Can Tech Be Gross? You Bet
The 'Gross-Out' Movement in YouTube
I'll spare you the evidence, but in case you didn't know, there's a whole movement within the YouTube community that posts gross stuff. We're talking about everything from very-personal body functions and grooming to road kill. They compete; they try to out-gross each other. One carefully staged 3-minute video documented the popping of an enormous pimple on the back of some dude's neck. The video had more than 50,000 views.
Actually, after I logged in (to prove I'm of age) to YouTube and searched a little deeper, I encountered some extremely graphic video of things that go far beyond zit-popping--like rectal and gyno exams, pile and hemorrhoid removal, colonoscopies, close-up carpal tunnel surgeries, even various procedures performed on animals. Yuck. Nope, I'm not going to link you to 'em, because I feel kinda ill all of a sudden, and I don't want you to see what I just saw.
It Gets Worse, Much Worse
Of course it gets worse when you venture outside the somewhat-controlled confines of YouTube. Check out this plastic surgeon's site, which contains a series of videos of actual, close-up plastic surgery operations.
Then there are those sites like Rotten.com, which exist simply to disgust and disturb. But I'm gonna declare those sites out of bounds for the purposes of decency. Nor will I discuss sites like Ratemypoo.com and ratemyvomit.com. Too easy.
SAM the Sweating Robot
According to a Reuters report, Scientists at the University of Zurich have developed a robot that sweats. The robot, called SAM (sweating agile mannequin), has 125 "sweat nozzles" distributed all over its synthetic head and body. The thing will be used by clothing manufacturers to develop high-tech fibers capable of sustaining a sweating athlete in freezing conditions, the story goes. I'm still not sure what sort of liquid emerges from the bot's "pores," and frankly, this didn't sound very gross to me at first, but there's something about seeing SAM get sweaty in this video...
Aqua Power System, an eco-friendly Japanese company makes pee-powered batteries called NoPoPo (short for "non-pollution-power"). The product contains a combination of magnesium and carbon that, when mixed with urine (or another common liquid such as water, Diet Coke, or orange juice), produces a small charge. It's a little unclear how you get the pee into the battery (some kind of pipette thing?); right now, the batteries are being sold only to the Japanese, whose aim must be straight and true. Kinda Green, and kinda gross. (Props to OhGizmo! for this one.)
And Now More Porn
During CES last January, I went to a tech showcase event one evening at the Mirage. The event took place in a large banquet room; companies were set up with small booths throughout the room. Hors d'oeuvres were served. I noticed one vendor in the corner of the room had its presentation screens pointing inward, away from the rest of the room. I felt it my duty to investigate.
The company, called FyreTV, sells a small set-top box designed to stream DVD-quality porn movies to a TV. When I stepped back there to talk to the guy, the screenswere displaying some pretty lurid stuff. The most interesting--and slightly creepy--thing about this box is its proprietary search capability. FyreTV has analyzed, categorized, and tagged a mountain of porn video so exhaustively that users can search for and find any sexual scenario or fetish that trips their personal trigger. So much time, labor, and engineering spent just for porn. I remember when all we had was National Geographic and the brassiere ads in the Sears, Roebuck catalogue.
Gross Gaming--Of Course!
There must be some really gross stuff in the gaming world, right? Yep. Our gaming specialist Darren Gladstone suggested a couple of gross (but still presentable on this site) games. First there's Gears of War 2. Gears of War is a third-person-shooter (meaning you're watching the main player's shoulder) game in which a team of special forces-type dudes fight the enemy AI "Locust Horde" with large guns fitted with chainsaws where the bayonet should be, with predictably gory results. I found this "execution montage" video on YouTube showing a variety of "kills" in the game. Fun.
Left 4 Dead is another exceptionally gross game. The game, in which a team of players, the survivors of an "apocalyptic epidemic" must battle hordes of very aggressive zombies who just keep coming and will not quit. It's kinda like a game version of the 28 Days Later movie from a few years back. Anyway, these zombie things blow up real good, and gross, as is demonstrated in this gameplay compilation video.
So that about does it for our little roundup of the grotesque in tech. I'm sure there's more out there, so please feel free to use our message boards to let us know about the gross tech you've seen.
But, you know, keep it somewhat tasteful. We're a family publication.
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