This German Pastor Bot Is Like an ATM for Religious Blessings


In addition to writing screenplays, diagnosing health conditions, and brewing beer, artificial intelligence can now save your soul. BlessU-2 offers digital blessings, as New Atlas reports.

Created by German robotics engineer and enthusiast Alexander Wiedekind-Klein, it’s basically an ATM pastor. It can talk, but you operate it using a touch screen. You can choose one of seven different languages, whether you want a male or female voice (the Evangelical Church in Germany ordains women), and one of two styles of blessings. Then, the clunky 'bot raises its arms and recites a blessing at you drawn from 40 different Bible verses. When it’s done, you can choose to print out a version of what it said.

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the beginning of the Reformation, the robot is handing out blessings at the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, in the German city of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther originally nailed his Theses to the doors of the Castle Church and sparked the Reformation. The installation is meant to provoke discussion about the role of automation in the modern world (including in church) and what exactly constitutes a blessing.

[h/t New Atlas]

Mickey Mouse Is Getting His Own Beats By Dre Headphones

Beats, Amazon
Beats, Amazon

Since debuting in a black-and-white cartoon in 1928, Mickey Mouse has grown into an icon recognized around the world. To celebrate the character's 90th birthday, Beats by Dre has designed him his very own pair of Solo3s, The Verge reports.

The special-edition, wireless headphones depict a pattern of classic Mickeys against a gray background. They come in a gray felt carrying case—a nod to the material used to make the Mickey Mouse ears sold at Disney parks. The purchase also includes an enamel pin and decal sticker commemorating the anniversary.

At $329.95, the Mickey headphones cost about $30 more than conventional Solo3 headphones, but it's not unusual for Beats to charge extra for limited-edition designs. In 2014, the company released Hello Kitty Solo2s for the character's 40th anniversary for $50 more than the headphones' standard selling price.

The Mickey Beats will be available starting November 11—a few days before the 90th anniversary of the premiere of Steamboat Willie. You can pre-order them on Amazon today.

[h/t The Verge]

This Smart Mug Alerts You When You've Had Too Much Caffeine


Since 2010, Ember has been giving perfectionists ultimate control over their morning coffee. Their travel mug lets you set the preferred temperature of your drink down to the degree when you're on the go, and their ceramic cup allows you to do the same in the office or at home. Now, in addition to telling you how hot your beverage is at all times, Ember lets you know how much caffeine you're consuming through Apple's Health app, CNET reports.

Ember's new feature takes advantage of the same Bluetooth technology that lets you control the temperature of you drink from your smartphone. Beginning October 17, you can connect your Ember vessel to your Apple device to keep track of what you're drinking. If you drink all your tea and coffee from an Ember mug, the Health app should be able to give you a rough estimate of your daily caffeine intake.

Ember wasn't originally designed to measure caffeine content, but its built-in sensors allow it do so. In order to maintain a constant temperature, the mug needs to know whether it's full or empty, and exactly how much liquid it's holding at any given time. The feature also gives you the option to preset your serving size within the app if you drink the same amount of coffee everyday. And if you like to drink specific beverages at their recommended temperatures, the mug can guess what type of drink it's holding based on how hot it is.

The new caffeine-calculating feature from Ember is especially useful for coffee addicts: If the mug senses you've exceeded your recommended caffeine intake for the day, it will alert you on your phone. Here are some energizing caffeine alternatives to keep that from happening.

[h/t CNET]