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Electronic News & Comment

Can You Make the Popinator Work?

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Beth Stackpole
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Parody or innovative project?
Beth Stackpole   10/11/2012 7:15:10 AM
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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.

naperlou
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Re: Parody or innovative project?
naperlou   10/11/2012 10:12:06 AM
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How about a parodyof an innovative product? 

Actually, the system to detect the sound and figure out where to put it should not be too difficult.  On the other hand, variability in the popcorn itself could pose a problem, I would think.

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: Parody or innovative project?
Jennifer Campbell   10/11/2012 10:37:33 AM
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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!

Jon Titus
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One kernel at a time?
Jon Titus   10/11/2012 10:46:09 AM
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Good grief, it would take all night to eat popcorn one popped kernel at a time.  I go for a big tub and eat it by the handful.  Maybe the Popinator could "shoot" a burst of popcorn at a time.

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: One kernel at a time?
Jennifer Campbell   10/11/2012 10:51:33 AM
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Make it happen, Jon. Now that I would like to see!

naperlou
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Re: One kernel at a time?
naperlou   10/11/2012 10:53:26 AM
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So, Jon, would it respond to the gurgling sound you make when your mouth is full?  This could get complicated, although I think there is a chip for that.

Charles Murray
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Re: Parody or innovative project?
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 11:40:45 AM
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Beth, I think Saturday Night Live already mentioned the Popinator. I didn't see it, but if you Google "popinator" and "SNL," it comes up.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: One kernel at a time?
Rob Spiegel   10/11/2012 11:46:01 AM
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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.

Charles Murray
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Re: Parody or innovative project?
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 12:13:35 PM
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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.""

http://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/networks/nbcentertainment/saturdaynightliveweekendupdatethursday/pressreleases?pr=contents/press-releases/2012/09/21/highlightsfroms1348244344394.xml

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Parody or innovative project?
Beth Stackpole   10/12/2012 8:17:06 AM
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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.

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