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Weird and Wacky Inventions

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Published on May 13, 2009

Students from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program display their weird and wacky inventions. Lets have a look.
Fancy a pair of tree-stump boots that creak and groan? Or how about a computer made out of mud? Not your thing? Then try the pheromone-emitting seduction ring.

They're just some of the weird and wacky inventions on display at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The exhibition showcases projects by students of the University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

The inventions include a robot that can create its own works of art, and a squirrel that marks the passing of each day by removing its head.

One student came up with a pair of 'Root Boots' — but these boots aren't made for walking.

[Michelle Mayer, NYU Student]:
"They're boots to keep you grounded and connected, and they reward you for being still and connected. So when both of my feet are completed planted, there's a sub-base vibration you can feel through your feet and when I'm not it makes the sound or ripping trees and cracking trees."

Then there's the 'Traveling Sound Museum,' a collection of mason jars, installed on an antique cart.

[Michael Rosenthal, NYU Student]:
"Some of the ones that we have here on display today — we have the Galapagos Islands from the 1830s from the HMS Beagle expedition that came in. We have great sounds from the north east London market in the 1970s, beautiful Catania fish market from Sicily from the 1700s, so that's a really old one. The oldest jar in the collection goes back to the 10th century AD — it is the sound of the original Baghdad Battery — the first battery that mankind ever produced."

For those who think their computer is dirty — check out the 'Mud Tub.' The device includes special weight sensors at the bottom of a tub of mud, where users control a computer game by simply sloshing and squishing away.

[Thomas Gerhardt, NYU Student]:
"It allows you to play in the mud and to control a computer. The mud has nodes and can tell the computer what the topology of the mud is as well as where your hands are — so it's this great rich data set for you to be able to develop games and all kinds of things."

And if that wasn't weird enough — take a look at this pheromone-emitting seduction ring.

[Alexander Reeder, NYU Student]:
"Imagine 20 years from now when you can make a cocktail and put it into a ring like this and really have someone change their mood and change how they feel towards you. So it's thinking of that and what's to come."

But does it actually work?

[Alexander Reeder, NYU Student]:
"I think the scents have been well received, but I haven't had anybody sway backwards yet."

Last, but not least, is the 'Scales,' where international finance is interpreted as fish. Using real-time exchange rate data against the U.S. dollar, weaker currencies swim with the school in the pond, while stronger currencies race each other upstream.

[Zoe Fraade-Blanar, NYU Student]:
"Finance is pretty scary for a lot of people, I think, so it's nice having something just really colorful and pretty that you can look at and kind of get a gist of what's going on in the world. Kind of a little snapshot without the scary numbers.

The mind boggles.

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