Weird and wonderful high-tech inventions of the world

From robotic waiters and high-tech bicycles to privacy visors, we take a look at recent inventions that are strange but beautiful


From robotic waiters and high-tech bicycles to “privacy visors,” we take a look at recent inventions that are strange but beautiful.

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Robots deliver dishes of food at a Robot Restaurant in Harbin in China.

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STeve Jobs monument
REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

An iPhone-shaped monument was erected in memory of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs in a courtyard in St. Petersburg, Russia’s State University of Information Technology, Mechanics & Optics. Designed by Gleb Tarasov, the 74-inch-tall interactive glass monument can withstand cold temperatures.

Reuters/Pichi Chuang

Paralyzed patient Yan Ching-hong surfs the Internet by using a pacifier-shaped switch invented by Luo Ching-hsing, a professor at Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University. The device lets the patient type on a computer and even play video.

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A customer playfully lounges on the 3.6-meter-high custom-made female robot at the newly-opened Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

ipad tatoo
Keith Bedford / Reuters

In New York City, tattoo artist Dave Hurban displays an iPod Nano that he has attached to his wrists through magnetic piercings.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The looming 18-meter-high tall robot named Gundar was installed to promote the entertainment facility Gundar Front Tokyo last May.

camilla the rubber chicken

Launched in a helium balloon by NASA, Camilla the Rubber Chicken is seen at 124,800 feet above California in March of last year. This was a science project for students.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Honda Motor Company’s humanoid robot pours a drink with a cup during the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show a few years ago.

sperm bike
Anthony Bolante / Reuters

Biologist analyst Alan Dowden of the Seattle Sperm Bank rides the Sperm Bike, a custom-designed, high-tech bicycle used to transport sperm to fertility clinics. The bike makes use of liquid nitrogen cooled in vacuum containers.

watch phone
Mike Blake / Reuters

This watch phone by manufacturer Burg has a SIM card and Bluetooth.

flying device
REUTERS/Stringer China

In Dashu village in China, local farmer Shu Mansheng hovers above the ground in his homemade self-designed flying device. It hovered 10 seconds at about 3.3 feet above ground.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung Hoon

The giant Kuratas robot at an exhibition in Tokyo last November is a 4-meter-high limited edition that’s controlled through a pilot in its cockpit or via a smartphone (see next slide).

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

Robotics expert Watanaru Yoshizaki demonstrates how to operate the arm of the giant Kuratas robot at an exhibition last November in Tokyo. The 4-meter-high robots can be customized in 16 colors and armed with futuristic weapons, including a rocket launcher that fires plastic robots filled with compressed water.

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

An iPhone fan dressed up as an iPhone waits outside an Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 in Tokyo last September.

Google glasses
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Google founder Sergey Brin appears in Google Glass glasses at the Diane von Furstenberg Spring/Summer 2013 collection during New York Fashion week. The invention is intended to bring augmented reality to the wearer, who is supposed to be able to connect to the Internet via voice commands.

ball container
REUTERS/China Daily China Daily Information Corp - CDIC

Chinese inventor Yang Zongfu celebrates his six-ton ball container named Noah’s Ark of China after he succeeds in testing it in Yiwu, Zhejiang province last August. He is said to have spent over $200,000 to build the vessel which can house a family of three and food to live on for 10 months.

panoramic ball
REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Jonas Pfeil of Berlin Technical University holds a panoramic ball that he developed that contains 36 mobile-phone cameras that can take a picture at the highest point of the ball’s trajectory when thrown. The ball’s computer program merges all the pictures to a 360-degree image that can be viewed on a monitor.

flight simulator
REUTERS/Yves Herman

This flight simulator for immersion training was developed by Belgian company Barco as a training tool for jet pilots to reproduce reality exactly in a full 360-degree view (see next slide).

flight simulator
REUTERS/Yves Herman

Geert Matthys, the R&D manager at the Belgian firm Barco, shows what a flight pilot sees in the flight-reality training tool simulator the firm developed for a 360-degree reality view from the air.

hair washing robot
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Panasonic’s hair-washing robot washes hair on a mannequin in a demonstration in Tokyo. Developed for those who have difficulty with washing their hair, the robot first scans the user’s head, then uses robot fingers to wash the hair.

Sony’s “personal 3D Viewer HMZ-T1”
Issei Kato / Reuters

A model demonstrates Sony’s personal 3D Viewer HMZ-T1, which uses high-definition organic light emitting diode to enable the wearer to experience movie-theatre-like viewing equivalent to watching a 750-inch screen from 20 meters away.

privacy visor
Isao Echizen, National Institute of Informatics

The scientists at Tokyo’s National Institute of Information came up with this prototype for a privacy visor that wards off attempts by cameras using facial-recognition biometrics software to recognize the wearer. The privacy visor is said to use a near-infrared light source that confuses the face-biometrics software without distorting the wearer’s vision.