Cool Stuff to Buy
Shopping - Desktop Stuff
Poptastic Vinyl Vases (Set of Four)
popup vases
Just add water and a flower to turn these colorful plastic pouches into stable flower vases. Coming in four bright colors (red, yellow, blue and green) with a subtle lattice-work pattern, these vinyl vases bring a vibrant sixties pop sensibility to flower arrangement.

While they look great on a bookshelf, they look even better when backlit with sunlight on a window ledge. When not in use, simply stow flat in a drawer. [US$ 34 (for set of four)]
Shopping - Robots
Spunky Wind-Up "Sparky" Robot
Wind-up Sparky Robot
Wind-up Sparky Robot box
This is another classic 1960s diecast toy available again decades after its original maker Noguchi Toys went bankrupt. The replica Sparky Robot is a windup toy that coasts along effortlessly on treads while sparks fly within its chest cavity.

Manufactured in Japan by Ichiko in a limited edition, it stands nearly six inches tall and comes in turquoise green. With its "Lighted Breast and Go Action," Sparky is an inspirational motivator for the universe. [US$ 41]
Ceramic Robots from Yuichi Ijima
Ceramic Robots from Yuichi Ijima
Trends - Design and City
Awesomely Useless Ceramic Robots
Robodo 3
Robodo 2

If all robots were like Robodo, there'd be no reason to fear the impending AI rebellion. These ceramic robots by sculptor Yuichi Ijima look like mindlessly obedient droids with their bulky bodies, powerful arms and flashing lights, but they are merely nostalgic robotic clocks that can barely tell the time, let alone revolt against their human masters.

Their pointless porcelain frames are filled with junk electronic parts, their buttons and switches control nothing apart from uselessly flickering lights.

Prices start at 60,000 yen ($600) for a small Robodo, and while that may seem expensive, it's a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that these feckless bots will always obey Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

Images: Yuichi Ijima

Robodo inside