Charles’ CES 2018 Insanity Tour Part II: Revenge of the 30-Foot Wearable Blockchain Vape-as-a-Service

Friday, January 12th, 2018 @ 6:38 | Events

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-everyone, presumably

Here we go! Following up on my CES adventures on Sunday and Monday, here’s a rundown on everything which I selectively came across on Tuesday through Wednesday when I went exhibit floor touring. It’s currently Friday the 12th PST, so the last part will probably come after I escape the Las Vegas moral deficiency field. Trust me, I have plenty to report about.

Like, have you ever been to CES? If you haven’t, then boy do I have the rundown for you! CES is more or a less a 6-figure-attendance professional-oriented orgy of…

it’s a company-making company which gets companies in the company of other companies. buffalo

…ambiguous sounding business plans…

…autonomusly delivering things which probably don’t need autonomous delivery, and…


…adding buzzwords to your product architecture because ok, why the hell not, literally everyone around me is doing it. Seriously, Blockchain-Everything is the cool kid thing to do this year. I made sure to ask basically every blockchain-based service I came across why a blockchain architecture would make their service different or improved from others. I’m actually not sure if I received a satisfactory answer, at least a clear and upfront one.

By the way, I was seriously confused about the size of the Robomart for a moment – they began pitching to me when I saw the scale model on the display stand, and it took a few moments for me to realize it was supposed to be the size of a small bus, due to my previous familiarity with smaller delivery rovers. I had asked them what prevents thieves from simply making off with the unit (assuming it was the size shown).

And then, the vaping.

There were plenty of ways to vape all kinds of things. I know I joke about vaping a lot on this website in the context of millennial-centered hardware hobbies (such as drones, cryptocurrency mining, VR/AR, literal vaping. etc.), but it was getting to be almost comically self-reinforcing here. Recall my photo from last time which showcased a custom flavored vape juice mixer. Shown above is a company which promises to let you vape your medicines. One guess as to which ‘medicine’ they’re launching with.

I was not permitted to take a photo of their top secret medical vape, however. That would be, you know, potentially leaking information to competitors.

Wait, you mean renting a $5,000+ trade show booth with traffic of nearly 200,000 cumulative people and putting your devices on display in a glass case front and center…. isn’t? Right then. Take another hit, brave souls!

So onto the things I came here for! We begin with a tour of cute scooters. Do you remember when I had to make my own adorable scooters by hand right here on this website?

Now I don’t even have to do anything! The story of first-world consumerism.

This one was found actually at the SureFly demo – it’s a Hover-1 XLS, which seems to have come out mid last year. Maybe you can get one with your SureFly when you place a pre-order.

This thing seems inspired by the Honda Moto Compo scooter in some way. It’s actually two-wheel drive, using two 10″ wheels with hub motors.


Right next to them is a Scooters-as-a-Service company. If you thought throngs of tourists riding city-sponsored rent-a-bikes were terrifying…

The scooters in question are a commoditized (genericized) design that uses 6″ wheels with a single rear hub motor, usually 350W rated. Similar in size (a bit bigger) to my own RazEr Revolution with its 5″ wheels.

I liked this thing a lot. It collapses down by having its wheels fold into the binocular-looking frame, and then the handle and seat also telescope downwards!

Did you notice that every cute scooter on display used small hub motors? Remember when I had to make my own small hub mot…. ahhh, fuck it.

Really though – the hoverboard fad of yesteryear and electric longboard craze before that truly commoditized the small electric hub motor and made designing compact derpy vehicles incredibly easy. Before that, making said vehicles was tough because of the need to house power transmission components. I really want to see a return of older concepts like the Motorboard which were hampered by having to be DC motored and nickel or even lead-batteried.


Oh, now we’re talking. This thing is made by Vandenhall, and is effectively two Zero Motorcycles joined at the ass. Sadly, no test rides!


And then there’s…. uhhh…. How the hell did you guys even get this up here on the second floor of the LVCC?

