The Moldable Mouse

With so many people spending so much time at the computer, carpal tunnel syndrome has taken off in the last few years. Designers and engineers are fighting back with ergonomically-designed keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. One of the best purchases I ever made is a mousepad with a wrist pillow; that red streak I thought was permanent is finally gone from my wrist! But everyone has a different hand, and a different way of using it. What if you could design your own mouse? Better yet, what if you could change that design whenever you wanted?mice1.jpg

That's what the Moldable Mouse from Lite-On Technology is all about. It is made of modeling clay, covered with fabric. Knead it into any shape you like! The only rigid part is the base, where the batteries and circuit board are. Wireless technology makes it all possible, as the click buttons and scroll pad are powered by RFID and can be stuck on anywhere. Once molded, the shape is self-retaining. That is, as long as you want it to be. If you decide your shape isn't perfect after all, or when your hand gets tired and you want a change, you can mold it again.

Modern components are so small that the bulk of a mouse is only neccessary in order to fit our human hands, so it makes sense that we should be able to manipulate that bulk to fit our hands the best way possible. I see a couple of possible drawbacks. The obvious one is that you'd spend too much time playing with it and not enough time doing your actual work. That's a common problem and not a design fault. But how would you clean it? Phones, doorknobs, and keyboards are notorious germ farms because people touch them so much. A computer mouse is the same way, but a hmice2.pngard plastic mouse can be wiped off and even disinfected occasionally. A fabric-covered mouse might be pretty grungy after a year or so of daily use.

The Moldable Mouse won a red dot award for design concept in 2007. It's not yet available at your local computer shop.

Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid Is Like a Keurig for Cocktails—and You Can Buy It Now
Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid

To make great-tasting cocktails at home, you could take a bartending class, or you could just buy a fancy gadget that does all the work for you. Imbibers interested in the hands-off approach should check out Bibo Barmaid, a cocktail maker that works like a Keurig machine for booze.

According to Supercall, all you need to turn the Bibo Barmaid system into your personal mixologist is a pouch of liquor and a pouch of cocktail flavoring. Bibo's liquor options include vodka, whiskey, rum, and agave spirit (think tequila), which can be paired with flavors like cucumber melon, rum punch, appletini, margarita, tangerine paloma, and mai tai.

After choosing your liquor and flavor packets, insert them into the machine, press the button, and watch as it dilutes the mixture and pours a perfect single portion of your favorite drink into your glass—no muddlers or bar spoons required.

Making cocktails at home usually means investing in a lot of equipment and ingredients, which isn't always worth it if you're preparing a drink for just yourself or you and a friend. With Bibo, whipping up a cocktail isn't much harder than pouring yourself a glass of wine.

Bibo Barmaid is now available on Amazon for $240, and cocktail mixes are available on Bibo's website starting at $35 for 18 pouches. The company is working on rolling out its liquor pouches in liquor stores and other alcohol retailers across the U.S.

[h/t Supercall]

New Health-Monitoring Litter Box Could Save You a Trip to the Vet

Unsure if your cat is sick or just acting aloof per usual? A “smart toilet” for your fur baby could help you decide whether a trip to the vet is really necessary.

Enter the Pet Care Monitor: More than a litter box, the receptacle is designed to analyze cat urine for health issues, The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo reports. Created by the Japan-based Sharp Corporation—better known for consumer electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and the world's first LCD calculator—the product will be available for purchase on the company’s website starting July 30 (although shipping limitations may apply).

Sensors embedded in the monitor can measure your cat’s weight and urine volume, as well as the frequency and duration of toilet trips. That information is then analyzed by an AI program that compares it to data gleaned from a joint study between Sharp Corp and Tottori University in Japan. If there are any red flags, a report will be sent directly to your smartphone via an application called Cocoro Pet. The monitor could be especially useful for keeping an eye on cats with a history of kidney and urinary tract problems.

If you have several cats, the company offers sensors to identify each pet, allowing separate data sets to be collected and analyzed. (Each smart litter box can record the data of up to three cats.)

The Pet Care Monitor costs about $225, and there’s an additional monthly fee of roughly $3 for the service. Sharp Corporation says it will continue developing health products for pets, and it has already created a leg sensor that can tell if a dog is nervous by measuring its heart and respiratory rates.

[h/t The Asahi Shimbun]


More from mental floss studios