Keurig of Cocktails or Juicero of Cocktails?

Drinkworks Keurig for Cocktails 6

Drinkworks, a joint venture between Keurig and Anheuser-Busch transforms pods of distilled cocktails into single-serve drinks such as gin and tonics, Mai Tais and Old Fashioned. It’s price point, $399, reminds us of the now infamous Jiucero’s price, not cheap.

Cocktail culture is thriving in the US as more and more Americans ditch beer and the industry giants are ready to play in the field. Each capsule will spout out a single-serve drink and act as an automated bartender for cocktail lovers and home entertainers alike.

“You can get a cocktail in a can, but it’s not the same experience,” Drinkworks CMO Val Toothman told Business Insider. “Cocktails … are a culture. It’s an experience. You want something crafted, freshly made.”

 

 

Why it’s hot: Pod machines are under more scrutiny since the Juicero scandal and companies have to bring a real products that really innovate to solve real needs to market.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/keurig-cocktails-drinkworks-makes-cocktails-from-pods-2019-3#each-sleeve-contains-four-pods-each-cocktail-pod-costs-399-with-beer-which-we-didnt-test-costing-225-per-pod-3

Breaking the Bias One Translation at a Time

The words we use daily can directly affect our perception and the way we think. For example, the effect of gender bias on language can influence how both women and men see certain professions. The terms cameraman, fireman and policeman, for example, are perceived as more masculine, while words like midwife are more stereotypically feminine.

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/what-do-you-mean

Released on International Women’s Day 2019, ElaN Languages has created The Unbias Button, to translate biased words, such as job titles, into gender-neutral ones.

Why it’s hot: This is a subtle way to change our awareness of the words we use on a daily basis.

Making a Spelling Error was Never Cuter

How do you get people who are interested in getting a purebred dog to adopt a mut instead? Güd the online dog food brand has found a way, by exploiting our spelling issues.

Güd sought out the most common canine spelling errors – like dashund (dachshund), rotweiller (rottweiler), shitsu (shih tzu) – on Google. It then gave the dogs at rescue centre Clube dos Vira-Latas that most needed a home one of those mispelled pure-breed names.

 

Güd then created a paid search ad that led to people being offered a free dog whenever they misspelled a pure dog breed on Google.

Why it’s hot: It’s a creative way to capitalize on human error for customer acquisition.

Modernizing Beer Ads for Women

Just in time for International Women’s Day, Budweiser is releasing reimagined ads from the 50’s and 60’s for today’s audience. Understanding that sexist ads that objectify women no longer fly with consumers who expect brands to be more progressive, Budweiser is re-releasing the ads to nod to their past heritage, but make a point about its future.

The campaign, released today in conjunction with International Women’s Day, features full-page color ads in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times that juxtapose sexist Bud print ads from the 1950s and 60s with updated versions portraying women in empowered roles.

Source: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/budweiser-modernized-sexist-ads/316915/

Budweiser International Women's Day NYTimes ad

Women now comprise more than 80% of the brand’s marketing team, so it’s refreshing to see that for them it’s about using their past to serve as a launching pad to show women in a more balanced way.

Budweiser International Women's Day LATimes ad

Why it’s hot:

Rather than hide their sexist past, the brand is showing how they can evolve in their thinking, especially in these times of extreme divisiveness.

Making Ketchup Classy

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Heinz is attempting to recreate the joys of ketchup and give it a social equity boost with its Ketchup Caviar.

The extremely limited batch of Heinz Ketchup Caviar will be available for Valentine’s. If you want to get your hands on one of the 150 jars available you’ll have to enter the brand’s sweepstakes (see link above).

But what is Ketchup Caviar? First off, it’s not literal caviar. No fish roe were harmed in the making of this sweepstakes. Instead, Heinz Ketchup Caviar is a molecular gastronomic spin on the classic condiment that attempts to recreate the joys of ketchup in pearl form.

Sweepstake winners will be contacted to receive their 1.8 oz jar hopefully before Valentine’s.

