Best of web: end of iPhones; cloned meat sale...

'My dog ate my iPhone'

Weirdest iPhone insurance claims revealed

The list of bizarre ways for iPhones to meet their end was compiled by online insurers They also helpfully made a list of the top ten most common reasons for iPhone death - which include cracked screens, having it nicked, leaving it on the car roof then driving off, and dropping it in the bath.

Here's a compilation of the top 10 strangest ways for iPhone breakages (in no particular order)

1. I dropped it from a hot air balloon

2. I lost it while sky diving

3. It broke when my son used it as a table tennis racket

4. I lost it while building a sand castle for the kids

5. I accidentally buried it in the garden

6. It fell into the kettle

7. I dropped it in a food blender

8. My dog chewed it to pieces

9. Juice from a defrosting piece of meat leaked into it

10. It flew out of the car window


Sale of cloned meat gets the go-ahead

British minister rejects ban of unrestricted sale of meat and milk from cloned animals despite health and animal welfare fears, reports Daily Mail.

Mionisters reject the idea of a ban as ‘disproportionate in terms of food safety and animal welfare’ even as most consumers oppose the move on ethical grounds.

Campaigners are also fearful about eating clone food from so-called Frankenfarm animals amid concerns there has been too little research to guarantee its safety, said the newspaper.

The RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming point to high levels of miscarriage, organ failure and gigantism among new-born clones.

The policy, drawn up on the orders of the controversial Conservative Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, would also rule out labelling.

The details emerged in a document published by the Food Standards Agency in Britain. 


Woman dials 999 to report a snowman theft

Police officials took a dim view of when a woman made an 'emergency' call to report the theft of a snowman from outside her house, reports Metro.

The woman reasoned that the matter warranted investigation because she'd used pound coins for the eyes and teaspoons for the arms.

Police authorities described the call to the newspaper as 'completely irresponsible', especially in light of the fact that the sub-zero conditions led to thousands of extra calls flooding their lines.


Soon, your smartphone can be remote too

Controlling a small ball with a smartphone is just the tip of the iceberg for entrepreneur Ian Bernstein.

The 27-year-old's Boulder, Colorado-based startup, Orbotix has developed a robotic ball named Sphero that can be rolled around using a smartphone, in much the same manner as remote-controlled cars.

"One night I was just playing with my phone and realized that you can text and download all these cool apps and check your email but why can't you control physical devices around you?" said Bernstein, who has also used the technology to open garage doors and unlock cars. "I thought, I can make this happen and make it easier for other people to do this as well."

Bernstein, who said he's built robots since age 12, came up with the initial idea to move physical objects with a smartphone and sought help from his co-founder and chief software architect, Adam Wilson, to figure out how to do it. Over the summer, the pair graduated from Boulder's startup incubator program TechStars, which also invested $12,000 in the venture for a 6-percent equity stake.

Orbotix has since completed an undisclosed Series A funding round, led by Boulder-based venture capital firm Foundry Group.

Targeting gamers, Orbotix hopes to launch a new sumo-wrestling game using Sphero next month at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, barring any technical hurdles. He said Orbotix hopes to start selling the ball sometime next year for under $100.

"We make money from both the physical sale of the balls, but we also make money on the application sales," Bernstein said, adding that another possible revenue stream would be from mobile-app companies that build on top of their technology. "They can make revenue from those apps and we can take a small percentage."

Another potential use for the technology would be to help physically-challenged people control objects around them more easily, said Bernstein. He added it might be a preferable alternative to carrying a "pocket full of keys or a pile of remotes."

"We make it very easy for companies to integrate this technology and make their devices mobile-device controlled," Bernstein said, who is working on additional Sphero games such as golf and a "cat app" that would allow users to play with their pets. "Right now we're just focusing on entertainment devices."


Orbotix chief executive Paul Berberian said 70 percent of apps for the Android and iPhone mobile devices are entertainment or game-related. He added that "hot" consumer electronic devices can sell in the millions of units in the US and internationally. Asia could also be a very strong market for Orbotix because of the huge interest in robotics, he said.

Berberian acknowledges that there are challenges up ahead.

"Trying to be in market in 2011 is actually pretty aggressive for a consumer electronics device," Berberian said, noting the seven-employee company won't make any money this year and joked that by the end of 2011 revenues "will be something greater than zero and probably less than $20 million."

Berberian said the company must conduct a big marketing push to get the device into major retailers and online stores. Despite the challenges, he remains optimistic. "We're changing the way people interact with the real world."


Print Email