Our editors have compiled a list of the “Top 10 Strangest (or Coolest) Tech Inventions” that we’ve covered in recent time. Many of these projects push the boundaries of technology and creativity to new levels — there’s no better way to showcase these inventions then with actual video demonstrations. Which ones are your favorites?
10. Handy – Hand Gesture Based Remote
Zhuan, Derrick, and Colin of Purdue University created “Handy”, a prototype “hand gesture based remote control”. The setup consists of a Handy box, an iPod Nano, and a BOSE Sound Dock.
9. LED Touch Sensor
JustDIY proves that LEDs can be used for more than lighting, but also as an input device.
This is a collection of the work I’ve done with using the bi-directional properties of LEDs. I have also included links to information I’ve found on the subject and the project by an NYU research that inspired me
8. Rubik’s Cube Music Maker
“Cubed” is basically a project that transforms a normal Rubik’s Cube into an interactive instrument.
Each face on the cube is a separate instrument, and the colors represent the notes on that instrument. The speeds of each instrument/face, as well as their volume are based on how you position the cube. Each face is played in a loop, just like any other basic electronic music sequencer, and by manipulating the cube you manipulate the sequencer
Put simply, the 96-inch Infernoptix Digital Pyrotechnic Matrix is one of the coolest visual displays we’ve seen. It uses custom software “to create scrolling text, simple animations, freehand sketching (via mouse), and an audio level meter” in a 12 x 7 array.
There’s even a percussion mode, which takes advantage of the concussive nature of each burst to allow scripting and playback of complex rhythms.
Inspired by the original Etch-A-Sketch toy, this creation builds upon that device by allowing users to draw with their own voice.
First the user creates a 2 dimensional image in real time with his or her voice, and after a few moments the computer converts this into a 3 dimensional drawing. Then when you wear anaglyph glasses (3d red and cyan glasses) users can see in real space the drawing that you have created
5. 3D Video Game
Combining interactive art and gaming, xBlocks delivers a unique experience to say the least. It’s currently on display at Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan, Italy.
“Using standard game controllers, two opposing players must help their characters navigate in and around a three dimensional maze. The real challenge comes, not from traditional game mechanics but rather from moving with your character as he sprints around corners and jumps between the installation’s two play surfaces”
4. Real-World Motion Tracking
“ACCESS” is basically an “art installation where a computer-controlled spotlight would track and follow unsuspecting persons in a public space”.
It performed rich statistical analysis of optical flow information to robustly track targets in a closed-world environment
3. Brain-to-Computer Pong
This strange invention shows two players enjoying a friendly game of Pong, using only their thoughts to control paddle movements.
2. Rubik’s Cube Solving Robot
University of Michigan students Doug Li, Jeff Loevell, and Mike Zajac created this strange yet fascinating “Rubik’s Cube Solver” robot for their final project — it does the job to say the least, and quite well (54 seconds).[Source]
1. Surveillance Light Fixtures
Designed by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, this setup consists of “144 robotic fluorescent light fixtures controlled by 7 computerized surveillance systems”. The light tubes continually rotate to create “patterns of light that are ‘paths’ or ‘corridors'” as persons walk underneath.
When two or more people are detected, the system rotates the fixtures so that “light corridors” are created between them. As many people walk in the court, the light reflect the influence of all of them creating complex patterns similar to isobars. Every few minutes, the system enters an “interlude mode” showing random orthogonal arrangements
Honorable Mention – Ethernet-Controlled LED Lamp
Alexandar Haubold has managed to create a multicolored touchpad/Ethernet-controlled LED lamp. It features two shades, each housing 252 LEDs — divided into clusters that “can be addressed individually at one of 23 different brightness levels”. The touchpad is separated into five different regions that control the intensity of each color. Overall, the LED lamp was quite a costly project — $3,857.46 to be exact. [Source]