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The taste of music

The taste of music

The grills are alive, with the sound of meatballs. Whilst this soundbite makes for a catchy intro, it technically isn’t true as most people tend to favour frying their meatballs. Still, it doesn’t make the latest project from a group of students at Hyper Island any less tasty.

They’ve created a device that allows you to turn your favourite tunes into unique meatball recipes. Taking the name Beatballs, the app uses some nifty coding to analyse each song according to tempo, cadence, mood, key and popularity, and convert that information into ingredients. Beyonce’s XO uses beef mince, Black Dog by Led Zepplin is a chicken mince recipe (with a fair bit of curry powder).

The taste of music 2

Why meatballs? Well, Hyper Island was founded in Sweden, so it seems the logical choice. And it gives them the chance to print T-Shirts with slogans such as ‘Justin Beiber’s balls in your mouth’. (Can’t see many takers for that one.)



Off the catwalk, onto the superhighway

Off the catwalk

London. Paris. Milan. New York. The hearts of the fashion world, where the rich and famous mingle with the young and trendy. The source of style for millions of people all over the world. Now we can add Leiden, Puri, Medan and Newcastle to the list, thanks to eBay’s latest adventure.

The e-marketplace packed its photographers off to New York Fashion Week to capture the hottest trends, which they’ve assembled in a shopable online ‘inspiration hub’. They’ll then select relevant listings from retailers, allowing bargain hunters all over the world to pick up similar styles for a fraction of the price.

There’s also a Pinterest site set up with its own team of fashionistas on hand for those looking for a little more inspiration. Once New York Fashion Week finishes the team will use the same tech at fashion shows around Europe. Time to #shopinspired.



Junk mail

Junk mail

Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect sledge, lawnmower or ironing board. Whilst the residents of Ramsay Street in Australia’s most popular soap opera generally shared more intimate experiences, residents of Switzerland can now help their neighbours out on more practical matters through Pumpipumpe.

The name may sound comical (and slightly saucy) but Pumpipumpe is a social sharing community that allows people to let neighbours know of any useful tools/ appliances/ disco balls they can borrow. All you do is display the relevant stickers on your post box, and probably make sure you agree a date that they’ll return them.

It was all started by cyclists who used the idea to let those with the misfortune of a flat tyre know where a handy pump was. Which hopefully explains the name.



Dry-clean It Yourself

Dry-clean It Yourself 1

The moment everyone dreads. You reach inside your beautiful new jumper/shirt/dress/onesie, fumble for the label and read the fatal words ‘dry-clean only’.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between P&G and Whirlpool, that sinking feeling will be replaced by one of smug satisfaction. Swash, a new ‘home garment care system’, lets you ‘refresh, restore and dewrinkle’ your clothes from the comfort of your own home.

The contraption works a bit like a Nespresso or Keurig coffee-maker. Just open it up, pop in a pod, then come back ten minutes later to find clean, pressed and ready-to-wear clothes.

Dry-clean It Yourself 2

There are even different fragrances to choose from, including Recharge, ‘to energise and revive your day,’ Unwind, to ‘exhale and relax as the day comes to a close’, and Awaken, to ‘embrace the start of each day’.

No free hanger or oversized sandwich bag, though?



The bulb’s in your court

The bulb’s in your court


Ever tried one of those dance arcade games? The ones where you have to hop like an idiot from one foot to the next, looking nothing like anyone dancing in the history of dance?

Finally, someone has put the technology (well, something similar) to good use.

Designed to help train the final 30 Nike RISE contestants – a competition to find the best young Chinese basketball players – Nike’s LED/LCD basketball court is the largest touch sensitive screen in the world.

The court tracks players’ movements during training drills, then records the data for analysis. It can then be used to identify strengths and weaknesses and help people improve their game. (Tip: this isn’t the time or place to practise your Saturday night fever moves.)



Great balls of frozen yogurt

Great balls of frozen yogurt 1

Reduce, reuse and recycle. The three R’s that form the cornerstones of responsible packaging. Now it looks like ‘consume’ could be added to the list thanks to Wikifoods, Inc. (After a brief flick through our thesaurus, we failed to find any suitable synonyms beginning with R.)