Why it’s hot: It’s a fun way for Heinz to celebrate their 150 years in business, it could also be a way to test new delivery methods for their products, molecular gastronomy is cool. 

Is it the End of Embarrassing Birds and Bees Conversations?

Last year Planned Parenthood started testing a chatbot that aims to answers teenagers plethora of questions around sex. Knowing kids probably don’t want to ask their parents about the more intimate aspects of their love lives, the organization has partnered with a digital agency to strategize, design and brand the chatbot that will be launching on Thursday.

Working with teenagers form Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Math, Engineering and Sience academy on the project. The charter school students have helped design the gender-neutral, friendly chatbot aimed at 13 to 17 year-olds.

Since so many teenagers get health information online, the artificial intelligence-powered bot is meant to give fast answers in a judgment-free, anonymous setting in a manner that’s comfortable for the audience — instead of kids going to unchecked online sources or YouTube for important information.

Source: https://adage.com/article/agency-news/planned-parenthood-launches-roo-a-sexual-health-chatbot-teens/316365/ 

Users can find all sorts of information, from puberty to sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and masturbation. If the right information can’t be found, Roo will direct users to other sources like live educators. The experience lives on Roo.PlannedParenthood.org and is best experienced on mobile devices.

Why it’s Hot:

User first thinking really shows here. Teenagers are looking everything up online but when it comes to sex talk, they are embarrassed to have anyone find their search history. This solves for that, it’s completely anonymous! Also, it solves for them finding accurate and trustworthy information.

Mobile Supermarkets IRL

If the people don’t go to the grocery store, have the grocery store come to them. Stop & Shop is planning to pilot driverless vehicles that bring the grocery store to the customer rather than the other way around. 
Source: https://www.supermarketnews.com/retail-financial/stop-shop-test-self-driving-grocery-stores

Due to launch in the spring in Boston, the initiative will use autonomous electric vehicles from Robomart Inc. to carry an assortment of produce, meal kits, and convenience items to customers.

The process works as follows:
– Stop & Shop customers use a smartphone app to request a shopping visit from the closest Robomart.
– When the vehicle arrives, customers go outside, unlock the vehicle’s doors and then pick the fruit, vegetables and other products they want to buy off the shelves inside.
– After taking their items, they just close the doors and send the vehicle on its way.
– The vehicles’ RFID and computer vision ”grab-and-go” technologyautomatically records the products customers selected and charges them.
– Receipts are e-mailed in seconds.

Answers to questions you may be asking yourself:

  1. Stop & Shop store associates will be restocking the teleoperated vehicles with fresh items throughout their journey to ensure the best selection.
  2. Perishables will be kept fresh via purpose-built refrigeration and temperature control.
  3. Pricing and fees are still undetermined.

Why it’s hot: This solution could potentially eliminate the biggest pain point in online food delivery, allowing the customer to select their own produce.

Google Brings Amusement to CES

Taking event content marketing to another level, Google has built an amusement park style ride to promote its virtual assistant. Showing off their storytelling prowess, they have created a full arc with a beginning, middle, point of tension and end.

They built a two-story building right in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot, and the ride takes up the entire upper floor. From the pre-ride line experience (complete with animatronic Grandma talking with guests in line), to a holding room that uses clever projections to tell a story (Don’t forget the cake for Grandma’s birthday party! Assistant can help!), to the ride itself… it’s just ridiculous. The work and engineering that went into this — and the quality of what they built for something that’ll only be here for a few days — is seriously absurd.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/video-article/google-built-an-entire-theme-park-ride-in-the-ces-parking-lot-because-they-can/

Why it’s hot: Getting noticed at tradeshows is not easy, especially at CES. Finding a creative, wow-factor solution to promoting an otherwise boring-to-demo product can get you the attention your brand is looking for.

 

Doctor Influencers or Un-certified Hazards

Doctor Influencers or Uncertified Hazards There’s a rising trend in Instagram star plastic surgeons. They go by names like “Dr. Miami” and “Dr. BeFixnIt”. Their streams are covered in before and after shots and videos of the surgeries, they are performing. They even host Q&As, drawing questions from their pool of followers.

