, which has frozen it over. Strange zombie-like creatures called Ice Fiends have also appeared. This means new enemies and fresh challenges for players, with each offering 500 experience points for completion. If you complete six Ice Storm challenges, players receive a black and ice blue wrap. For those finish all 13 challenges, there’s a Winter’s Thorn Glider reward. Read more for a livestream of a professional gamer tackling this new event.

Chevrolet Silverado LEGO Trail Boss
To promote The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Chevrolet and LEGO decided to create a full-sized 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss using only the plastic bricks. This massive vehicle was built at a model shop in Connecticut by 18 LEGO Master Builders, and took over 2,000 hours to assemble all 334,544 pieces, which make up the body, lights, wheels and tires, complete with functional lights. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.

Lunar Eclipse 2019

Photo credit: Daily Mail
The first and only total lunar eclipse of 2019 is set to occur this weekend. It will be visible in North / South America as well as parts of western Europe and Africa. January’s full moon is also called a “wolf moon” in the folklore tradition because it happens at a time when hungry wolves howled outside villages. Since the moon will be at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit around our planet this weekend, it’s known as a “supermoon,” thus some are calling it a “super blood wolf moon.” Read more for the supermoon livestream (starts 5:00 pm PST) and a video showing how to photograph the lunar eclipse.

Mini Hoonitruck
Photo credit: Cory Klagunde via BrokenLeg2013
Auto enthusiasts have probably seen Ken Block’s Ford F-150-based Hoonitruck, now feast your eyes on the miniature version. It’s built upon a Honda N600 chassis – a small front-engine, front-wheel drive, two-passenger two-box automobile released in 1973 – and powered by a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 superbike engine that is mounted in the bed, mated to a six-speed sequential transmission functioning similar to a motorcycle gearbox. Read more for a video and additional information.

Verizon Robocall Blocking

Photo credit: NoMoRobo
Whether if you’re on a landline or purely wireless, Verizon will soon offer their third party rated number one spam and robocalling protection features to all customers for free – previously they charged $3/month for Call Filter service. “We are continuously updating our algorithm and to date have identified nearly 300 million numbers associated with spam and robocalling. In March, we will be rolling out our free spam alerting and call blocking tools to all of our wireless customers whose smartphones support these features, including iPhone and Android devices,” said the company in a press release. Read more for another video on stopping robocallers and additional information.