At first after seeing the video, I thought you might have stumbled across something that could be a Saturday Night Live skit. Then I thought, those offices. Pretty cushy for a bunch of young folk that should essentially be operating out of someone's garage if that was their sole offering. Then I realized this is a project orchestrated by a popcorn manufacturing company. (Love their products, BTW--the kettle corn flavor is awesome!). Any way, I guess the Popinator is cool in concept and maybe even innovative if it does indeed incorporate some of that more novel sensing and voice activation technology. But changing the way people eat popcorn and getting them to shell out bucks for a machine like that. Maybe in a dorm room, but I prefer the bag just fine, thank you very much.
Randy Frank may be onto something when he says that a barking dog could potentially trigger this machine (if it actually existed in real ife). It's safe to say that it wouldn't take long for the dog to figure out that it gets a tasy treat everytime it barks.
Beth, I agree, this would definitely be in a hit in the dorms. Throw in the beer-throwing fridge (over 21 only, please), and you'd be the most popular kid on campus!
Cool video, but I can understand why this gadget is not ready for prime time. For one, the algorithm would have to measure individual voices at various distances to determine the trajectory. Even so, it looks like the only configuration is the velocity of the kernel. And that would vary depending on each kernel. Popcorn kernels are certainly not uniform.
Couldn't find video from Saturday Night Live, but did find this mention of the Popinator on SNL Weekend Update in September:
SETH MEYERS – "A new device is being sold called the "Popinator," which is a voice-activated popcorn machine that launches a single piece of popcorn into the user's mouth. The device is activated by the phrase "I'm so lonely.""
Thanks for that clip. It really looked in keeping with the SNL style. Maybe they purposely filmed it that way. Even if the machine was ready for prime time in terms of design and manufacturing ability, I really don't see any kind of market for this behind the goof factor of fraternity's and maybe tech startups where they can put the Popinator to work and down the popcorn with a side of Jolt.
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
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