Weird Tech: Magnetic boy freezes Xbox

The Xbox 360 has more than the Red Ring Of Death to contend with when Magneto Man is around

A 12-year-old-boy whose inability to touch a PC without it crashing nearly caused him to fail his social studies class, has been diagnosed as having a “static problem”.

Dubbed 'Magneto Man', Joe Falciatano repeatedly disrupted slide show presentations and caused his Xbox to inexplicably freeze, before a teacher finally suggested he wear a grounded, anti-static wrist strap.

Static-expert Kelly Robinson remains convinced that the strap is working. However, the boy’s new-found ability to successfully use a PC also coincides with a change of building at school. Static problem, or just plain bizarre. You decide.

Man vs Air-Force pain gun

In other news, Engadget posted a highly entertaining clip of correspondent David Martin taking on the AirForce’s Active Denial System, aka ‘pain gun’, this week. For those not up-to-date in their non-lethal weaponry, it’s a machine capable of firing a 94GHz millimetre wave that “triggers an immediate flight response from anyone in its path within 500 meters”.

Apparently even the hardest of hardcore can only endure 5 seconds of its intense burning before running away like girls. Cue Martin giving it his best shot...

Anti-shark? Ever seen Jaws?

Meanwhile, an electronic device designed to deter sharks from surfers failed so dismally that it was eaten by a great white during a trial off South Africa. Not only did the Shark Shield device neglect to repel the 3.6m female shark, it’s thought that the electronic fields it generated actually attracted it.

In defence of his product, the manufacturer helpfully commented: "The surf product only can be guaranteed to work when it's stationary, not when it's surfing in the wave or paddling”. Right…

Here’s a gadget with a purpose though, if ever we saw one: the Beer Tracker. For a mere £3.99, this computerised bottle opener keeps count of how many beers you’ve downed, digitally displaying the results. Perfect for cutting short tedious boasts of “I drank 20 pints last night”.

Even more useful was the recent announcement of a pair of cyber goggles said to “make the act of losing your keys a thing of the past function”. Functioning as a high-tech memory aid, the smart goggles are able to recognise objects that they see. TechRadar could do with a pair to trial outside the office – we’ve got (another) missing mobile to find.

And finally…

A homeless man’s sales of the Big Issue have skyrocketed – increasing by a massive 400 per cent – thanks to a new page dedicated to him on Facebook. Some 800 fans have joined the Croydon Big Issue Man Appreciation Club, since founder Matthew Melody set up the page. 'I was selling as few as seven or eight a day. I'm doing at least 25 to 30 a day now,' said the 35-year-old.

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.