This Water Fueled Jetpack Will Have You Thinking of Summer Long Before You Should


With the possible exceptions of the laser gun and the flying car, I feel the longest running sci-fi tech desire is the jetpack. Though we may have advanced in unthinkable technological ways since the first time someone came up with the idea of strapping rockets to your back and soaring through the world with absolute, and badass, freedom, there still remains a great interest in popular culture concerning the classic idea of the jetpack, despite the number of practical barriers impairing it from existence.

The always entertaining folks at Hammacher and Schlemmer offer up the newest interpretation of the jet pack design, by taking the concept out for a swim with the Hyrdo Powered Jetovator.

This seat with dual throttle controls is powered by a 40 foot hose which supplies the main component the user rides on with enough water to support its three jet propulsion system, which both gets it airborne and keep it afloat. Capable of speeds up to 25 MPH (upwards?), the ferocity of the Jetovator is not in question, nor is its maneuverability, as through the throttles the user can allegedly perform a variety of aerial stunts which include barrel rolls, flips, and even underwater dives.

Though conversations of safety and practicality can often hamper any gadget discussion, here the questions are impossible to ignore as every capture of the Jetovator in action instantly conjures the image of something going terribly, terribly wrong. However, part of the appeal of the jetpack design has always been its carefree disregard of practicality, which is one aspect of the traditional model the Jetovator nails on the head. You can only imagine the sheer joy that comes from using this thing successfully before those brief moments where everything goes terribly, terribly wrong.

I say “only imagine” because with a $7,000 price tag, this isn’t likely to become a household item any time soon. It is a reasonable facsimile of a water fueled jet pack though, and is well worth cozying up to as many rich folk as possible just on the off chance they’ll purchase one for the summer and let you have a go on what just may be the most dangerously exciting aquatic gadget produced yet.


Popular Motion Technology “Leap” Reaches Deal With HP

Back in May of last year (essentially prehistoric times in technology talk) I wrote about the Leap Motion, a movement based control system for PCs that was rapidly gaining popularity in tech circles thanks to some impressive demos that had people wondering if it may just be the first viable motion based system. Fast forward to the present day, and the Leap continues to gain popularity for its non-invasive and highly functional design that not only amazes with its abilities, but its practicality as well.

HP seems to feel the same, as they’ve recently unveiled a new model of their Envy laptop line that will come with the Leap Motion installed, a first in the computer industry.

While most of the Leap’s functions are still focused on simple navigation tricks that are especially handy for the Windows 8 OS the Envy will sport, you’ll also get several specifically designed programs for the device pre-installed, such as a 3D modeler and five Leap based games when you purchase the $1,050 laptop.

Of course, as with many motion devices, the idea of buying a Leap or this Envy is the idea that you are buying into a future where several thousand programs and applications exist either specifically for the Leap, or with available support for it. While the impressive amount of currently available apps suggests that is not a future without hope, its still technology that is far from standard.

As such this Envy may be an early adopter’s buy, but it looks to be a pretty damn nice one. So while the Envy’s overall specs will probably be a better indicator as to the validity of the machine as an overall purchase for the average consumer, as Kinect owners will tell you, even when motion controls don’t always exhibit their full potential, they tend to still remain impressively entertaining.


French Fry Vending Machine….That is All

While there is some debate if we have the Belgians or the French to thank for the french fry, it’s an argument that’s now entirely irrelevant as the Belgians have recently perfected the food by creating a french fry vending machine.

Now unlike those crappy hot fries Andy Capp has been trying to pawn off on you for years, these vending machine fries are the real deal, as for about $3.40 you get a cup of crispy fries just like momma used to buy them from your favorite fast food joint, and even a complimentary squirt of mayonnaise or ketchup.

You may have some, very valid, questions concerning the quality of vending machine french fries, and some equally worrisome queries regarding how well vending machine condiments hold up, but frankly not wanting a cup of french fries and dipping sauce for under 4 bucks in about a minute and a half is simply un-American.

Of course for the moment this machine of wonder and fried joy is only available in Belgium, but if you think there is a chance a machine that dispenses cheap bad decisions for your supposed nourishment won’t be coming stateside, you simply haven’t been paying attention the last half century or so.


Generate a Touch Screen Almost Anywhere With This New Software by Ubi

Touch screens have become so commonplace that it’s difficult to remember the thrill the mere idea of them once generated, or recreate that rush you got from actually using one the first time.

They are still incredible pieces of technology despite their prominence, and to help remind you of that comes a system called Ubi interactive that turns any hard surface into a touch screen.

Developed over several years by Ubi, and sponsored by Microsoft, the program uses a special projector, the always impressive (except when it comes to gaming) Kinect sensor, and a compatible PC. The projector displays the PC image onto the surface of your choice, and the Kinect lets you interact with it using many of the same gestures you do to interact with the touch screen of your favorite device.

The demo video shows off several uses for this tech (from museum guides, to boardroom presentations and retail displays) but from the looks of the technology’s accessibility and functionality, there are few public venues or businesses that don’t have some use for this technology, even if it is largely to make a cosmetic improvement over an existing function. Even in the home, where the Ubi loses some practicality, I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine an entertaining use or two.

Considering that the basic package of this software runs $499, you probably won’t be seeing as many companies that can potentially use this tech actually implement it, but this looks to be a finely honed piece of technology that will be popping up in offices, classrooms, and more very soon, and reminding everyone who encounters it just how incredible touchscreen technology is.


The War on Mosquitoes May Have Just Gotten Easier

Along with death and taxes, we’ve just come to accept mosquitoes as an inevitability. Sure there are a host of devices out there that promise to keep them away, but ultimately all of the Off spray and ultrasonic replants in the world won’t save you completely from bites. Come every summer then, we either accept the annoyance, or hunker down with a few complete series DVD’s or the latest grabs from the Steam sale to keep us inside until winter.

Despite this, it seems there is at least one annual invention that promises to solve the problem for good. Some may be more effective that others, but if any of them worked like they said, tales of mosquito horror would have turned into campfire stories, around campfires not burdened by a single flying bloodsucker.

Put away that well supported cynicism regarding these solutions, however, and you may see the newest of those inventions, the Kite Patch, might actually be different.

Designed from findings over years of research, the Kite is a small wearable square patch that effectively blocks a mosquito’s ability to read  the CO2  from your body that draws them in the first place, thanks to a multi-step system that works for up to 48 hours

The important thing to understand, though, in thinking this approach may be different, is realizing that the Kite wasn’t designed to repel mosquitoes at the backyard BBQ, but rather to repel them in areas of the world where they are one of the top killers. In fact, the true field test for the Kite will take place in Uganda where malaria cases are some of the worst in the world.

That effort of providing the Kite to the areas that really need it is brought to the forefront on the product’s indiegogo page, where all contributions send the Kites to families in Africa, and other problem regions, while only larger amounts net you some personal ones as well (assuming you’re in the US).

Already the Kite has surpassed its goal by around $200,00 with over a month to go.

With a good idea built around good intentions, it would be a shame if the Kite goes the way of the sonic emitter and becomes yet another curiosity at the museum of the war against mosquitoes. Given everything shown so far though, we could finally be looking at the real deal.