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Toast to Space Travel With Zero-Gravity Champagne

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Space tourism just got a lot fancier.

Champagne* house G.H. Mumm teamed with design agency Spade to create a zero gravity-friendly bottle of bubbly.

A “groundbreaking feat of technology,” Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar is the fizzy lifting drink of Willy Wonka’s dreams.

The high-tech bottle—crafted from transparent glass and embellished with the company’s signature sash—is divided into two chambers.

The alcohol resides in the upper portion, above a finger-controlled valve that uses the champagne’s own carbon dioxide to expel liquid, which emerges from the top as a foam.

(Not so different from the froth ejected by a shaken bottle of sparkling wine.)

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“The big design challenge for Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar was actually getting the liquid out of the bottle,” according to Spade founder Octave de Gaulle.

An aluminum ring at the top of the bottle regulates flow; simply rotate the carafe to release bubbles, which drinkers can scoop out of the air using a long-stemmed glass (that looks more like a wine stopper than a snifter).

Surface tension makes the floating droplets adhere to the cup, so it can be easily raised to the lips or clinked together without spilling.

“By rising to this new challenge, Mumm defies gravity and once again pushes the limits of innovation,” Louis de Fautereau, global brand director of Mumm, said in a statement. “This revolutionary bottle illustrates the Maison’s status as an icon of the avant-garde.”

The novelty of the Grand Cordon Stellar extends beyond its casing, though; unique conditions of weightlessness change the drinker’s experience, too. After all, there’s nothing on Earth to quite compare to the effervescent ball of foam that squeezes out of this bottle.

Cheers! (via G.H. Mumm/YouTube)

“It’s a very surprising feeling,” Mumm’s Cellar Master Didier Mariotti explained of consuming the champagne. “Because of zero gravity, the liquid instantly coats the entire inside of the mouth, magnifying the taste sensations. There’s less fizziness and more roundness and generosity, enabling the wine to express itself fully.”

Following this month’s debut, Mumm hopes its “revolutionary” wine-tasting experience will be available “soon”—starting with zero-gravity flights organized by Novespace, a subsidiary of France’s National Center for Space Studies.

“For the last 40 years, space travel has been shaped by engineers rather than designers,” de Gaulle said. “Instead of seeing zero gravity as a problem to be solved, we look at it as a design possibility.”

Alcohol is rife with innovation: Beer is now infused with marijuana and ingredients to help men … rise to the occasion. For more, check out Geek’s gift guide to cocktails and booze.

* I can’t be the only one who, without fail, mentally pronounces “champagne” like Christopher Walken’s The Continental, right?

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Autonomous Sexbots Are the Future

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In a 2017 TEDx talk, University of London lecturer and writer Kate Devlin pointed out that “There are no actual sex robots in production yet—just dolls.”

What a difference a year makes.

Chinese robotics developer DS Doll is currently working on the world’s first autonomous sex robot.

According to Daily Star, the Dalian-based firm is 3D-printing component parts for its AI-powered humanoid. The advanced technology helps boost production speed and efficiency, allowing for the mass production of sexy cyborgs.

Able to move its eyes, mouth, head, shoulders, and arms, the first prototype is “almost complete,” DS Doll told the UK tabloid; engineers are putting the finishing touches on the mobile legs.

A slew of video clips shared via the company’s Twitter account highlight the unnamed android’s … talents: Watch her shake to life before fitfully stretching her arms and turning her silicone head.

Not exactly the smooth operator you’d hope to bed, the electronic skeleton is designed to mimic the human body. DS Doll uses 3D printing to develop and stamp out specific, uniform shapes. It can even scan full human bodies and prototype parts for replication.

The company constructs 400 custom models each month; its premium-range mannequins sell for around $5,000.

“We are still in the researching process,” DS Doll chief development officer Qiao Wu told the Daily Star.

“The full-body robot will have more physical expression to help with human communication,” he explained. “One day, we hope the robot can be used in etiquette, presentation, human companionship, front-desk services, and other areas.”

Sex dolls (because Devlin’s right—most of these devices are nothing more than life-sized hunks of plastic with no understanding of consent) have come a long way from the tacky, low-grade inflatable masturbation toys of yore.

They still have a long way to go, though.

The line between man and machine continues to blur. Which is why activists are calling for sex robot regulations. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sex robots (but were afraid to ask) and more here.

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SpaceX Signs First Private Passenger For Lunar Flight

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DIY a Desktop Arcade Cabinet With Retro Picade Kit

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This is the year of retro gaming: Classic titles are reappearing on modern consoles, and nostalgic appliances are reappearing as modern consoles.

So it’s no surprise that hobbyist electronic firm Pimoroni recently launched a redesigned version of its Raspberry Pi-powered mini arcade machine.

Unveiled in August, the build-it-yourself Picade features authentic controls, a high-res 4:3 display, and a “punchy speaker to hear those 8-bit game soundtracks at their best.”

The kit takes about two to three hours to build (according to the experts who created it). All you need is a Raspberry Pi, micro-SD card, power supply, and £150 ($198) to spare.

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The original Picade was introduced in 2012 as the UK’s first Kickstarter project, collecting more than £74,000 ($98,000) toward a £33,000 ($44,000) goal.

Six years later, Pimoroni has updated its “ultimate desktop retro arcade machine,” now more compact, with a better display, dedicated power button, and Picade X HAT “packed full of useful features.”

Fans may also notice splashier artwork and packaging. Each Picade comes with “a bunch of extra goodies,” like an enamel pin, sticker selection, poster, and assembly instructions.

In an effort to drum up interest in the new toy, Sheffield-based Pimoroni asked folks around the world to come up with a retro game concept that would suit the new Picade.

Entries from the UK, Europe, and US included hand-drawn posters, punny titles, and “screenshots.” Ultimately, the team behind Trolley Wars—a Supermarket Sweep-like game—won for its “simplicity and button-bashing of arcade favorites of old.”

New packaging for a new machine (via Pimoroni)

Everything old is new again, and arcade cabinets are no exception: British manufacturer STOA last year rolled out custom-built cupboards, each handcrafted from start to finish for one or two players.

In place of traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, STOA uses modern LCD screens, with the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the Picade. Every device comes with a curated selection of games (Ms. Pac-Man, Street Fighter II, Paperboy, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, etc.), tailored to the client’s preference and design.

You can do anything with a Raspberry Pi and a little imagination: DIY a Spotify speaker, upcycle a karaoke machine, track foosball scores. Check out our recent Geek Pick, the Retroflag SUPERPi case for Nintendo lovers. And stay up to date on all things Raspberry Pi here.

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