People love gadgets, because gadgetry is cool. The first time I surpassed a line at a busy movie theater by using my phone to get tickets, I felt like a king and wanted to spit in the face of every lowly peasant in my way. That’s how awesome technology is when you first use it. Then you get distracted by a bright light and run off elsewhere, but that one, special moment with technology made a wrinkle in your brain, and it’ll be there until you drink it away.
While most gadgets require you to go to a store and buy them, every so often the place where we live goes out of its way to be awesome and puts fun technology out on the streets for everyone to enjoy! This is about that.
5 German Crossing Pong
Can you think of anything worse than waiting to cross a street in Germany? Before you answer, allow me to answer for you with a simple no. Were you going to suggest being forced at gunpoint to lick a rat’s butthole? Ha ha ha! Wrong. Dead German crosswalk wrong. Don’t ever look me in the eye again.
In Germany, crossing the street kills more people per year than crack, maybe. Because of this, back in 2012 some German students hatched an idea to rig up a game of Pong on alternate traffic poles so that pedestrians could keep themselves busy. It was just a concept back then, but now, in the futuristic utopia of 2015 Germany, it’s a reality! You can play Pong with another pedestrian on a street corner somewhere in Hildesheim, Germany.
The game is pretty simplistic, obviously. It’s Pong. But it’s played out on a touch screen, sort of like playing with a phone someone strapped to a crosswalk. Never will you endure 30 seconds of bored lack of motion again. Not at that one corner.
Ladies, this one doesn’t apply to you so why don’t you just make yourself comfy, maybe take a few boudoir photos for me. As for the dudes: This is the be all and end all of pee convenience. Well, no, just pissing on a tree still wins that. Or the side of a Sbarro. But this is civilization’s answer to that — the super futuristic Urilift, a toilet that hides underground out on the street when you don’t need it but raises up like a urine-soaked elevator when you do.
Ladies, did you take the pics? Because I totally tricked you! God, I’m sly. The Urilift company didn’t leave you out in the cold; they also have the Urilady, which is their name for a toilet. It’s just a toilet. But it raises from the ground in a steel cylinder as well and could probably never lower back into the ground with you helplessly inside it. I mean, that would be absurd.
The basic idea behind these creations is that you need toilets in public but no one wants to see the dirty things all day. So in the sunlight hours you hide them in the streets and pretend no one in the world eliminates waste and between our butt cheeks is just a geranium. Then, after work, good people go home to their families and drunken disgraces wander the streets of Europe (and one Canadian city), and as the sun sets these urinals can pop up like starving piss vampires and prevent those pathetic shells from pissing on themselves, or others, or that Sbarro.
3 Trampe Cyclocable
The Trampe Cyclocable is the coolest-named invention on this list if you mispronounce and misunderstand the word “Trampe” and just use it as you would “trampy” while presuming that this in some way moves promiscuous ladies around a town somewhere in Europe. And the cool thing is that could be an accurate definition. It’s all about context.
For the most part, though, the Cyclocable is a device that exists only in Trondheim, Norway. And while promiscuous ladies can use it, so can anyone. It’s a lift system to help your sorry ass get your bike up a hill.
The history of the slutty Cyclocable is a fun one. Back in 1992, a cyclist in Norway was going up a hill and basically thought, “The fuck is this?” and proceeded to develop a way to not have to go through that bullshit again. His creation is a tiny footplate on a track that extends the length of the hill. Imagine an escalator that someone completely fucked up and made less beneficial to the public as a whole. It’s just one step, for one foot only, and you have to stay on your bike, but you put your right foot on the plate and it pushes you and your bike up the hill.
The fact that the hill is steep but not that steep may make you think everyone in Norway has the leg strength of a Gumby, and you may be right, but that doesn’t change the fact that a ski lift for your bike is still vaguely cool.
2 The Trashless City
If you’re like me, you’re pretty. Also, every time garbage day comes around, you put on a leather-and-steel Mad Max-esque dystopian battle suit and rage against the trash you’ve accumulated in a bloody and violent scrum that ends only when one of your neighbors is left brutalized in the ditch having learned never to question how you take out the trash ever again.
Lucky for you and me, Songdo, South Korea, is waiting on the other side of the planet to make our lives easier. How? Well, there is no garbage day in Songdo. Every building in what some people call the most high-tech city in the world is connect by a series of pipes. These pipes suck trash from all homes and businesses to an underground facility where it’s sorted and either recycled, buried, or turned into fuel. It’s full-on Jetsons-style craziness.
Ten years ago Songdo was just a swampy patch of nothingness where some fisherman made a living. Then the government dropped tons of sand and $35 billion on it, and now it’s a technological marvel, even if it’s not finished and barely anyone lives there yet. The upside is that there’s plenty of room there for you if you’re sick of sorting trash and just want to dump everything in a hole where some other people will sort it out.
1 Glow-In-The-Dark Roads
Do you know what the biggest hazard is when driving at night? I’ll give you a hint: It involves the fact that you can’t see shit in the dark because you’re not a lemur or some kind of hyena-man. How do we adapt? Well, according to legend, back in aught six, Gerald Ford and Tim Chrysler-Building beat the shit out of Thomas Edison and invented the headlight. But even that has limited capabilities and tends to show you only about 45 yards dead ahead at night.
Leave it to the Europeans to not settle for the weak shit that is a headlight and decide that, if lighting cars is weak, then lighting roads must be strong. Our innovative friends in the Netherlands have created glow-in-the-dark highways so you can combine safe driving with the feeling of being at a rave. A lonesome rave where dancing will lead to exploding airbags and carnage.
The roads are pretty simple in concept. There’s no Internet connection or gigabuggers tooling around in the cement; it’s just glow-in-the-dark paint. Charged by the sun, the paint glows for upwards of 10 hours after dark, greatly increasing visibility over typical highway lines. They have plans to use temperature-sensitive paint in the future, to give you help for cold driving and various other hijinks that don’t exist yet and are therefore irrelevant to the thrill of driving on glowing, green roads.