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The Wrap: 2 April

Hot glove

Pete Hottelet has a habit of making gadgets that first appeared on TV and movie screens, like marshmallows that immortalised the Stay Puft man from Ghostbusters. Now he’s on Indiegogo with a new venture that pays homage to the Power Glove, the 1980s game controller that made Nintendo known for all the wrong reasons.

Hottelet explains he made a few versions of the glove as an oven mitt for himself and is now offering them on the crowdfunding platform as a reward for a US$39 pledge. At the moment only small-palmed right handers need apply, but if enough support is drummed up there’s be a bigger version and one for southpaws.

Image: Pete Hottelet/Indiegogo

By the numbers

Instagram has beaten the 200 million user mark globally, with more than 20 billion photos shared over the social network since it began. According to the company’s blog, 50 million of those users had joined in the past six months.

“The vibrance and diversity of this community has increased as it has grown,” it said. “Over the past six months, we’ve seen new communities coming together in cities and towns across the world, whether they be in Guthrie, Oklahoma, or Guatemala City.

“With January’s Worldwide InstaMeet 8, we saw record turnouts of communities coming together to form friendships, explore new places and celebrate creativity in all corners of the globe from New Dehli to New York, Bucharest, Nairobi and beyond.”

Get your thinking cap on

Researchers in the US have brought the saying “get your thinking cap on” to life with the creation of an actual cap to ramp up brain power. A study by the psychologists revealed that giving the brain a mild electrical current could enhance or slow our ability to learn. Apparently the electrical stimulus acts on the medial front cortex, believed to be responsible for risk aversion when it comes to making mistakes. Monitoring brain activity after applying the stimulation to test participants showed a less error prone and more adaptable approach to situations, the researchers found. 

Image: Vanderbilt University

Under the microbescope

A new Kickstarter project is adding to the myriad ways the iPhone has been used for superhero-like powers. It’s the Microbescope, a pocket-sized device that works with newer iPhones to magnify microbes as much as 2000 times and record a video for sharing via the smartphone. The creators, 4D Optical, say it can view features of bacteria below one micron and does away with glass slides, knobs and switches.

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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