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Amazon's Best Monday Deals

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amazon / istock

As a recurring feature, our team combs the Web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, April 17.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

GADGETS, TOYS, AND MEDIA

Garmin Nuvi 57LM GPS Navigator System with Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions, Lifetime Map Updates, Direct Access, and Speed Limit Displays for $79.99 (list price $149.99)

SoundPEATS Wireless Earbuds, True Wireless Stereo Bluetooth 4.2 Headphones Cordless Earphones Sweatproof In-Ear Headset with Mic, Secure Fit for Sports for $39.99 (list price $59.99)

Anker PowerCore 10400 Portable Charger with PowerIQ for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy and More (Black) for $19.99 (list price $49.99)

Doberman Security SE-0152 Ultra-Thin Door and Window Alarm with Chime (Silver) for $9.51 (list price $14.99)

Bluetooth Headphones, Comsoon [Magnetic USB Charge] Ultra Mini Car Headset Wireless Invisible In-ear Earbuds Earpiece Sports with Mic Supports Hands-free Calling-1 PCS Only (black) for $18.99 (list price $31.99)

Anker PowerLine+ Lightning Cable (3ft) Durable and Fast Charging Cable [Double Braided Nylon] for iPhone, iPad and More(Red) for $11.89 (list price $39.99)

Seneo PA046 Fast Wireless Charger 10W QI Wireless Charging Stand(Sleep-Friendly) - No AC Adapter for $18.95 (list price $39.99)

Bluetooth Speakers, TaoTronics Stereo 20W Wireless Portable Speaker (Dual 10W Drivers, Dual Passive Subwoofers, Strong Bass, Aluminum-Alloy, Bluetooth 4.0, Built-in Microphone) for $33.99 (list price $59.99)

Aglaia Desk Lamp Clip On, 4W Eye Care LED Reading Light with 3 Dimming Levels, Touch Control and Flexible Neck for Office, Bedside, Study, and so on (Black) for $17.84 (list price $26.99)

Soft Digits Accessories Kit for GoPro Hero 5 4 3+ 3 2 1 Session Accessory Bundle Set for Action Camera SJ4000 SJ5000 SJ6000 Xiaomi Yi-Flotation Handle+Head Strap+Chest Strap for $19.99 (list price $59.99)

Mpow CD Slot Car Mount, Universal Cell Phone Holder with Three Side Grips for Smartphones for $9.89 (list price $13.99)

Oria Combination Lock, 4 Digit Combination Padlock for School, Employee, Gym & Sports Locker, Case, Toolbox, Fence, Hasp Cabinet & Storage - Silver and 2 Pack for $12.99 (list price $34.99)

Anker Quick Charge 3.0 51.5W 5-Port USB Wall Charger, PowerPort Speed 5 for $24.99 (list price $84.99)

Watch Ya' Mouth Adult Phrase Card Game Expansion Pack #1 for $9.99 (list price $12.99)

KITCHEN

Cuisinart ICE-70 Electronic Ice Cream Maker, Brushed Chrome for $126.94 (list price $250.00)

Rubbermaid FreshWorks 6.3 Cup Medium Produce Saver Food Storage Container, Green for $9.76 (list price $10.92)

Aroma Housewares ASP-137 3-Quart/10-inch 3-in-1 Super Pot with Grill Plate, White/Black for $24.90 (list price $29.90)

Zoku Classic Pop Molds for $15.99 (list price $19.99)

Bellemain 4-Cup Fat Separator / Measuring Cup with Strainer & Fat Stopper / 1 Liter Capacity for $13.95 (list price $21.95)

Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Drain Board Large, White for $13.88 (list price $17.06)

4 Permanent Coffee Filters for Keurig Home Single Cup Brewing Systems for $7.99 (list price $10.95)

Imarku 7-Inch Stainless-Steel Chopper-Cleaver-Butcher Knife for Home Kitchen or Restaurant for $37.99 (list price $299.99)

Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Travel Mug with Handle, Midnight Blue for $15.37 (list price $27.99)

BlenderBottle ProStak System with 22-Ounce Bottle and Twist n' Lock Storage, All Black for $10.01 (list price $13.99)

Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife for $24.98 (list price $27.62)

Palada All in One Set of 7, 430 Stainless Steel Engraved Measuring Spoons with Stainless Ring Holder and 10000 Recipes EBook for $13.95 (list price $16.95)

Secura The Original Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle 1.8 Quart for $27.99 (list price $59.99)

Gourmia GSI180 Automatic Healthy Frozen Dessert Maker, Makes Sorbet, Soft-Serve Sherbet & Frozen Fruit Treats, Includes Free Recipe Book for $39.99 (list price $99.99)