People are loving it, especially the doctors who are seeing a huge increase in the number of new patients referred by social.

“It’s a trend that has gone fully global. Just searching through the #plasticsurgery hashtag on Instagram will take you into an operating room on nearly every continent.”

Patients have consented to have their surgeries filmed, but what these doctors are increasingly seeing are others using their videos and photos as proof of their own work.

“Social media is inherently unregulated like the Wild West,” she said, and “it’s hard to know what’s real,” says Dr. Lara Degvan who has herself found images of her patients and work posted on other less qualified doctors pages.

“A 2017 study found that when searching one day’s worth of Instagram posts using popular hashtags—only 18% of top posts were authored by board-certified surgeons, and medical doctors who are not board certified made up another 26%.”

Why it’s hot: when working with brands, we must keep in mind that parsing who’s legitimate and who’s not from a social media profile is incredibly difficult for consumers.

Source: https://qz.com/1499937/using-social-media-to-find-a-cosmetic-surgeon-has-gone-global/

 

A New Kind of e-Tail

Good, Cheap and Fast (GCF for short), is an e-tail website designed to take the effort out of e-shopping.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90274504/hate-browsing-amazon-this-is-the-ultimate-no-frills-shopping-site

To that end, the site doesn’t waste effort on frills like “bandwidth-hogging images” or “spill[ing] 10,000 words of digital ink on…mundane appliances.” To DeFeo–a former designer–the job to be done here is simple: “save people time,” he says. Thus GCF’s Craigslist-esque, all-text aesthetic. (It does have nicer fonts, though.)

GFC’s design is based on the philosophy that not everyone is a maximizer: people who, intimidated by the internet’s abundance of options they want to know which one is the best. Who they are targeting is users who they call “satisficers” – people who just want something good enough without breaking the bank.

The site is curated by using a combination of existing shopping tools and plugins that filter out suspicious or spammy product reviews and then eliminates more by “measuring the relationship between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-star reviews, with an eye toward quality control issues.”

Why It’s Hot: 

Sometimes we need to remember that less is more.

What is in a Word?

“The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance,” Oxford stated in a post on its website.

 

With a 45% increase in searches, this year the word “toxic” takes the prize. In combination with chemical first and masculinity second, the word is top of mind for people. With the rise of the #metoo movement, it’s no surprise this year word searches seem to be all about strained relationships between men and women with spikes in searches for words like:

incel”—an involuntarily celibate man who holds hostile views towards women; “gaslighting”—a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt their own sanity, made famous by a movie in which a man does this to his own wife; and “orbiting,” which is when a person ceases communication (i.e: “ghosts”) but continues to lurk via social media, maintaining “an online presence in the subject’s life without any promise of meaningful interaction.”

To give some perspective, 2018’s word of the year is in great contrast with 2015’s, when the word of the year was:

Image result for smile cry emoji

Why it’s hot:

It’s sad, but also optimistic. It means we live in toxic times (sad) but at least we’re trying to educate ourselves and hopefully make a change (optimistic).

Scrolling to Diagnose Mental Illness

A startup in California, Mindstrong Health is using scrolling, clicking, and phone interaction data to determine the risk of mental illness.

Founded by 3 doctors, it is seeking to tackle depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.


Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/mindful-scrolling

The App “monitors how every participant types, swipes and interacts with every other app on their phone (just basic stuff like how they use their keyboard, rather than looking at any personal information). The data gathered is then encrypted and run through a machine learning programme, which analyses it and delivers the results to the patient and their medical provider.”

One of the reasons the app works is, “‘people’s memory patterns and thinking speed change in subtle ways before they realise they’re depressed.’” The app was developed after trial participants were asked to perform neuropsychological tests and then asked to use their phone normally. This allowed them to find key smartphone signals that correlate strongly with mental performance.

Memory problems, for example, are a common element of brain disorders, and can be identified by looking at how quickly you type or scroll, as well as how many errors you make.

Our state of mind is top of mind in 2018 as more conversations are being had about mental health, so much so that even KFC participated in World Mindfulness day.