The edible packaging experts have collaborated with New Hampshire-based Stonyfarm Foods to produce Frozen Yogurt Pearls. Each pearl contains a portion of frozen yogurt, encased in an edible strawberry, coconut or peach skin.

Great balls of frozen yogurt 2

The skin’s made from natural ingredients and is washable, just like a fruit skin, and although the pearls still require a degree of packaging to contain them in freezers, the bags are made with a wood-based film, not plastic. Time to save the planet, one bite at a time.



The OMGfather

The OMGfather

As the world becomes increasingly obsessed with mobile technology, so the places that you can get away from it become increasingly scarce. Churches, hospitals, and airplanes spring to mind, as do certain train carriages, cinemas and (hopefully) the changing room at your local gym.

But one film director in China is actually encouraging the use of mobile phones during performances of his latest movie The Legend of Qin. Special cinemas in Beijing and Shanghai have been fitted with equipment that allows viewers to broadcast their thoughts onto the screen via text. Known as ‘danmu’, which translates as ‘bullet screen’, it’s proving popular with younger generations who are far more adept at absorbing multiple messages.

“Some bad movies are suitable to be bullet-screened because the audiences get bored during the film, and they can’t wait to give snarky comments,” said Yang Weidong, president of the company who co-produced the movie. Good to see he has plenty of faith in his team, then.





Most trips to IKEA follow a fairly simple pattern: you arrive, you collect your pencil and tape measure, you spend several hours caught in a tidal wave of casual shoppers, you pick up some novelty ice cube trays, you start fretting about whether you chose the slowest queue to pay in, you leave, you realise you forgot what you went there for in the first place. Not so in Australia.

The Swedish masters of flat-pack have recently teamed up with room rental service Airbnb to offer customers the opportunity to win a one-night sleepover at their New South Wales store. Three ‘bedrooms’ were on offer – rustic charm, inner city living and modern elegance – with winners asked to share a communal meal (presumably involving meatballs).

The competition’s now closed, but they’re looking to continue the experiment in Europe, with Ireland being strongly tipped as the next venue. All furniture is fully assembled, so there’s no need to pack a set of allen keys with your toothbrush and toothpaste.



Exercise by numbers

Exercise by numbers

Gyms. Sweat dripping down grey walls. Stale carpet tiles. Broken air conditioning units. Boxy TV screens showing music videos from the ‘90s. Row upon row of slippery, smelly treadmills.

Sound familiar? If your gym is still stuck in the dark ages, it’s time to move on. Research shows that more and more of us are shunning traditional high-street chains in favour of fitness and running groups, or re-considered gyms that place greater emphasis on design and style.

Exercise by numbers 2

A perfect example of this is the gym recently opened by Adidas at the brand’s office in Herzogenaurach. Décor includes bold, colourful letters, words and numbers, which hold subtle messages and meanings. For example, the number 54 references the year Germany first won the world cup, alongside number 13 worn by prolific goal scorer Gerd Müller.

Time to get back on the (gym) horse?

Exercise by numbers 3



Taste eruption

Taste eruption

Stone-cooked? Flame-grilled? Pah, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Food design studio Bompas & Parr has collaborated with a team of scientists and artists to cook meat with lava and high-voltage electrical currents.

The inspiration for the Cooking with Lava project came from a visit to Sakurajima, an active volcano in Japan. “We wanted to see if there was a way to create synthetic lava so a wider audience could experience the wonders of food cooked in this way,” the team said.

Taste eruption 2

Working with Syracuse University, Bompas & Parr first used an industrial bronze furnace to melt 1.1-billion-year-old basaltic rock. They then created an artificial volcano that erupted with a stream of 2,100°F lava, before sizzling some sausages over the hot liquid to cook in a matter of seconds.

Not satisfied with one dangerous BBQ-ing experience, the team then visited a high-voltage laboratory at the University of Southampton, where they placed steaks in the path of a 200,000-volt electrical bolt to simulate cooking with lightning.

Peppercorn sauce with that, sir?



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