Weird Tech: Granny gets 40Gbps to play with

Those crazy Americans. Ken Couch tied 105 helium balloons to his garden chair, sat back and flew to Idaho

It's been a week of extremes in the world of weird tech. We can draw just one conclusion: that life does in fact begin at 70. Just ask Swedish pensioner Sigbritt Löthberg, 75.

Having only recently taken up computing, she's now the proud owner of the world's fastest home internet connection - a blistering 40Gbps . That'll certainly help get the online shopping done a bit faster.

But it seems yesterday's youth really are made of tougher stuff. Reports surfaced this week of a 71-year-old Chinese man who has retained his youthful looks by routinely running 220V of electricity through his body.

Fondly dubbed ' Electric Man ' by friends and family, Zhand Deke can cook a fish in a mere two minutes while he's charged up. Which must come as a blow to the widely-publicised Canadian jogger who was struck by lightning. Unfortunately for him, he was holding his Apple iPod instead - needless to say it didn't have quite the same effect .

Luckily there were calmer skies overhead at the weekend for American adventurer Ken Couch, who flew his garden chair to Idaho. Equipped with a GPS system, two-way radio, altimeter, wind gauge, camcorder and a mobile phone, he tied 105 helium balloons to his favourite garden chair, sat back and enjoyed the view from 13,000 feet.


A patent was discovered in the last few days which could enable Zune owners to capitalise on the thriving legal download market. The technology would effectively enable users (and Microsoft of course) to receive a small commission on all music shared - or squirted , to use MSFT parlance - via Zune-to-Zune Wi-Fi transfer. Which would mean Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen could continue to splash his cash on 40-foot yellow submarines .

And apparently social networking website Facebook won't let you join if your name is 'Gay'. A brief investigation by Metro did turn up: "lots of Gaylords, some Gayes, an occasional Gayer - but no Gays". If you're a 'Hilter' or a'Dyke' though, you'll be ok.

As usual, we have an excellent selection of odd gadgets to draw your attention to. First up is Michael Killian's Sideways Bike , quoted as being mesmerisingly "dance-like" in motion. (Note the video's set in Amsterdam...) Then there's the talking lamp , which rather helpfully tells you that it's not a bomb. And not to forget the electronic toilet paper dispenser , the olive MP3 player or the scariest bike helmet ever.

And finally

Apparently New Yorkers need a law to tell them that sending faxes whilst driving isn't a good idea. Who'd have thought. The proposed ban would join a long list of similar constraints, including talking on the phone, driving while drowsy and smoking while driving. You just can't do anything in New York these days.

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.