Category:
Technology

The Sony SmartWig

Sony was granted a patent for its "SmartWig" in 2016, but, to date, it doesn't seem to have brought the device to market.

The idea was that a person could pair their smartphone with the wig and then receive "tactile feedback" (such as a vibration) when they received a text or email.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The SmartWig had many more potential uses, such as the following:

During a presentation the user may, for example, move forward or backward through presentation slides by simply pushing the sideburns, i.e. by pushing the one or more buttons. Thus, the user can control the presentation slides simply by natural behavior like touching side burns. Additionally, the wearable computing device may comprise a laser pointer that is arranged in or on the wig. The laser pointer may, for example, be arranged on a forehead part of the wig, so that the user may point out relevant information on the projected slide in the above-explained presentation mode.

I imagine it would be a lot more difficult to aim a laser pointer with your head rather than your hand. Not to mention it would look bizarre.



#40 represents the possible location of a laser pointer

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 24, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, Patents, Hair and Hairstyling

The Avrocar Military Flying Saucer

If only this project had succeeded, we'd all have Jetson-style flying saucers today!

Here is the Wikipedia page.

But I do think the version patented by one C. P. Lent right around the same time has a classier shape.





Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 25, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Flight, Military, Technology, Patents, 1950s

Mushroom-Based Air Conditioning

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have invented (and patented) a mushroom-powered air cooling system that can reduce the temperature in a semiclosed compartment by approximately 10 °C in 25 minutes. They call it the "MycoCooler." From their recent article in PNAS:

We constructed a mushroom-based air-cooling device, MycoCooler™, based on previous observations that mushrooms can cool the surrounding air via evaporative cooling. The device was made from a Styrofoam box with a 1-cm–diameter inlet aperture and a 2-cm–diameter outlet aperture. An exhaust fan was attached outside the outlet aperture to drive airflow in and out of the box. The MycoCooler™ was loaded with ~420 g of substrate-detached A. bisporus mushrooms, closed, and placed inside a larger Styrofoam box previously equilibrated inside a warm room (37.8 °C, <10% RH). The temperature inside the closed Styrofoam box decreased from 37.8 °C to 27.8 °C, 40 min after the addition of mushrooms, cooling at approximately 10 °C, at ~0.4 °C per min.

It's an interesting concept, but somehow I don't think a MycoCooler would be powerful enough to beat the heat here in Arizona. (Though in the days before AC, everyone here used evaporative coolers. But they also say that it's much hotter here than it used to be... a combination of global warming and the urban heat-island effect.)

More info: Johns Hopkins, Patent No. 11871707

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 23, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Patents

Sheaffer Pen accurately predicted the future

In 1963 and 1964, Sheaffer Pen ran an ad campaign in which they made a variety of predictions about future technologies of the 21st century. The company contrasted these technologies, which must have seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky at the time, with the timeless performance of a Sheaffer pen. The surprising thing is that all their predictions have come true: instant mail delivery, checkbooks that balance themselves electronically, portable visual phones, ring tape recorders, camera sunglasses, credit card rings, electronic translators.

They don't all exist in the specific form that Sheaffer imagined (credit card rings?), but in each case the equivalent or better exists.









Newsweek - Sep 23, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 21, 2024 - Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Advertising, 1960s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Mystery Gadget 108

This is not an iron lung machine. So then, what's going on?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 18, 2024 - Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Twentieth Century

Pocket Typewriter

In 1952, Maurice Julliard patented a typewriter small enough to fit inside "an average size pocket." It could be used "without any support, being simply held in the hand."

His patent included a sketch of the typewriter, but I haven't been able to find any pictures of it. I'm not sure what practical use it was supposed to have, beyond being a novelty. His patent doesn't say. Would one use it to type miniature notes or manuscripts?

I noticed that it had a non-qwerty keyboard.

The Hackensack Record - July 24, 1952





Julliard's pocket typewriter wasn't the first one in existence. The book Victorian Inventions by Leonard de Vries contains an example from 1891. Though unlike Julliard's typewriter, it lacked a keyboard.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 07, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Patents, 1950s

301 views

The video below is interesting as a peek into the way that YouTube works, but it's also interesting as a YouTube curiosity because its view counter is permanently stuck at 301, and has been for 11 years now, even though its actual view count is probably well over 1 million. Someone at YouTube had to deliberately freeze its view counter. As far as I know, it's the only video on YouTube that's received special treatment in this way.


Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 08, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, Internet, Video

The First Woman to Marry a Hologram

Back in 2018 we posted about Akihiko Kondo, a Japanese man who married a hologram. His holographic wife floated inside a desktop device.

Now Spanish artist Alicia Framis has announced she'll also be marrying a hologram. Her holographic partner is a life-size, three-dimensional projection powered by AI. His name is AILex.



Whereas Akihiko Kondo married a hologram because, by his own admission, he had trouble forming relationships with flesh-and-blood women, Framis is marrying a hologram as a piece of performance art which she's titled "The First Woman to Marry a Hologram."

She previously lived with a mannequin named Pierre.

More info: ElPais.com, AliciaFramis.com

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 07, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Technology, AI, Robots and Other Automatons, Performance Art, Marriage

Dial Comes to Town

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Family, PSA’s, Technology, Telephones, 1940s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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