Everest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One Size for $11.47 (list price $18.95)

Cuisinart DCC-3200 14-Cup Glass Carafe with Stainless Steel Handle Programmable Coffeemaker, Silver for $80.99 (list price $87.86)

BambooWorx- Sushi Making Kit - 2 sushi rolling mats, 1 rice paddle, 1 rice spreader, sushi rolling kit, 100% bamboo sushi mats and utensils for $9.99 (list price $16.85)

LINKYO French Coffee Press - Stainless Steel Coffee Maker 34oz, 1L for $21.79 (list price $59.99)

Wilton Disposable 16-Inch Decorating Bags, 12 Pack for $4.89 (list price $6.95)

Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set for $38.78 (list price $44.99)

Rubbermaid 17.3 Cup FreshWorks Produce Saver Food Storage Container, Large, Green for $10.22 (list price $16.99)

Estilo Stainless Steel Lazy Susan - 2 Tier Design, 360-degree Turntable for $11.04 (list price $12.99)

ORBLUE Silicone Stretch Lids, 6-Pack of Various Sizes for $14.87 (list price $24.47)

HOME

Ornerx Cactus Candles for Home Decor Set of 6 for $13.99 (list price $19.99)

Naipo Neck and Shoulder Massager with Deep Shiatsu Kneading Technology and Adjustable Intensity for $41.99 (list price $79.99)

Sunbeam 002013-912-000 King Size XpressHeat Heating Pad, Green , 12 x 24-inches for $26.88 (list price $39.99)

Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale with Extra Large Display, 440 Pounds, Elegant Black for $22.89 (list price $69.99)

AmazonBasics Hypoallergenic Quilted Mattress Topper, 18" Deep, Twin for $16.99 (list price $19.99)

Flameless Candles, Flickering, Battery Powered, Real Wax, Realistic Decor Unscented, - 6 Pack, Yellow Light - Divine LEDs for $9.99 (list price $48.99)

URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser, 100ml Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby for $19.95 (list price $39.99)

Sleep Restoration Gel Pillow – (2 Pack Queen) Best Hotel Quality Comfortable & Plush Cooling Gel Fiber Filled Pillow - Dust Mite Resistant for $41.99 (list price $79.99)

Holmes HBF2010A-WM 21-Inch by 4.5-Inch Box Fan, 3 Speed-Settings, Metal Frame, 20-Inch Blade, White for $15.99 (list price $24.99)

Sterilite 19889804 Storage Boxes,White Lid & Clear Base with Latches,70 Quart/66Liter,4-Pack for $42.90 (list price $50.99)

Holmes Lil' Blizzard 8-Inch Oscillating Table Fan for $13.59 (list price $19.03)

URPOWER Garment Steamer 130ml Portable Handheld Fabric Steamer Fast Heat-up Powerful Travel Garment Clothes Steamer with High Capacity for Home and Travel, Travel Pouch Included for $19.99 (list price $69.99)

Holmes Oscillating Tower Fan with Remote Control, 32 - Inch for $34.36 (list price $42.95)

Brightech - Emma Tripod Floor Lamp - Classic Design for Contemporary or Traditional Living Rooms - Soft Ambient Lighting - White Shade for $69.99 (list price $120.00)

Hoover UH20040 Sprint QuickVac Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner, 1-Pack for $41.99 (list price $79.99)

AmazonBasics Shower Curtain with Hooks (Treated to Resist Deterioration by Mildew) - 72 x 72 inches, White for $6.29 (list price $8.99)

Large Indoor/Outdoor Decorative Silver Wall Clock - Universal Non - Ticking & Silent 12-Inch Wall Clock - by Utopia Home (Aluminium) for $12.74 (list price $39.99)

SZSAIEN Memory Foam Pillow with Cooling Gel- Comfortable Support Bed Pillow Aligns Spine- Neck Pain & Headache Relief for $36.99 (list price $129.99)

Large Beach Towel, Pool Towel, in Cabana Stripe - (Variety, 4 pack, 30x60 inches) - Cotton - by Utopia Towel for $29.74 (list price $59.99)

Greenco 5 Tier Wall Mount Corner Shelves Espresso Finish for $20.39 (list price $29.99)

Greenco Rectangle Bamboo Butler Serving Tray With Handles for $11.47 (list price $14.99)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream, 0.5 Ounce (Packaging May Vary) for $14.62 (list price $19.00)

The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator, 3.3 Fluid Ounce for $15.80 (list price $18.00)

The Body Shop Aloe Vera Soothing Night Cream, 1.7 Ounce (Packaging May Vary) for $18.20 (list price $21.00)