Alright, it took me a little while to figure out what was going on, but apparently this RV appliance company has decided to break into the mech racing industry with these Theo Jansen-esque piloted machines. That’s a hell of a pivot. All you need to complete it is a pinch of blockchain and to demo it at Burning Man… Or you go FULL KODAK.


It’s like y’all made the whole thing from shock absorbers. To be fair, it probably needs them.

I spent quite a while staring at this thing actually, at the steel work and geometry of all the legs and how they attach across joints. This is no small feat, and I admire the work put into it. In fact, I might have taken some notes for Overhaul 3 my vaping rig.

As overproduced and dramatized as their promotion video is, I still have a soft spot for impractical machines made just because. I mean, I practically got my degree in it….

Speaking of impractical machines, boy have I got the impractical machine for you.

Behold, the amazing flying mushroom, #YOLOCOPTER Volocopter (you left that one wide open, guys).

From its humble beginnings as a German guy bouncing on a yoga ball, it’s become the current poster child of the nascent personal drone & air taxi industry. I watched this thing grow up on Youtube, shedding its yoga ball (….watched its balls drop?), gain somehow even more propellers – now 18 instead of 12, and I’m finally standing in front of it.

I remember when I was younger and “invented” or conceptualized things I wanted to build using my then limited engineering knowledge and parts experience. Once I gained more experience, I realized that they were usually not how you’d do something practically or economically at all, but DAMMIT THEY WERE THE ROMANTIC WAY.

I will one day build an electric car with a 2 foot diameter custom-made ironless double-sided-rotor outrunner. And you can’t stop me.

What I’m saying is, I’m jaded. I can’t help but wonder nowadays if there is a better solution than rotor spam. I’m a little more in the SureFly camp here, I think – use larger industrial EV parts for this kind of thing rather than a blockchain of smaller distributed hobby motors.

Those are some adorable Hacker Q150s you have there. 18 of them. Wait, that’s $2160 USD as of right now, per motor…. That’s like $40,000 of Hacker motors. I’m sure they are getting a quantity deal, but add in another $40,000 of Hacker ESCs needed to run these, because I’m sure they are using matched Hacker or at least other German ESCs, and a load of batteries…. and you’re looking at 6-figures just for the little spores that go on the mushroom, nevermind all the polished white carbon fiber work.

I can’t even begin to even the intelligence of producing this as-is, but I love it. It’s what high school Charles would have done, and he is always correct.

Marketing bros claimed their propellers were fully custom-made in house. Well, they were partially correct I guess. This super-long perv-shot I took revealed a propeller part number from a manufacturer called Helix. However, it seems to be custom by them, given the non-presence of a 1.8 meter option and the “VC” in the part number.


I’ll part this one with the greatest device presented at CES, laddercopter. See the toolbox wedged between the two ladder rungs in the middle? That’s the batteries. And yep – you’re supposed to ride it. The creators, however, have yet to be fortitudinous to actually try that.



  • More About the #RobotTrapShop and Building Up a New Workspace
  • A New Beginning: The 17th Chapter; Back to the A-Town
  • Robot Ruckus at Orlando Maker Faire: How to Somewhat Scale-Model Test Your BattleBots
  • Überclocker 5: Finishing Up The Everything Else
  • Überclocker 5.0: In Which I Actually Have to Build the Bot, Not Just Talk About It
  • Überclocker 5.0: The Big Post of Designy-Stuff
  • The Overhaul of the Future Begins Now: Überclocker 5.0 (Also, Welcome Back to Robots)
  • Operation RESTORING BROWN Part 7: The Epilogue; or, Dragon Con 2019
  • Operation RESTORING BROWN Episode VI: Return of the Van Lights; the Conclusion
  • Late Stage #PostmodernRobotics: Welcome to Your Waifu is Trash, the Robot Dumpster Fire

    One Response to “Charles’ CES 2018 Insanity Tour Part II: Revenge of the 30-Foot Wearable Blockchain Vape-as-a-Service”

    1. John Says:

      The last photo of the ladder thing links to the wrong photo, Click it to enbiggen you get shock absorber bot.