Why it’s hot: 

It’s difficult to diagnose mental illness because the symptoms sometimes differ from patient to patient. Mindstrong could provide data that helps define the different subcategories within illnesses and could even help lead to tailoring drug prescriptions for more effective treatment.

Fine Art Therapy

Image result for art therapy

Doctor’s in Montreal will be able to prescribe free museum visits to patients suffering from a range of illnesses. Patients suffering from depression to diabetes or chronic illnesses will be given up to 50 free visit passes for patients and caregivers.

 

In the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century,” predicts Nathalie Bondil, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director general, in the Montreal Gazette.

The Art Hive, an initiative from the museum, is just one example of what Bondil says is one part of the future of health care. With an on staff art therapist and the collaboration of physicians The Hive is open to people who want to explore the curative effects of art, whether it be creation or simply its presence.

 “There’s more and more scientific proof that art therapy is good for your physical health. It increases our level of cortisol and our level of serotonin. We secrete hormones when we visit a museum and these hormones are responsible for our well-being.”

Much like exercise, art can improve wellness for all types and ages of patients.

Source: https://qz.com/1433682/doctors-in-montreal-will-start-prescribing-visits-to-the-art-museum/

Why it’s hot:

It’s great to see doctors collaborating with other fields to find solutions for health issues that are beyond prescriptions.

Not Nosy, Just Human

Ever sit somewhere and catch yourself staring intently at another person’s cell phone screen?

You’re not alone. So what is about other people’s screens that make them irresistible?

“Other people’s screens are windows into their lives, and brains, and relationships and work — into their politics, anxieties, failures and addictions. They tend to appear between one and three feet away from other people’s faces, depending.”

We used to not have as much access to other people’s screens as we do now. Home and office computers were more private than the now ubiquitous 5.5” screen everyone carries everywhere nowadays.

Munich researchers wanted to find out more about “shoulder surfing” in an effort to understand the security implications of having our lives exposed on small screens. So what did they find? The research suggested the majority of shoulder surfing was casual and opportunistic with survey respondents admitting they did it out of boredom and curiosity. In cases where there was malicious intent, “both users and observers expressed negative feelings in the respective situation, such as embarrassment and anger or guilt and unease.”

What were they looking at? Mostly text, and more specifically instant messaging, Facebook, email and news.

Observing shoulder surfers in NY can even tell how phone usage has changed since wifi was sporadically introduced. Gone are the days of CandyCrush. Today is all about long texts composed, then reworked and frantically sent when the signal appears, they are also selfies being retouched, or as the train transforms into an office, messages about the client. Other people’s screens can be used as warnings or endorsements. Whatever they contain, they are a reminder that we should all really just mind our business.

Why it’s hot:

As we design mobile experiences, should we keep in mind our second audience, the shoulder surfer?

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/style/why-you-cant-stop-looking-at-other-peoples-screens.html

Stress Mapping

BioSay, a Boston startup has created a biometric measurement app that monitors stress levels through inbuilt sensors on a smartphone. The app monitors the how different places and environments affect a user’s emotional state.

Users have to place their finger over their smartphone camera which can detect their heart rate; the reading is called a “bioji”. The app also analyzes facial expressions and voice (through the camera and mic) to aggregate data about their mood. By using location services, the app can gather data about the user’s environment and users are encouraged to add their own data by adding notes or tagging friends they are with.

“Biojis” can be shared or kept private, although the apps founders would like for the data to be shared on a larger scale so that other users and healthcare providers can see how different places are impacting people.

‘The war on stress, depression and disease will not be won by survival of the fittest where data is locked away and we can’t learn from one another, it will be won by collaboration,’ explained Donalds during her TED Talk, featured above. ‘As we endeavour to fight the war on stress, depression and disease our data must not be divided but united.’

The impact that different businesses have on people’s emotional states can be mapped by BioSay, too. This is good news for brands if people leave their stores smiling, but not so great if the experiences they offer cause stress. Smart companies will use the data to gain insights into how they can improve and enhance their customers’ wellbeing.