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Toner, 8.4 Fluid Ounce for $9.00 (list price $15.00)

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, 6.5 Ounces for $10.39 (list price $11.55)

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Cotton Extract, 30 Count for $4.79 (list price $5.99)

Burt's Bees Daily Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin, 1.8 Ounces for $11.39 (list price $14.99)

Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7100, BG2040 for $59.95 (list price $69.99)

Schick Intuition Renewing Moisture Razor Blade Refills for Women with Pomegranate Extract - 6 Count for $21.00 (list price $27.99)

Bed Head Deep Waver for $20.00 (list price $27.99)

Edge Shave Gel for Men Sensitive Skin - 7 Ounce (Pack of 6) for $16.02 (list price $26.99)

Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Jumbo And Super Jumbo Hot Rollers, Amazon Exclusive, Bonus Super Clips Included for $29.99

Head and Shoulders Classic Clean 2-in-1 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner 23.7 Fl Oz (Pack of 2) for $16.98

Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo Medium to Coarse Hair 1 Kit for $18.04 (list price $19.89)

Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser for $18.99 (list price $35.99)

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser, 5 Ounce for $5.99 (list price $6.99)

Kyoku For Men Exfoliating Facial Scrub | Kyoku For Men Face Scrub, A Gentle Acne Treatment For Men (3.4oz) for $10.49 (list price $18.00)

Cetaphil Men Daily Face Wash, 8 Ounce (Pack of 2) for $13.18 (list price $15.98)

Nature Hue - Sweet Orange Essential Oil 10 ml, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade, Undiluted for $5.98 (list price $15.80)

Majestic Pure Peppermint Essential Oil, Premium Quality, 4 fl. oz. for $12.95 (list price $29.50)

Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser, WP-660 for $59.99 (list price $79.99)

Waterpik Cordless Freedom Water Flosser, WF-03, White for $39.99 (list price $44.99)

DenTek Fresh Clean Floss Pick, 75 Count for $3.19 (list price $3.49)

Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush, Full Head, Soft, 6 Count for $3.96 (list price $4.99)

Amazing Nutrition Biotin 10,000 Mcg Dietary Supplement, 200 Capsules for $11.99 (list price $22.99)

LFI Enhance MHz — Your Daily Nootropic Designed to Enhance Your Cognitive Performance — Boost Memory, Focus, Clarity, and Creativity While Also Reducing Stress and Anxiety for $19.95 (list price $39.99)

Degree Women Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick, Fresh Energy 2.6 oz, Twin Pack for $7.00 (list price $9.58)

Neocell Super Collagen Type 1 and 3 plus Vitamin C Tablets, 120 Count for $9.22 (list price $10.85)

OFFICE, SCHOOL, AND CRAFTS

HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer with Mobile Printing, Instant Ink ready (F0V69A) for $69.99 (list price $87.86)

Aviditi 201812 Single-Wall Corrugated Box, 20" Length x 18" Width x 12" Height, Kraft (Bundle of 10) for $20.75 (list price $32.68)

Aviditi M643 Corrugated Mailer, 6" Length x 4" Width x 3" Height, Oyster White (Bundle of 50) for $25.65 (list price $32.15)

ViewSonic PJD5553LWS 3200 Lumens WXGA HDMI Short Throw Projector for $529.99 (list price $749.00)

Cross Star Wars, Darth Vader Click Gel Ink Pen & Jot Zone Journal (AT0625SD-17/1) for $45.42 (list price $75.00)

Pentel Libretto Roller Gel Pen and Pencil Set with Gift Box, Pen 0.7mm and Pencil 0.5mm, Black Barrels (K6A8A-A) for $28.95 (list price $39.95)

Moleskine Cahier Journal (Set of 3), Large, Ruled, Kraft Brown, Soft Cover (5 x 8.25): set of 3 Ruled Journals for $11.00 (list price $13.95)

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Pocket, Ruled, Black, Hard Cover (3.5 x 5.5) for $11.50 (list price $14.95)

Faber Castell Eraser Pencil - Perfection art eraser pencils for drawing, artist supplies, Dual function for erasing Ink and colored pencils - 3 Pack for $12.80 (list price $21.50)

Emoji Magnetic Dry Erase Whiteboard Eraser Set for $9.99

VersaChalk 100% Natural Chalkboard Cleaner Spray & Eraser Kit (10 oz) for Liquid Chalk Markers, Whiteboards, and Dry Erase Boards for $14.99 (list price $24.99)

Pentel Long Lasting Eraser , White (ZEH02BP50) for $14.82 (list price $16.07)

