Creepy phone app exposes your digital ID

TAT's new concept Augmented Reality app
TAT's new privacy-destroying Augmented Reality app: coming to a phone near you

'Breaking the ice' could take on a whole new meaning in future – that's if TAT's new concept Augmented Reality app takes off. Simply point your phone at a stranger and, using facial recognition tech, the new app will pull up their entire digital identity.

Dubbed both "mindblowing" and a "terrifying vision of the future", the possibilities of the Augmented ID app have so far left critics conflicted. The potential is exciting – but do you really want your latest drunken tweet to inform someone's first impression?

It's not quite ready for the App Store yet; beware of strangers pointing their handsets at you in the months to come.

Robot bride

In other Weird Tech news, there was a new star on the Japanese catwalk this week: HRP-4C, a female humanoid robot created by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

The bot swished down the runway sporting a wedding gown created by designer Yumi Katsura, and told the audience: "I'm very happy to wear this dress." Organisers claim it's the first event of its kind to be held in the world.

Also this week: it turns out that e-cigarettes are bad for you, after all. A report this week by the FDA claims the cartridges in fact contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals – not quite as risk free as previously maintained.

And meet the "world's largest solar-powered loudspeaker system". Capable of delivering an ear-bleeding 105 dB of sound to 40,000 spectators, the digitally-controlled sound system is housed in the Taiwan National Stadium, and controlled 100 per cent by the facility's unique solar roof.

Taiwan national stadium

[Image courtesy of Gizmodo]

Weird gadget round-up

As always, the week brought an array of new gadgets: some wonderful; others plain wacky. On the more unusual side – and still on the solar flex – are Toyota's giant 18-foot Solar Flowers, which the company has decided to plant across the major US cities.

Yes, it's a Prius marketing ploy, but don't let that bother you. As well as letting you charge your gadgets, the device also gives out free Wi-Fi and makes for a pretty comfy resting place, too.

solar flowers

[Image courtesy of The Design Blog]

Brando's USB-powered mini RC helicopter is less functional – but might provide a viable alternative to doing your work one afternoon. At $40, the device comes complete with flashing LEDs, and can be "fuelled" by your desktop or laptop.

And finally…

An Australian man has reportedly burst into flames after being tasered by police. The unfortunate event occurred during a confrontation with police, who were – wait for it – investigating claims of petrol sniffing.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the man went up in flames after being hit on the bridge of his nose by the taser. Police say he was running at them carrying a container believed to contain fuel and a cigarette lighter.

The man received third degree burns to 10 per cent of his body, and has been charged with possession of a sniffing substance, police said.

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.