Why it’s hot: 

  1. Because users can start to understand the lifestyle choices they may not be aware of that are negatively influencing their health.
  2. What’s this going to do for brands with physical locations?

Are the days of shared digital subscriptions coming to an end?

Spotify is asking users with premium family plans to confirm their home address through GPS data or risk losing access to the service. For Spotify, a family constitutes 2-5 people living in the same home, which IRL is not necessarily how families work. So why are they looking into this now?

 A story published in Billboard last month revealed that streaming family plans had some music industry executives concerned about Spotify’s slipping average revenue per user. According to Billboard, nearly half of global streaming subscribers (including platforms such as Apple Music and Pandora) are on family plans. Spotify’s ARPU declined 12% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same time last year, and Billboard’s Hannah Karp writes: “Family-plan price bumps could help compensate for the potential revenue being lost when family-plan subscribers share their passwords with friends outside their families.”


Source: https://qz.com/quartzy/1405477/spotify-is-demanding-family-plan-users-hand-over-gps-data/

In today’s climate of data breaches and hacks, consumers are more weary than ever to share such information. However, Spotify is assuring users the data will only be used for verification purposes.

Why it’s hot:

Shared subscriptions have been user hacks and a thorn in subscription services’ sides for some time, but finding the solution to verification is still a mystery. 

In 2017, a Reuters survey of over 4,400 US adults who used services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix found that 21% of users aged 18-24 have borrowed someone else’s password. If Netflix cracked down on password sharing, the company could make almost $400 million more per year, Quartz found.

The Lengths People Go To For Pizza

There are pizza lovers and there are pizza LOVERS.


Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/dominos-free-pizza-russia-tattoos-promo-ends-early-2018-9

Launched on August 31st, Domino’s Pizza in Russia offered 100 years of free pizza to those who tattooed the company’s logo on their body and shared it on social media. The campaign, meant to last month had to end after only 5 days. In an effort to save face and money, the company promised pizzas to the first 350 to share their ink.

The tattoo needed to be in a prominent place and just hours after the promotion started, Instagram started getting flooded with images of fan’s legs, arms, and other body parts.

Why it’s hot:

Although it’s good to take risks and try something new, it’s so important to think about the possible ramifications.

Functional Medicine a (W)holistic Approach

Gone can be the days of impersonal, rushed doctor’s visits. Parsley health focuses on functional medicine, seeing patients as a whole person, instead of looking at you in a snapshot of time. The $150 a month subscription is not meant as a replacement for health insurance, but as more of an overall health barometer. The tech reliant company leverages today’s tools to make the process as convenient as possible. From the booking process being done online to doctor’s notes, medical records, and health coach messages available on an easy-to-navigate dashboard. The whole process even starts with an “uber for blood” home blood test.

Parsley also built data tracking into its system to assess and compare outcomes–a method rarely found in general primary care. It also built the Parsley Symptom Index, used to give clients a clinical health score. Before each visit, patients fill out a survey that helps the medical team monitor progress and outcomes. Over the course of a year, Parsley’s digital system then adds thousands of data points to a patient’s charts, which enable them to change course should a method or treatment show little improvement.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90224888/is-this-150-a-month-holistic-primary-care-service-the-future-of-medicine

The average visit with a Parsley doctor is 75 mins long and encompasses a deep analysis of all aspects of the patient’s life. Also included in the service is access to health and wellness coaches.

Why it’s hot:

90% of health is dependent on social determinants, but we only get an average of 11 seconds to tell doctors our symptoms. Parsley goes beyond putting a band-aid on the problem to find a long-term solution for health issues.

Giving Musk a Run for His Money

Russia’s (in)famous Kalashnikov manufacturing company has revealed it’s first electric car. The prototype, shown for the first time at an event near Moscow is a throwback to a Soviet hatchback created in the 1970s. But it’s looks are the only thing retro about it. It’s makers have said it is a revolutionary cutting-edge “supercar” that can compete with the likes of Tesla.

There are still some kinks to iron out, but they’re hoping they’ll be able to offer would be able to travel 220 miles (350 km) on a single charge and with a higher top speed than other e-cars on the market.

