This Creepy Finger Plugs Into Your Phone and Drags the Device to You

Courtesy of Marc Teyssier
Courtesy of Marc Teyssier

A team of researchers has finally answered the question on everyone’s mind: "What if mobile devices had a robotic limb?" Well, the future is here, and a new invention spotted by Tech Radar lets you plug a faux finger into your phone.

Like something out of The Addams Family, the MobiLimb uses sensors and embedded electronics to scoot across a surface and bring you your phone. The finger-like "skin" is made from the same type of silicone that's used in Hollywood to make masks and realistic prosthetics. It's creepy, sure, but never again will you be forced to get off the couch to grab your phone when it's on the opposite end of the coffee table. So there's that.

The robotic digit is the invention of four researchers from France, including human-computer interaction researcher Marc Teyssier. Their findings—and hopefully a reasonable explanation for inventing this terrifying thing—will be presented this month at the 2018 User Interface Software and Technology Symposium in Berlin, Germany.

With the MobiLimb, your phone will no longer be boring, motionless, and passive. It taps on the table when you get a notification, and if you happen to receive a smiley face emoji while holding your phone, the robotic finger softly strokes your hand or inner wrist. Why? Well, we're not totally sure. According to researchers, the device "reacts expressively to users' actions to foster curiosity and engagement" and also "provides rich haptic feedback such as strokes, pats, and other tactile stimuli on the hand or the wrist to convey emotions during mediated multimodal communications." In other words, it's meant to make your phone more human. Yikes.

If the realistic rubber finger is too grotesque for you, you can opt instead for a robot-like one instead. Another version, clad in faux fur, is designed to resemble a wagging tail—because at this point, nothing is really surprising anymore. You can see the MobiLimb in action in the video below.

Of course, the MobiLimb has less disturbing applications, as well. It can be used as a joystick, or as a stand to prop up your phone while you watch cute cat videos. Sadly, it doesn't appear to be for sale at the moment, so all plans to freak out your friends with it will have to be put on hold.

[h/t Tech Radar]

A Ring Containing a Lock of Charlotte Brontë’s Hair Found Its Way to Antiques Roadshow

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A ring that “very likely” contains a lock of Charlotte Brontë’s hair appeared on a recent episode of the Antiques Roadshow that was filmed in northern Wales, according to The Guardian. The jewelry itself isn’t especially valuable; the TV show's appraiser, jewelry specialist Geoffrey Munn, said he would have priced it at £25, or about $32.

However, an inscription of the Jane Eyre author’s name as well as the year she died (1855) raises the value to an estimated £20,000 ($26,000). That isn’t too shabby, considering that the owner found the ring among her late father-in-law’s belongings in the attic.

A section of the ring comes unhinged to reveal a thin strand of hair inside—but did it really belong to one of the famous Brontë sisters? Munn seems to think so, explaining that it was not uncommon for hair to be incorporated into jewelry in the 19th century.

“There was a terror of not being able to remember the face and character of the person who had died,” he said. “Hair wreaths” and other pieces of "hair work" were popular ways of paying tribute to deceased loved ones in England and America from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

In this case, the hair inside the ring was finely braided. Munn went on to add, “It echoes a bracelet Charlotte wore of her two sisters’ hair … So it’s absolutely the focus of the mid- to late 19th century and also the focus of Charlotte Brontë.”

The Brontë Society & Brontë Parsonage Museum, which has locks of Brontë’s hair in its collection, said that it had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the ring.

[h/t The Guardian]

From Cocaine to Chloroform: 28 Old-Timey Medical Cures

YouTube
YouTube

Is your asthma acting up? Try eating only boiled carrots for a fortnight. Or smoke a cigarette. Have you got a toothache? Electrotherapy might help (and could also take care of that pesky impotence problem). When it comes to our understanding of medicine and illnesses, we’ve come a long way in the past few centuries. Still, it’s always fascinating to take a look back into the past and remember a time when cocaine was a common way to treat everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids.

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is highlighting all sorts of bizarre, old-timey medical cures. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

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