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine for $229.99 (list price $249.00)

Cricut Pen Set, Southwest for $10.30 (list price $13.45)

SINGER 2259 Tradition Easy-to-Use Free-Arm 19-Stitch Sewing Machine for $95.70 (list price $129.00)

Singer Transparent Plastic Class 15J Bobbins, 12-Pack for $4.24 (list price $6.29)

Paxcoo 36 Pcs Bobbins and Sewing Threads with Case and Soft Measuring Tape for Brother Singer Babylock Janome Kenmore (Assorted Colors) for $11.99 (list price $39.99)

KINGSO 24 Assorted Colors Polyester Sewing Thread Spool 1000 Yards Each for $19.99 (list price $59.98)

flic-flac 44PCS 4 x 4 inches (10 x10cm) Assorted Color Felt Fabric Sheets Patchwork Sewing DIY Craft 1mm Thick for $4.98 (list price $14.88)

I Love To Create Scribbles 3D Fabric Paint 1oz 20/Pkg- for $15.39 (list price $21.99)

OUTDOORS, GARDEN, AND SPORTS

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel for $109.99 (list price $140.02)

Litom Solar Lights Bright 20LED Solar Power Led Security Lights with Motion Sensor Wireless Waterproof Wall Lights for Diveway Patio Garden Path 2 Pack for $31.95 (list price $49.99) 

MudGear Compression Socks - Men's and Women's Running Socks Built Strong for Outdoor Sports Performance & Recovery for $29.46 (list price $36.99)

Moonrays 91515 Turtles on a Log Solar-Powered Outdoor LED Light for $12.14 (list price $14.99)

eBags Medium Packing Cubes - 3pc Set (Denim) for $21.99 (list price $38.00)

I Go First Aid Kit (85 Pieces) Compact, Lightweight for Emergencies at Home, Outdoors, Car, Camping, Workplace, Hiking and Survival for $13.79 (list price $35.99)

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack - Black for $59.99 (list price $130.00)

Zippo Pocket Lighter, Black Matte for $13.15 (list price $19.95)

PUREFLY Orange Silicone Heat Resistant Gloves, Great for Grilling, BBQs, Baking, Smoke Ovens,Unique Maple Leaf Design in Finest Orange Silicone. Extra Long to Cover Wrists for $9.99 (list price $45.99)

Amir Solar Powered String Lights, 100 LED Copper Wire Lights, Starry String Lights, Indoor/Outdoor Waterproof Solar Decoration Lights for Gardens, Home, Dancing, Party (Warm White) for $10.99 (list price $14.99)

Flexzilla Garden Hose, 5/8 in. x 50 ft., Heavy Duty, Lightweight, Drinking Water Safe - HFZG550YW for $29.58 (list price $33.90)

Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves for Women and Men. Ultimate Barehand Sensitivity Work Glove for Gardening, Fishing, Clamming, Restoration Work - Large (1 Pack) for $6.99 (list price $15.97)

Suncast Aquawinder 125-Foot Capacity Hose Reel for $80.99 (list price $189.56)

Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater for $118.80 (list price $162.52)

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, Red for $50.62 (list price $69.95)

eBags Crew Cooler II (Pitch Black) for $37.99 (list price $49.99)

Ortho Snake B Gon Snake Repellent Granules, 2-Pound (Not Sold in AK) for $8.48 (list price $10.99)

SHINE HAI 50ft Expanding Hose with 8 Functions Sprayer, Expandable Garden Hose with Strongest TPS, Solid Brass Connector Fitting, Extra Strength Fabric Garden Hose Nozzle for $29.99 (list price $99.99)

Earthwise 11-Inch 8.5-Amp Corded Electric Tiller and Cultivator TC70001 for $121.80 (list price $184.99)

Jobe’s Organics Bulb Fertilizer with Biozome, 3-5-4 Organic Fast Acting Granular Fertilizer for Tulips, Daffodils, Lilies and other Bulb Flowers, 4 pound bag for $6.87 (list price $13.32)

Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chair, Beige for $38.30 (list price $79.99)

Great States 204-14 Hand Reel 14 Inch Push Lawn Mower for $61.75 (list price $87.90)

ELECTRONICS

360 Electrical 360424 Habitat Accent Braided Extension Cord, 8' - Mint Julep for $15.29 (list price $17.99)

2017 HP 15.6" HD TouchScreen Laptop Computer, Intel Quad Core Pentium N3540 2.16Ghz Processor, 4GB Memory, 500GB Hard Drive, USB 3.0, DVDRW, HDMI, webcam, Windows 10 (Certified Refurbished) for $249.00 (list price $399.00)

