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BristleBots

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At the New York Toy Fair, Scholastic unveiled a new book and kit by Klutz entitled Invasion of the BristleBots, with the tagline "Part Robot! Part Toothbrush?" It has the components for a child to assemble two BristleBots, which are tiny robots made from a toothbrush, a watch battery, and a vibrating pager motor. What fun! See, I've encountered BristleBots before. In fact, YouTube has a raft of videos featuring homemade BristleBots. They skitter around like insects on amphetamines until you giggle yourself silly. It all started on December 19th, 2007 when Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories posted instructions for making this tiny robot they called a BristleBot. The accompanying video was well worth sitting through the technical aspects to see the little booger in action.

The BristleBot became an internet sensation, and the videos began to roll in.

Fourteen months later, reporters from several toy and gadget blogs noticed the BristleBots kit at the toy fair, and were delighted to see Windell Oskay's creation enshrined in a Scholastic offering. But neither Windell, nor evil mad partner Lenore Edman, nor Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories were mentioned anywhere in the book or kit. This discrepancy was noted by Make, DVICE, and Engadget among others. The folks at EMSL were justifiably hurt. Windell and Lenore are open source proponents who publish ideas and encourage others to try them and even improve upon them, but to see their idea for sale on Amazon with no attribution is a kick in the head.

Klutz released a statement on Scholastic's blog detailing how and when the BristleBots were developed. Bloggers weren't buying it. It's just too much to believe the exact same idea and the exact same name arose independently in the same year. A promotional video for the Klutz kit was even posted as a response to the original EMSL BristleBot instruction video. Within a few days, Lenore finally spoke with Pat Murphy, BristleBot developer at Klutz. In an updated response on Scholastic's site and at Klutz, Murphy admitted no wrongdoing, but said that the second printing of the book will include acknowledgment of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Whether this is enough to save Klutz's reputation in the blogosphere is another matter. Many EMSL fans and robotics geeks are vowing to buy only the second printing of the kits.

Invasion of the BristleBots is available to pre-order from Amazon for $19.95. Or you can make your own for the cost of the components.

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Spéciale
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Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
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Spéciale

Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

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Retro Games Limited
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fun
The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
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Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]

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