If you have a smartphone, odds are you’ve experienced those few seconds of horror after your precious (and pricey) gadget slips out of your hands. You flail and grab, arms akimbo, in a vain attempt to save your phone from certain destruction — or at least certain scratching. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
Not content to let his phone suffer, and apparently not a fan of cases, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had another idea: An autonomous airbag or propulsion system that can safeguard a phone.
Every month for the past 138 years, we've showcased inventions and concepts for mechanisms aimed at improving life. Sometimes this meant curing cancer, other times it meant having fun, and on rare (and scary) occasions, it meant building something because you could.
For every airplane, computer or chemical weapon appearing in our archives, there are a ton of other inventions that are, to put it bluntly, rather pointless. At best, they're well-intentioned but a little impractical. Let's take a look, shall we?
One of the best things about CES is the satellite exhibition hall at the Sands Hotel, which, incidentally, is also the venue for the Adult Expo—the porn trade show associated with the Adult Video Awards, an event that for unknown reasons historically takes place during the same week as the Consumer Electronics Show. Presumably because of its couple-mile distance from the rest of CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands exhibits tend to be a bit lower rent—no gleaming giant booths displaying 108" plasmas screens in here. Instead, it's home to tacky bling-related accessories for cell phones, mom-and-pop gadget shops hawking weird inventions, robotics start-up companies, and Chinese imports. So basically, it's nirvana. Oh—and did I mention the porn stars? The cultural convergence of the sex industry and extreme geekdom at the Sands is like peanut butter and jelly. Only a lot more fun to watch. So without further ado, here's the video you've been waiting for: Future Girl and Jonathan Coulton at the Sands. —Megan Miller
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.