Sony DVPSR210P DVD Player (Progressive Scan) (Certified Refurbished) for $24.99 (list price $34.99)

Electrohome EAAC601 Projection Alarm Clock with AM/FM Radio, Battery Backup, Auto Time Set, Dual Alarm, Nap/Sleep Timer, Indoor Temperature/Day/Date Display with Dimming, 3.5mm Audio Connection for $24.96 (list price $29.99)

Etekcity RoverBeats T3 Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, CSR 4.0 (Black) for $18.99 (list price $24.99)

Kootek Vertical Stand for PS4 Pro with Cooling Fan, Controller Charging Station with LED Charging Indicator for Sony Playstation 4 Pro Game Console, Charger for Dualshock 4 Controller for $18.99 (list price $25.99)

OldShark Full HD 1080P Dash Cam 170 Degree Wide Angle 3 Inch Dashboard Camera Vehicle Recorder Support G-Sensor, Night Vision, WDR, Parking Guard, Loop Recording 32GB SD Card Included for $58.99 (list price $69.99)

HP 20 AIO 19.5 Inch HD+ LED Desktop (AMD Quad-Core 1.8GHz CPU, 4GB DDR3 Memory, 1TB HDD, DVD RW, USB3.0, Wifi, Bluetooth, Windows 10, White) (Certified Refurbished) for $315.55 (list price $449.00)

Eton FRX5 – All Purpose Weather Alert Radio with Bluetooth for $79.99 (list price $99.99)

Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEA1000400) for $53.99 (list price $69.99)

TOOLS

1byone Wireless Home Security Driveway Alarm, 1 Plug-in Receiver and 1 PIR Motion Sensor Detector Weatherproof Alert System Kit, 36 Melodies to choose for $16.99 (list price $34.99)

Magic Handsaws Set, Pathonor HSS 12-Inch 12pcs/set DIY Multi Purpose Bow Saw for Wood Working, Kitchen, Glass,Tile, Wood, Metal, Plastic for $22.58 (list price $49.98)

Philips 461129 60 Watt Equivalent Soft White A19 LED Light Bulb, 16-Pack for $24.97 (list price $35.99)

Hausbell 7W Ultra Bright Mini LED Flashlight Tactical Flashlight (2 Pack) for $8.99 (list price $10.99)

Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue 20-Gram Bottle (1365882) for $5.97 (list price $7.99)

Amir Motion Sensor Light, Cordless Battery-Powered LED Night Light, Stick-anywhere Closet Lights Stair Lights, Safe Lights for Hallway, Bathroom, Bedroom, Kitchen, etc. (White - Pack of 3) for $12.99 (list price $20.99)

Gorilla Wood Glue, 18 oz. for $3.97 (list price $5.97)

Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC, 1 Pack for $19.98 (list price $42.99)

CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder for $9.99 (list price $12.99)

Philips 460063 100W Equivalent Bright White Par38 Indoor/Outdoor Led Light Bulb2 Pack for $18.26 (list price $21.99)

Makita XT324 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-Pc. Combo Kit for $209.58 (list price $245.58)

3M Patch Plus Primer Kit with 8-Fluid Ounce Self-Adhesive Patch, Putty Knife and Sanding Pad for $9.87 (list price $12.25)

BLENDX 7mm to 19mm Ratchet Universal Sockets Metric Wrench Power Drill Adapter Set - Professional Repair Tools for $6.99 (list price $10.99)

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum, AA255 for $35.49 (list price $49.99)

DEWALT DWMT72163 118 Piece Mechanics Tool Set for $79.99 (list price $99.99)

Ratcheting Tie Down Straps | Premium Load Straps with Plastic-Coated S Hooks for Cargo, Gear, Bikes & More | Bonus Storage Bag Included | Titan Auto 800 LB Working Load Limit High Tenacity Polyester for $16.99 (list price $34.99)

Slice 10514 Mini Cutter, Ceramic Safety Blade, Pocket Sized, Auto-Retractable, Stays Sharp Up to 10X Longer for $8.00 (list price $9.73)

Sengled Smartsense LED Security Floodlight with Built-In Motion Detector for $15.99 (list price $19.99)

HOPDAY Handheld Powerful UV Blacklight 390-410nM 12 LED Ultraviolet Flashlight Pet Dog and Cat Urine Stains Detector with AAA Batteries and Mini keychain Flashlight for $7.99 (list price $32.99)

AmazonBasics 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit for $23.79 (list price $33.99)

Rubbermaid Commercial Triple Trolley, Black, FG440100BLA for $99.19 (list price $123.99)

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
technology
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

Original image
Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
entertainment
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What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
Original image
Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]

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