Shift Moonwalkers

Bizarre Tech: Zura Haptic Blanket, Moonwalkers and Hallo Pip

Image credit: Shift Moonwalkers

Hello, online friends! This festive month, I’ve found some eccentric gift ideas for you that probably won’t be available in time for Christmas, or any time. Happy Holidays, everybody!

Zura Haptic Blanket

Buzzing blankie, anyone?

I don’t know whether I’d like my blanket to vibrate on me, but hey. Whatever floats your boat.

Zura is a ‘soft and durable blanket with modern haptic motors to give you sensations you have never experienced before’. M’kay.  

The creator behind the blankie, says him and his wife discovered ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, (basically you get a kick out of sounds)) videos on YouTube.

They were fascinated that simple mechanisms can ‘contribute to better relaxation’.

To try to improve the experience, they worked on ‘extending the ASMR with physical stimuli’. This all sounds a bit too raunchy for me.

Anyway, they found that vibrations were most appropriate.

After trying weighted blankets, they found their lack of mobility a disadvantage, which ‘disqualifies them for use’, because the bloke wouldn’t roll up the blanket and would leave it to his wife, which ‘guaranteed me quarrels after returning home :)’. Bit weird, but OK.

They also tried eye masks, which would often slip off at night because it was a nuisance to adjust, and ‘if I squeezed it tighter, I could guarantee myself the irritation of the skin around my eyes’. Good lord – I bet they’re a joy to be around at parties.

They found the best solution for falling asleep was forest and rain sounds. Mine would be meditation. Or sleeping tablets. Whatever.

So, by combining the elements, the couple made Zura.

The Zura duvet is ‘made of polymer mesh, covered with velor [don’t know if they mean velour, the soft stuff, can’t find velor on the internet...], and is specially designed to be breathable and antiseptic’. Antiseptic? Was that the right word to use there?

In the centre of the haptic quilt is 94 vibration motors, which operate via an electromagnet and are indexed, to ‘control the force and intensity of each individual’. Who’s the individual? What’s their name? I jest but, ya know, attention to detail wouldn’t go amiss.

Currently, the Zura has eight modes: pulse, wave, curves, zigzag, rain, rolls, wind and buzzer. They’re working on more modes and original soundtracks so you can vibrate in peace. Ehehehe.

You work the blanket, designed to be used as a duvet cover, via an app on your phone and the built-in Bluetooth module.

At time of writing, the Zura Haptic Blanket has been pledged £4,346, with 13 days to go to reach a £11,361 target. Oopsie. We may not have to watch this space.



Heeeee heeee. 

Do you look cool? No. Do you look like MJ himself? I hope not. Cos, ya know, the rumours.

Music was great, though.

So, Moonwalkers are apparently the first-ever enhanced mobility device that enables you to ‘walk at the speed of a run’.

You mean it doesn’t make you walk backwards like the moonwalk dance move? FALSE ADVERTISING.

According to the makers, they are fast, safe and nimble, allowing you to navigate busy sidewalks (pavements for the non-lamen) easily.

The shoes’ ergonomic hinge system supposedly allows your foot to naturally bend at your toes, preserving mobility and balance.

The footwear is ‘powered by our artificial intelligence, which uses machine-learning algorithms to move when you move and stop when you stop’. Like a stalker, preying behind you as you walk.

Apparently, the Moonwalkers get you to your destination in half the time, ‘with a 250 per cent increase in your walking speed while manoeuvring through crowds’.

If you’ve seen ‘Twilight’, and the terrible effect of pulling the actors using some sort of treadmill thing to make them seem like they’re walking at a superspeed, it looks ridiculous. Like, who’s idea was that?

Anyway, you’d look as stupid as that.

Because the walkers don’t freewheel like roller skates, you won’t fall into a crumpled heap as you walk down the underground stairs to your next tube train.

You’re welcome.

You apparently change modes using your feet – the footwear has gesture control so you can move between shift and lock. Don’t mistake the shift for the lock, people.

The brushless DC motor in the shoe distributes power across the wheels to get you over uneven terrain, through a ‘precision’ machined gearbox. Sounds like they’re just throwing big words around.

You can zoom up to 7 mph, go for 6.5 miles and the shoes weigh 4.2lbs. You charge the chonky bad boys via a USB-C.

They’ve exceeded their campaign on Kickstarter (£257,255 pledged of £76,030 goal), so we may start seeing these soon.

They may be useful for me when walking my dog on the lead, so I don’t have to jog with him.

Epitome of laziness. Yes.


Hallo Pip’s Storytelling Machine

Get your own teeny poltergeist

‘Pip is a tiny hologram ghost living in a wooden wardrobe on your nightstand.’  

Erm. No thank you.

Sounds like something a haunted young child would say to their parent: “Mother, Pip’s in the little wardrobe, she wants to talk to you...”

Pip is voice-activated and learns from interactions with you with the built-in AI neural network.

When you ask the hologram to tell you a story, Pip will tell you one from the ‘ever-expanding library’ that gets constantly updated.

The Parent App that comes with it lets you set the hours of operation and what stories get told. If you were cruel, you’d set the time for the dead of night and freak your little human out.

Pip can play music, wake you up in the morning, and ‘she’ knows when it’s time for bed. Does she see you when you’re sleeping, does she know when you’re awake?!

Through Wi-Fi, Pip gets new content delivered during the night. Like information on how to murder parents.

The Hallo Pip Storytelling Machine is available in English, Dutch and French for now. The hologram child thing was made to improve concentration by getting kids to read more and what not.

Basically, Pip does all the hard work so you don’t have to, so you can hand off to the hologram who secretly lets your child know how to achieve world domination.

The gadget comes with pins, stickers and a mug.

If you don’t want to spend €500 (?!) for the hologram ghost child, there’s a cardboard version for the sensible family.

There are only five storytelling machines at the moment, so get in there quick if you want to own your own tiny poltergeist!



Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles