Microchip Implants for Employees? One Company Says Yes

On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.

The program — a partnership between Three Square Market and the Swedish company Biohax International — is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, but it has already been done at a Swedish company, Epicenter. It raises a variety of questions, both privacy- and health-related.

“Much to my surprise, when we had our initial meeting to ask if this was something we wanted to look at doing, it was an overwhelming majority of people that said yes,” said Todd Westby, the chief executive of Three Square, noting that he had expected more reluctance. “It exceeded my expectations. Friends, they want to be chipped. My whole family is being chipped — my two sons, my wife and myself.”

Flawless live translation technology might be closer than we think

iTranslate has launched a new app, called Converse, that seeks to speed up live translations and make the process more human and enjoyable. The simple interface is designed to be used without having to stare at your screen. With no clunky interface to grapple with, and over 40 languages automatically recognized by the system, anyone can quickly start translating themselves and others to be better understood.

Why it’s hot:

Converse brings translations to users in a way that is human-focused rather than technology focused. While other companies have attempted live translations, setting up and accessing these programs is usually too complicated to do in the heat of the moment. By making the software more accessible, people are more likely to use it.

Why it’s maybe not:

Because this app is so new, there are still some kinks to work out. Language and localization is notoriously difficult (think early Siri trying to understand Scots), and some of the translation algorithms just aren’t quite there yet. This seems to be the universal story for translation programs, even iTranslate’s other eponymous app.

Read more here https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/3/16076084/itranslate-app-real-time-translation

Amazon makes their own version of the P.O Box

Amazon now it wants to play an even more involved role in how packages are delivered. The company’s latest product, called Hub, is designed to act like a mailbox–not just for Amazon mail, but for any packages or deliveries. While it does not have AI-powered capabilities and it is not a large acquisition, it is a look at where Amazon is headed.

Hub is targeted primarily at residential building owners, and it promises that all packages from any sender will be stored safely and securely. Instead of having packages left at your door, in your lobby, or with a concierge desk, they’re placed within Hub, which has differently sized compartments designed to accommodate most packages. To access your package, you simply enter an access code and one of Hub’s doors will pop open.

Hub aims to fix one of the few areas of package delivery that Amazon doesn’t yet control: the final step between delivery and your actual home. It provides a convenient solution for packages getting delayed because of building hours, lost packages, or theft.

Why it’s hot:

  • One more step to Amazon take-over of all consumer retail interactions – you do not even have to shop on Amazon to interact with them now
  • Might have special implications for Amazon Prime subscribers
  • Whole Foods implications – could make grocery delivery even more appealing – helping food stay fresh

Source: Fast Company

Humanscale’s Design Tool for Ergonomic Data

Humanscale is an analog tool used by industrial designers in the 70’s and 80’s as a reference tool to quick human focused data points. It was originally created by Henry Dreyfuss & Associates (HDA), the creators of iconic designs such as the Honeywell thermostat and Bell’s tabletop telephone. Henry Dreyfuss was an advocate for ergonomics and compiled Humanscale because there was no central place for ergonomic data. For example, if you wanted to know the dimensions of the average North American man’s leg, you could reference military records. Another example is that they learned that the average height of a fedora was 2 inches, which would be important when considering door measurements.

MIT stopped producing them in the mid 1980’s and they became a collectors item. Now, IA Collaborative, a global design consultancy created a Kickstarter to reprint Humanscale. Their long-term plans are to also create an interactive interface for this data.

Overview of the 9 selectors:

You can slide the selector to adjust data points for different demographics:

So these selectors can be used to design for a multitude of products.

Why it’s hot: The ability to reference key ergonomic data points is crucial to the design of industrial and digital products. These can be useful tools to many types of designers. In addition, the graphic design of the selectors are really cool! The slider seems very intuitive and fun to interact with. It optimizes how the information is displayed.