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Tweeting dogs, grumpy wallets and frickin' laser beams

Mother bear
MIT's wallets are just prototypes, but we love the thinking behind them

This week, NASA announced the discovery of an arsenic-based life form that ingests poison, doesn't resemble any normal life form and could mean that alien life not only exists, but looks terrifying. But enough about Gillian McKeith – we've got Weird Tech to do!

Wouldn't it be great if your wallet could tell you that you were broke? In the days of real cash money, that was easy, but it's a bit more complicated with credit and debit cards.

MIT's Proverbial Wallets may be the solution: "Tactile feedback reflecting our personal balances and transactions helps us develop a subconscious financial sense that guides responsible decisions," MIT says. Translation? Your wallet buzzes when you're broke.

We particularly like the designed dubbed Mother Bear: the hinge won't open if you've spent all your money.

A new dimension in fashion

Clothes can say a lot about you – looking out of the window, an awful lot of them appear to be saying "I've got too much money!" – and with the arrival of AR Tees you too can look interesting when you appear on a webcam. In the real world, the design looks like a graphic of a TV; on camera, the TV actually works.

We're not entirely sure why you'd buy a £24 T-shirt and essentially stare at yourself wearing it for hours on end, but then we don't really "do" fashion. Maybe that's what WAGS do all day.

Frickin' laser beams!

To America, where Northrop Grumman is developing really clever ways to deliver fiery death. Its 100-kilowatt solid-state laser can fire at full power for more than six hours, which is more than long enough to turn a tyrant into toast.


LIMP: Is it us, or is it a bit disappointing that fiery death rays don't look particularly scary? [Image credit: Northrop Grumman]

It's not ready for battle yet – it's not exactly portable and real weapons need to work 24/7 – but it's getting close: last year the laser could only fire for five minutes.

Is that a Sonic Screwdriver in your pocket or…

Good news for Doctor Who fans: Bristol University professor Bruce Drinkwater is developing an ultrasonic wave generator that can assemble parts and separate diseased cells from healthy ones.

Karen gillan

MAKING WAVES: Never mind making rubbish screwdrivers: why can't boffins clone Karen Gillan? [Image credit: BBC]

Will it open doors, detect land mines, repel enemies and control the TARDIS? "The engineers are now figuring out how to spin the ultrasonic waves… to undo screws." Scientists! You're not going to impress Amy Pond with that!

The dog that goes tweet

We've saved the best till last: Engadget's great review of Mattel Puppy Tweets, a collar that enables your mutt to add to the waterfall of nonsense we know as Twitter. "Wouldn't it be fun if your pooch could get in on those antics?" Tim Stevens asks. "No, as it turns out, it isn't all that fun at all."

Doggy tweets

DOGGY STYLE: A dog tweets. What next? A cat that moos? A cow that quacks?