It’s time for the latest rattlebag of wonder from the last week in digital.

I promise you three LoLs, one small tear, and twelfteen smirks. Here we go…

Security robot drowns itself

You may have already revelled in its demise as photos went around Twitter earlier this week – this is a forlorn Knightscope K5, a 300 pound, five foot tall security robot which used to patrol an office building in Washington DC.

It patrols no longer, as it wandered into the water, like an automated Reggie Perrin. As one observer put it, “We were promised flying cars. We got suicidal robots.”

Balenciaga’s new website sets a high bar for minimalism

Look at the screenshot below. No, I didn’t take the shot before the site had finished loading – this is actually it in its full glory.

The other pages are no less sparse. In fact, the only product images or colour you come across are product images (predictably against a white background).

I intend to review the site for the Econsultancy blog soon – at first glance its utilitarian aesthetic doesn’t really make me want to buy anything.

balenciaga homepage

Thousands commit to toilet cleaning by agreeing to free WiFi T&Cs

Who reads terms and conditions online when they sign up to a service? So few people that Purple, Manchester-based provider of free WiFi hotspots, decided to insert a clause in their T&Cs 

22,000 people ended up unknowingly (we presume) signing up to 1000 hours of community service, including, but not limited to, cleaning toilets at festivals, scraping chewing gum off the streets and “manually relieving sewer blockages”.

Before you overboil with outrage, rest assured the clause was a joke of sorts, intended “to illustrate the lack of consumer awareness of what they are signing up to when they access free wifi”.

One person spotted the clause and claimed a prize for doing so.

More from The Guardian.

Smart fridges (kill me now)

Amazon has commissioned a report to mark the launch of its ‘Shop of the Future’. The future-gazing report describes what shoppers can expect decades from now, in a rather ‘Tomorrow’s World’ style.

Amongst the voice UIs, 3D printing and (predictable) automated subscriptions to groceries, William Higham of consultancy Next Big Thing issued the following terrifying prophecy to

…you may soon be able to buy ‘smart conveniences’, such as fridges that know when they’re getting low on certain foods and reorder the groceries themselves..

I have a deep-seated aversion to smart fridges (read more here). Higham also says that “Pet-translator devices may help us get to know our dogs and cats better” – so maybe smart fridges aren’t quite so fanciful after all.


via Tweek on Flickr.

Headline of the week

This from 9 to 5 Mac:

“Chinese smuggler caught with 102 iPhones strapped to her body, doesn’t beat the record…”

Son turns his dying father into a chatbot

No laughs now, just a geuinely brilliant tear-jerker from James Vlahos writing in Wired. Vlahos embarked on the mammoth project of turning his dying father’s testimony into a (not crap) chatbot.

Luxury leather keyboard alert!

AZIO is releasing a luxury mechanical keyboard, costing $110 on Indiegogo. If you can watch the below video without laughing, you are a sterner man than me (or a Patrick Bateman type).

Joke of the week

IEEE Spectrum’s Evan Ackerman writes: “I am personally very excited to adopt a few extra robotic limbs, because I have a desperate need to improve my ski-boxing.”

That was the glorious opening line of an article about researchers from MIT who have just presented a paper on “Independent, Voluntary Control of Extra Robotic Limbs.”

Long story, short – we could use our abs and pecs to control some waist-mounted appendages (when our real hands are full).

The article ends with a joke as strong as Ackerman’s – Brian Bixby writes in the comments: “I want a prehensile tail.”

extra limb control