What will those kids at MIT think of next? James Patten, a Ph.D. candidate in the Tangible Media Group at MIT's famed Media Lab, has created a "Corporate Fallout Detector, which "reads barcodes off of consumer products, and makes a noise similar to a gieger counter of varying intensity based on the social or environmental record of the company that produces the product. " Patten's purpose: It's difficult for consumers trace corporate actions through the maze of corporate ownership, and find who is really responsible.
There is a Quicktime video of the CFD being used to measure various products. Now, Gothamist has some issues with it, like the camerawork (get a better DP next time, James) and needing more information about how high the readings were for the products, relative to each other, plus needing a white paper or too, but we have to hand it to Patten: Constructing something out of "a discarded steel computer case, cut on a waterjet cutter and bent with a metal brake," with a "SaJe microcontroller and a Wasp barcode scanner," well, that takes some doing. [Thanks, Glenn]
Gothamist on another MIT device: Robotic Snail