The Week In Weird Tech

There's been some seriously strange developments in the world of gear and gadgets this week. From repulsively human-like robots to a glove that'll make you twice as talented, here's our pick of the oddest 

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1 | The Collar That Stops Dogs Barking

Are you driven insane by the sounds of next-door's bug-eyed yapper on a nightly basis, like us? Well, then this is the gadget for you. US-based company Hammacher Schlemmer have developed a collar that trains a dog to hate the sound of its own bark. By being programmed to transmit a super-high frequency that our sub-par human ears can't pick up when it gets a tad over-excited about a knock at the door / the prospect of a walk / its own tail, the mutt will come to associate the noise with an unpleasant sound. Genius, or potential animal cruelty? We're not sure. Yours for $39.95. 

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2 | Robots That Look Like People. Too Much.  

In perhaps the freakiest thing to come out of Japan in 2014, robotics professor Hiroshi Ishiguro has created a family of robots that look spookily like the real deal (and quite possibly the stuff of your childhood nightmares). Their purpose is to work in Miraikan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, reading out news and mixing up languages to respond to visitor's queries and comments. Programmed to imitate our expressions and movements, we can't help but feel they're destined to make a lot of kids cry. To make stuff even weirder, Ishiguro once created a robot that looks just like him. Just like your average genius / narcissist.

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3 | The Glove That Makes You Twice As Smart

Did you give up every musical instrument you attempted to learn as a child because you couldn't riff like Hendrix within three weeks? If so, we feel you. But a new device might be about to end all of that hard work you currently need to get good at stuff. Thad Starner, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has come up with this snazzy thing. Named 'The Mobile Music Touch,' it enhances your muscle memory so that your body understands what it's meant to do, and in what time,  at double the speed it would naturally – whether that's playing the piano or reading braille. It does have a loftier purpose, though – it's being developed in order to help people dealing with spinal cord injuries to gain sensation back in their hands. The completed product is a while off yet, but there's some pretty huge potential in this one. 

4 | Google Takes It Back To The Old School 

This may look like some kind of bizarre April Fool but it’s really happening, people: Google has gone old school. Sort of. Anyone who attended Google’s I/O conference on June 25 was given a mysterious cardboard box, which came with instructions on how to turn it into a pair of makeshift goggles and plop an Android phone inside it.

The latest toy from the Silicon Valley superpower allows you to load up the ‘Cardboard app’ and run virtual reality demos, looking at 3D interactive panoramas and flying through Chicago using your head as a steering wheel. The app is compatible with a range of phones, including Google Nexus 4 and 5, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. You can even make your own DIY cardboard glasses if you want to. So, if you like your technology with a bit of a retro vibe, just follow the instructions, escape into your own world, and shove a cardboard box on your head. Super. 

5 | The Real-Life Hover Car

Tel Aviv are reportedly planning to install huge, elevated magnetic tracks in the sky of their town, from which would hang small vehicles, capable of holding two people, and travelling at about 43mph. These would transport commuters in a safe, eco-friendly way – meaning a breakthrough that could revolutionise getting to work for all of us living in over-packed urban centres. The system has been patented by California-based company skyTran, who the BBC reckon have ambitions to take it global. We're excited. 

Seen any other freaky tech this week? Tell us about it, in the comments below 

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