Victorinox Presentation Master – the Swiss Army Knife that reads fingerprints and controls powerpoint — Gadling review

Despite 2700 different booths, probably close to 50,000 new product announcements, and a whole assortment of 3D TV’s, the coolest product I came across at this years CES was a USB drive. Obviously not just any USB drive – imagine a USB drive with the strongest encryption possible, a fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth presentation remote, laser pointer and more.

Best of all, this product isn’t the result of someone taping together some components in their basement – it comes from Victorinox, the people behind the original Swiss Army Knife. It is called the “Swiss Presentation Master”, and it looks (and feels) like a Swiss Army Knife.

The product was actually announced at the 2009 CES, but this year, they finished development, and are getting very close to being able to sell you one.

Now, before you point out the logical flaw in flying with a Swiss Army Knife, remember that they also make “flight” versions of some of their products, like the SwissFlash Flight we reviewed last year.

The new Swiss Presentation Master is an absolutely amazing piece of technology. Inside a device not much larger than a normal USB drive, the Swiss designers were able to include a laser pointer, Bluetooth remote with 2 buttons (for presentation control), a removable 8GB, 16GB or 32GB flash drive WITH AES encryption and fingerprint scanner AND of course a knife, scissors and a nail file / screwdriver.

The USB portion of the Presentation Master can be removed. A USB extension cable is included.

If you own a SwissFlash USB drive – you’ll be happy to know that you can swap the drives out. This means you can mix and match drives and knives, which is especially handy if you’d like a version with, and without a blade.

The designers did not stop with the knife itself – on the flash drive is an entire suite of applications designed with travelers in mind.

The Victorinox Secure application allows you to create secure files on the Presentation Master itself or on your own hard drive, allowing access through a password or fingerprints. This means you can use your USB drive to secure files on any other drive.

Victorinox Secure also provides Outlook synchronization, file syncing and backup as well as a really cool browser security feature. This allows you to start your browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) and store cookies, temp. files and favorites on your secure USB key instead of leaving “cookie crumbs” on a public computer. And finally, it can act as a secure password storage device, only revealing your passwords when you swipe your finger.

The Bluetooth remote control is simple – you pair the Swiss Presentation Master with your computer, and the two arrow buttons can control Powerpoint presentations, or any other task that can be operated with the left or right arrow.

The final, and possibly most mind blowing feature is an actual self destruct feature. If the drive detects someone trying to hack their way into your files, it will physically blow itself up. Obviously, this doesn’t involve explosives, but the developer of the Swiss Presenter had a unit with him that had deliberately been blown up, and the memory chip really is blow to pieces inside its case.

Victorinox are so confident that they have developed the most secure USB drive in the world, that they were offering a $100,000 prize to anyone that could access the data stored on a drive at their CES booth. As the show came to an end, nobody had succeeded in hacking their way into the drive.

The Victorinox Presentation Master will be available soon, and prices have not yet been determined. A booth representative revealed that you’d need to bring about $300 to get your hands on one. There is no denying that this price is steep – but if you really value the security of your data, and you’d like a drive even the border police can’t access, then this may be the best option out there. The added bonus of a laser pointer and Bluetooth remote just make a great product even better.