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Replace Your Wearable Wristband With Smart Sneakers

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Wearable technology brand Amazfit crowdfunded its first pair of smart sneakers.

The shoes can be used with Amazfit’s dedicated running sensor, connected to the Mi Fit mobile app, to track the wearer’s activity.

While most people rely on wristbands or a strapped-on smartphone to count daily steps or calculate calorie intake, the Antelope footgear makes the process easy and invisible.

The embedded electronics “document everyday movements … and more advanced aspects of the run, including foot strike and touchdown times,” according to media site PSFK. “The shoe is built with a breathable sole and elastic responsive cushioning that acts as a shock absorber.”

Promoted via China’s Youpin crowdfunding platform, the ¥199 (an oddly cheap $31) running shoe raised a whopping ¥12,219,197 ($1,927,517), and is expected to begin shipping May 17 (whether that’s in 2018 or 2019 remains unclear).

Little is known about the actual product (which features a Goodyear rubber outsole, breathable insoles, and a “light waterproof” material); most of the Youpin marketing is in Chinese.

It’s unclear whether the Antelope trainers will be sold outside of Asia; there is no mention of them on the U.S. Amazfit website.

Following the launch of its own Mi Band fitness tracker, Xiaomi subsidiary Amazfit introduced the Pace sports smartwatch in August 2016; the firm now counts seven activity trackers, manufactured by Huami, another Xiaomi-owned outfit.

“As this product is not being sold internationally yet, I can’t provide a lot of detail,” a Huami spokesman told in an email.

The “smart shoe” is not a novel concept: Various players have already released intelligent trackers for your feet. Under Armour and Altra have opted for ingrained technology, allowing the user to simply lace up and go.

Others, like miCoach and RunScribe, invented an attachable gadget that mounts to your shoe; then there are the smart insoles that turn any pair of shoes into a drill sergeant.

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Autonomous Sexbots Are the Future

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In a 2017 TEDx talk, University of London lecturer and writer Kate Devlin pointed out that “There are no actual sex robots in production yet—just dolls.”

What a difference a year makes.

Chinese robotics developer DS Doll is currently working on the world’s first autonomous sex robot.

According to Daily Star, the Dalian-based firm is 3D-printing component parts for its AI-powered humanoid. The advanced technology helps boost production speed and efficiency, allowing for the mass production of sexy cyborgs.

Able to move its eyes, mouth, head, shoulders, and arms, the first prototype is “almost complete,” DS Doll told the UK tabloid; engineers are putting the finishing touches on the mobile legs.

A slew of video clips shared via the company’s Twitter account highlight the unnamed android’s … talents: Watch her shake to life before fitfully stretching her arms and turning her silicone head.

Not exactly the smooth operator you’d hope to bed, the electronic skeleton is designed to mimic the human body. DS Doll uses 3D printing to develop and stamp out specific, uniform shapes. It can even scan full human bodies and prototype parts for replication.

The company constructs 400 custom models each month; its premium-range mannequins sell for around $5,000.

“We are still in the researching process,” DS Doll chief development officer Qiao Wu told the Daily Star.

“The full-body robot will have more physical expression to help with human communication,” he explained. “One day, we hope the robot can be used in etiquette, presentation, human companionship, front-desk services, and other areas.”

Sex dolls (because Devlin’s right—most of these devices are nothing more than life-sized hunks of plastic with no understanding of consent) have come a long way from the tacky, low-grade inflatable masturbation toys of yore.

They still have a long way to go, though.

The line between man and machine continues to blur. Which is why activists are calling for sex robot regulations. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sex robots (but were afraid to ask) and more here.

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DIY a Desktop Arcade Cabinet With Retro Picade Kit

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This is the year of retro gaming: Classic titles are reappearing on modern consoles, and nostalgic appliances are reappearing as modern consoles.

So it’s no surprise that hobbyist electronic firm Pimoroni recently launched a redesigned version of its Raspberry Pi-powered mini arcade machine.

Unveiled in August, the build-it-yourself Picade features authentic controls, a high-res 4:3 display, and a “punchy speaker to hear those 8-bit game soundtracks at their best.”

The kit takes about two to three hours to build (according to the experts who created it). All you need is a Raspberry Pi, micro-SD card, power supply, and £150 ($198) to spare.

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The original Picade was introduced in 2012 as the UK’s first Kickstarter project, collecting more than £74,000 ($98,000) toward a £33,000 ($44,000) goal.

Six years later, Pimoroni has updated its “ultimate desktop retro arcade machine,” now more compact, with a better display, dedicated power button, and Picade X HAT “packed full of useful features.”

Fans may also notice splashier artwork and packaging. Each Picade comes with “a bunch of extra goodies,” like an enamel pin, sticker selection, poster, and assembly instructions.

In an effort to drum up interest in the new toy, Sheffield-based Pimoroni asked folks around the world to come up with a retro game concept that would suit the new Picade.

Entries from the UK, Europe, and US included hand-drawn posters, punny titles, and “screenshots.” Ultimately, the team behind Trolley Wars—a Supermarket Sweep-like game—won for its “simplicity and button-bashing of arcade favorites of old.”

New packaging for a new machine (via Pimoroni)

Everything old is new again, and arcade cabinets are no exception: British manufacturer STOA last year rolled out custom-built cupboards, each handcrafted from start to finish for one or two players.

In place of traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, STOA uses modern LCD screens, with the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the Picade. Every device comes with a curated selection of games (Ms. Pac-Man, Street Fighter II, Paperboy, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, etc.), tailored to the client’s preference and design.

You can do anything with a Raspberry Pi and a little imagination: DIY a Spotify speaker, upcycle a karaoke machine, track foosball scores. Check out our recent Geek Pick, the Retroflag SUPERPi case for Nintendo lovers. And stay up to date on all things Raspberry Pi here.

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