“Selfie Arm” Lets You Pretend To Have A Friend

Remember those ubiquitous photos that guy took of his girlfriend holding his hand as they traveled around the world on all sorts of adventures? If not, let’s refresh your memory.

follow-me-project-instagram-pt2_02They called it “Follow me to” and the duo amassed quite a following, getting coverage in all sorts of publications.

But what if you don’t have a significant other and you’re sick of seeing all those cheesy photos on Facebook and Instagram? For those riding solo through life, there’s now an answer.

Introducing the selfie arm. It’s like the selfie stick, just way creepier.

aricsneedesignboom08-818x791Nevermind it looks like you’re holding the hand from The Adams Family; your mother will just be proud you seem to be sharing the moment with someone special.


The selfie hand comes courtesy Aric Snee and Justin Crowe, an artist/designers duo who experiment with human/technology relationships. Unfortunately the product remains a working prototype for now, but we think they should pitch this one to the Shark Tank as it might just have a market…



Breakthrough Solar Device Turns Saltwater Into Fresh Drinking Water

Here in California we’re entering our fourth consecuitive drought year. The snowpack in the Sierras was a dismal 2% of where it should have been last time I checked, and the swimming holes in my favorite spot, the Yuba River, will most likely be puddles. With so much of our drinking water coming from natural springs and relying on the snowmelt each winter to replenish reservoirs, we need to find alternative ways to get these resources.

image: MIT

One promising technology comes in the form of desalination. Several large facilities exist in CA and elsewhere around the world, but they’re incredibly expensive and not all that efficient. What about your everyday civilian who wants to do the same? Options are limited thus far, but this solar powered device engineered by some brilliant minds at MIT just won the 2015 Desal Prize, a competition ran by USAID that aims to bring water solutions to developing countries. Desalination is especially important for these areas, as indicated here

It works by using solar panels to capture energy that’s stored in a bank of batteries that power an electrodialysis machine which removes salt from water.

For those of us who aren’t electrodialysis experts:

“Electrodialysis works by passing a stream of water between two electrodes with opposite charges. Because the salt dissolved in water consists of positive and negative ions, the electrodes pull the ions out of the water, Winter says, leaving fresher water at the centre of the flow. A series of membranes separate the freshwater stream from increasingly salty ones.”

Audi Turns Water Into Diesel

In a move taken straight from the Jesus miracle playbook, Audi has successfully converted water and carbon dioxide into an ethanol diesel fuel they call “e-liquid”. The breakthrough isn’t actually a new process, and the German automaker uses the Fischer-Tropsch process which has been known by scientists since the 1920s, but the context of this announcement makes for exciting news in today’s modern world where there’s a huge demand for clean, renewable fuel sources.

The breakthrough comes on the heels of a commissioning phase that lasted just four months. Audi teamed up with clean tech company Sunfire to develop the fuel in a Dresden facility. To demonstrate its suitability for everyday use, Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka put the first five liters into her official car, an Audi A8 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro.

The breakthrough signals a big step toward developing cost-effective renewable fuel, and the announcement added they achieved a 70% efficiency in the process, a figure that’s surprisingly high. No word yet on what the next step will be, but we hope they can bring this to market at a fair price per gallon.

Rescued Pitbull Helps Autistic Boy Hug His Mom For The First Time

True dog lovers know their furry companions come programmed with a “pay it forward” attitude, but few examples demonstrate that as well as this good-natured pitbull. Amanda Granados is the mother of a young boy with Asberger’s Syndrome, and until recently she and her son Joey couldn’t share simple physical connections of a hug and kiss, or even holding her hand.



Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

That changed when they adopted Roxy, a beautiful Pit Bull Terrier with a goofy attitude and a fondness for giving big wet kisses. Joey now holds his mother’s hand, and feels comfortable offering her a kiss and a hug. The unconditional affection Roxy showed Joey made a huge impact on his behavior, and shaped his life for the better.

“I didn’t have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I’ve been able to make friends ever since,”


Photos courtesy Amanda Granados

There’s limited research on the effects of animals on children with Autism, but a 2014 study revealed that dogs can give children with autism a special kind of companionship that allows them to learn responsibility and suggests the connection helps encourage positive social behaviors.




City Bus Turned Offgrid Motorhome For The Nomadic Adventure Seeker

Every craftsman brings their own vision to a new project, with different ideas of what “finished” really means. Projects like this often remain in a state of flux, constantly evolving, but in the case of this offgrid motorhome, we think the owner has crossed the finish line in style.


The La Chancita bus began its life as a 1966 Mercedes-Benz bus that spent its time as a city bus in Buenos Aires. Since then, Manu Fombeurre has overseen a dramatic transformation of the bus, turning it into a rolling home with room to sleep five, a fully equipped kitchen, shower, toilet, and wood burning stove.




The entire interior was gutted and transformed into a sleek wood-paneled beauty with all the creature comforts you’d want in a motorhome.


The transformation took place over nine months, and the finished Chanchita now serves as a base for adventure lovers looking to travel in style to remote wilderness locations. Faction Skis serves as the primary sponsor for the bus, and they contract rentals to interested parties – whether looking to hit a remote surfing destination in the summer or take an epic ski trip in the winter, the Chanchita channels the spirit of adventure that Argentina is known for. We can imagine they have a pretty good life, which might be made all that much better with something like this portable hot tub hammock for camping.

