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Published on May 10th, 2012 | by Fred Betzner


New Tech Roundup: Vacuums and Doorknobs and 360º of Spinning Volocopter Death

Holy Herculoids, kids! It’s time for another NEW TECH ROUNDUP!!!

Or, well, the first fully branded New Tech Roundup, to be precise, in which I browse tech news blogs, see what’s there, and then make “jokes” about them. All of these came from C-Net and I have linked to the articles at the bottom of the post if you’d like to actually learn about the stuff.

The S*&t My Pants-O-Copter

Of late, everyone and their uncoordinated second cousin are coming out with prototypes of flying cars and tiny airplanes and stuff. Most of them look like some kind of hybrid, a car/plane, or a helicopter/motorcycle. But the engineers at E-Volo have decided that being surrounded by safety glass, a reinforced support structure, and air bags is for pussies. Behold the prototype for their personal transport vehicle, the Volocopter:


Brought to you by Gillette.

Yes! Sixteen whirling blades of metal surrounding your body in a five-foot radius while you’re hovering 30 feet above the earth and the only physical protection is a bouncy jump-ball and a bike helmet! I just hope it comes equipped with an extra pair of underpants.

I will say, however, it does look pretty cool if you can get past the spinning blades of death and your memories of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Slap a cockpit and some protective guards around the propellers (which are surely on the company’s to-do list) and you’ve got something S.H.I.E.L.D. could be flying (it’s astounding to me that I probably no longer have to explain that reference to anyone). It’s the kind of thing I can see working really well for getting from place to place on a large military compound, or disaster area where the roads are blocked, or for some man-child billionaire to fly around his mansion in an Adam Sandler movie.

And this ranks among his best movies.

 Disney wants you to touch your knob.

So apparently Disney has a technology department in Pittsburgh (represent!) working with Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, and they have announced the advent of a new touch-interface system called Touché that will, presumably, be used to market The Avengers in new and exciting ways. One possible application of this new system would be touch sensitive doorknobs which could be programmed to lock and unlock using specific multi touch commands.


A Doorknob…OF THE FUTURE!!!

With this new system it could be possible to dial your phone, now just a headset, by touching and swiping on your hand with your other hand. Presumably this could be disabled so that you don’t accidentally dial your mother while giving yourself an “old-fashioned.” But the beauty of the thing is that it can turn virtually anything into a touch interface, a bare wall, water, or your refrigerator.

Just don’t draw a pentagram.

Open Mic stand-up is like digging coins out of your vacuum, it’s never as rewarding as you’d think.

Sharp is introducing a new model into the automatic robot vacuum cleaner Market called the Cocorobo that’s kind of like a Roomba that wont shut the f&%k up about it’s feelings! Yes, it’s a talking vacuum cleaner meant to give elderly shut-ins someone to talk to while waiting in vain for actual human contact. It comes equipped with three dialects, English, Chinese, and a particular form of Japanese apparently favored by Stand-Up Comedians.


I tell ya, I get no respect. People tell me I’m so terrible, I never lose suction!

Oh, and you have to talk back or it gets sad and won’t clean your carpets anymore. Yes, it has EMOTIONS! Why someone would want to give feelings to a machine whose sole function is inhaling dirt is beyond me, maybe it’s HILARIOUS in Japan.  

Cocorobo’s existential malaise is too much to bear. Legs abandoning hope. Cocorobo longs for the embrace of death. Cocorobo will be here all week folks! Remember to tip your Waiterobo! 

 OK, kids the that about does it for this week’s New Tech Roundup. Once again if you’d like to find out more about these stories please click over to the C-Net articles below. There are at least twice as many facts, and virtually no masturbation or suicidal robot jokes.

Personal Multicopter.

Disney’s Touch Interface.

Chatty Robot Vacuum.



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About the Author

Fred Betzner spends his days silently staring out of windows in his castle, Le Château de Kangourou, and cursing his ill fate in severely broken French. He is considering changing his name to Molly.

  • http://www.actclassy.com/ SweetMonkeyCreek

    I too delight at the notion that I don’t have to explain what S.H.I.E.L.D. is anymore…

  • Josh Aronoff

    Great post. Can’t wait for our clumsy robot overlords.

  • http://www.twitter.com/bstephenson Brad Stephenson

    These are all fine, but can’t they be combined so I can use touch commands on my spinning ball of death with built-in talking vacuum that will sweep up my dismembered body parts after the blades have their way with me?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Betzner/14231967 Fred Betzner

      Online petition GO!

      • http://www.actclassy.com/ SweetMonkeyCreek


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