I often think that the smartphone is the Swiss Army knife of the digital age – my iPhone springs forth apps much in the way that that iconic red multi-tool springs forth scissors, nail files, and blades.
But where does that leave the Swiss Army Knife of the analog age? Must it sit in the sidelines, in obsolescence, a curio for Boy Scouts and other survivalists?
Not if Victorinox has anything to do with it. The company now produces a Swiss Army Knife for the 21st century – namely, one that packs a USB stick along with its other, more traditional tools.
PC Mag sums up the different options in the so-called “Flash Collection”: the Victorinox Slim just packs a drive; the Flash Alox Flight also has a knife, scissors, and nail file; the Flash LED adds on a (surprise!) LED flashlight; the Flash Laser has a laser pointer instead. If you want to get heavy duty, there’s the Secure, which only allows you to access the drive by means of your fingerprint. A version called Presentation Master has a laser pointer and Bluetooth remote, for the PowerPoint junkies out there. That last, most tricked-out version runs about $300.
Victorinox has called the thing “unhackable” in the past. And indeed, the company held a contest this year offering a quarter of a million bucks to anyone who could access encrypted information on a Victorinox drive. No one could.
Cuteley, BusinessWeek recently interviewed Major Christoph Brunner, a Swiss Army spokesman, about why Switzerland bothers to have an army at all, if it’s neutral (“To defend the nation and protect the people of Switzerland,” Brunner said simply) and whether Swiss army soldiers are given special training on the knife (“No. That’s not necessary…. It’s not considered a weapon, but a tool.”)
In other words, Swiss Army soldiers use the knives much like our Boy Scouts always have – only now, perhaps, with a digital twist. The new Swiss Army Knife might just make a fine stocking stuffer for that family member who somehow finds himself in the wilderness with a pressing need to securely transfer files.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state
Heat-sensing cameras and face recognition systems may help fight covid-19—but they also make us complicit in the high-tech oppression of Uyghurs.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.