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Want to learn more about the Chanchita, or schedule your own tour? Check out their website.

A Rolling DIY Motorhome Michelangelo Would Envy

Some artists spend years, decades even, working on their “piece de resistance” if you will. The finished product might be a statue, a painting, or in the case of John Driscoll, a most unique gypsy wagon. He calls it the “Big Maroon” and it all began in 1971 when he paid $125 for a 1959 Federal truck that was originally a flatbed farm truck. Ever since then he’s been working on it, converting it into the one of a kind masterpiece you see here.


No detail went overlooked in the construction of this custom home on wheels, from the exterior to the interior and everything in between. He had plenty of help along the way, and the exterior shell was finished in 1975. It clocks in at 11′ tall, 25′ long, and weighs 1,500 lbs. including water, fuel, a boat, motorcycle, groceries, and one dog.

bigmaroon_07You need a serious engine to power a home like this, especially with the added weight of the build. At one point he swapped the Pontiac 2-barrel 389 for a 455 cubic inch Edelbrock with aluminum heads, custom intake, and a 650 carburetor. There’s certainly no shortage of power now, and along with the engine he also customized the power steering, transmission, brakes, and rear axle to ensure all that power gets put to good use.

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The most impressive features don’t live under the hood however, but rather in the custom living space he built on the flatbed. A true craftsman, John created a vintage living space that’s efficient and stylish, incorporating beautiful vintage lighting and custom cabinetry into the finish. He even made the stained glass on his own.

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photos courtesy Timeattackmanila

John has racked up more than 40k miles traveling around the US and Canada for more than 40 years and during that time he’s gradually maintained and enhanced the build. His is a story of perseverance and determination, of completely realizing one’s dream not to mention pure American DIY craftsmanship on a level few of us will ever achieve. Yet we can admire his effort and draw inspiration for our own projects.

DIY Steampunk Camper Joins Fantasy And Function

In case you ever wondered what happens when steampunk style collides with travel campers, we have the answer. You end up with something like this:


For the uninitiated out there, “steampunk” refers to a sub-genre of science fiction in the fashion/lifestyle world where technology and 19th century steam engine style come together. In this instance we see what happens when it meets the world of travel campers, and the result is quite stunning.



Dave Moult is the man behind this fantastic wood and copper clad camper. In 2008 he had the idea to travel Scotland and live out of a camper, the only thing was, he didn’t yet own one. So he decided to build his own, which spawned a new passion.

He never went on that trip, but he did end up building six different campers, including the one you see here. It includes a chandelier made from a coffee pot and copper pipe, a library, folding copper sink and cooking space in the trunk.

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Interested in building your own teardrop trailer? Dave recommends checking out the many resources available online, including the Facebook group page The Teardrop Club of Great Britain and the forum

Japan Unveils The World’s Largest Floating Solar Farms

Japan recently unveiled its most ambitious solar energy project consisting of two massive floating solar “farms” in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture. The completed project came about from a partnership between Kyocer and Century Tokyo Leasing and was finished in record time, having begun only last September.


The farm is split between two locations, one on Nichihira Pond and another on Higashihira Pond. It consists of 225-watt Kyocera modules, and includes 11,256 total panels with a capacity of 1.7MW and 1.2MW respectively. The power generated from this project will supply enough energy to keep 920 homes lit.

The project represents an ambitious new step in Japan’s solar energy infrastructure, which has doubled since 2011, the same year as the Fukushima reactor disaster, putting them in a position alongside China and the U.S. as a leading contender in the renewable energy sector.


In case you’re wondering what the advantage is of building the system on a floating surface instead of on land, it has to do with the cooling effect of water, which results in more energy generated. Additionally, the extra shading of the water helps promote algae growth and prevents water evaporation.

Volunteers Get Paid To Live In This Ghost Town

Have you ever driven through an abandoned town and wonderdered what it was like to live there? Well, wonder no more. The Garnet Ghost Town in Montana is a complete ghost town that burgeoned in the 19th century with gold and silver discoveries until it went belly up in the 1940s.


Today however, a few souls remain there, and we aren’t talking about real ghosts (although what town like this isn’t haunted?). Instead, volunteers wander the streets, chosen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to provide tours and sell souvenirs to tourists passing through.


The volunteers get a certain number of benefits, including a cabin to live in, a food stipend, and a small paycheck for their work. While there’s no cable/wifi, electricity or running water to speak of, someone who’s accustomed to living off the grid might find the accommodations quite fitting.

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Photos by Daniel Hagerman

While the Montana Standard reports some volunteers have spent as much as a decade living there, the current position calls for openings during August and September. If you are interested, feel free to get in touch with Gainan at the BLM Missoula Field Office at 406-329-3735 or email [email protected] to get an application.

The Most Adorable Chicken Coop Ever? We Think So.

Today I wanted to share a seriously inspiring chicken coop design with our readers. This design comes courtesy Tilly’s Nest, and while it looks adorable enough to serve as a playhouse for your kids, it’s actually designed with chickens in mind, with edible gardens, linoleum floor for easy cleaning, and even some decorative chicken art for aesthetics.

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If you’re a fan of raising backyard chickens, then you already know how important it is for them to have some cozy and safe digs to hang out in and part of the fun comes from designing and building your own coop. A coop like this is certainly nothing to flap your beaks at. After all, happy chickens equals more eggs for you and your friends!

For more information about the design, and a huge amount of great resources for raising chickens, check out