“Kalashnikov has been looking to take its brand in different directions and recently launched a clothing line and a catalogue of personal items ranging from umbrellas to smartphone covers.”

Reactions to this latest venture have been mixed, from ridicule to praise of its cool look.

Why it’s hot:

  1. It’s a bold and interesting design choice and it will be interesting to see whether this sparks a trend in a greater variety of e-car designs.
  2. A good example of the growing trend of companies diversifying their brand offerings.

Source: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/kalashnikov-unveils-electric-car-seeking-to-dethrone-tesla-62644

Soundtrack of Your Life

Royal Caribbean is partnering with Berklee College of music to set your vacation photos to music using AI.

 Source: https://www.adweek.com/creativity/royal-caribbean-now-sets-your-vacation-photos-to-music-using-ai/amp/

Launching this week, Royal Caribbean is launching an online tool that turns user images into mini-videos with original music assembled by AI and inspired by the images themselves.

A picture from a botanical garden, of red flowers and green leaves, generates two bars of smooth jazz. An elaborate piece of graffiti on a brick wall renders into a crunching hip-hop beat.

The machine-learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 11 moods.

The A.I. in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee.

Why it’s hot

Tourism industry is always at the forefront of individualization beyond personalization by making something so personal and making it truly unique.

One-Click Divorce

WeChat.png
Source: http://info.trendwatching.com/wechat-rolls-out-divorce-feature

Book an appointment with your local divorce registration office with the click of one button. Chinese messaging platform WeChat launched a new service that allows couples to file for divorce straight from the app. Only available to users in the Guangdong province for now, the feature is planned for a nationwide roll out.

Why it’s hot:

Messaging apps have become end-to-end lifestyle ecosystems and with 1.8 Billion messenger app users demanding new products and services, they offer immense opportunities for brands.

Winning trend-driven innovators understand – and then stay laser-focused on – the needs and wants of their customers. And then use those needs and wants to guide to which platforms, devices and technologies to innovate around.  – Trend Watching

Armpit Ads

Looking for space to advertise, look no further.


Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/no-sweat-japanese-company-sells-advertising-space-on-womens-armpits

The Wakino Ad Company is literally turning heads with it’s out of the box new product offering. It is now placing advertising in the armpits of young women. Armpit rentals start at about 10,000 yen (S$120) an hour. No word on what the ad wearer gets.

They are recruiting for aspiring models on their site, are open to male models as well, and even organizing an armpit beauty contest.

Why It’s Hot

Because it shows the importance of matching product to placement.

 

Play Your (Student) Debt Away

Indebted students come on down! 

Paid Off a new comedy game show will try to do its part in reducing the $1.5T of student loan debt currently affecting more than 44 million borrowers.

How The Game Show Works

Each episode features three contestants, each of whom has student loans.

The premise of the game show is simple: Torpey gives these lucky contestants the chance to answer trivia questions during three rounds of play in a fun, fast-paced trivia game show.

 

The three rounds of play include:

  1. academic questions
  2. poll questions
  3. general knowledge / college major questions

One contestant will be eliminated each round.

The grand prize? One lucky winner can win a cash prize or the chance to wipe out their student loan debt.

 

During the final round, the final contestant has an opportunity to answer as many questions as possible. The more questions that the contestant answers correctly, the larger their winnings.

 

The lucky contestants who answer enough questions potentially can wipe out their student loan debt.

Source: Forbes

This game show will not only let you root for strangers looking to reduce their debt, it will let you learn the stories behind each contestant, like whether they were the first in their family to go to college.

Yes, you can wipe out your student loans with the show. And yes, you have to pay taxes on your winnings, but when all is said and done, the show plans to give away about 500K to over 60 people.

Series premier July 10th on TruTV

Why it’s hot:

Because student loans are a real problem! It’s good to see a show where the goal is not consumerism, but fiscal responsibility.

Why it’s not: 

Because students shouldn’t be forced to indebt themselves for an education, especially with how ridiculously expensive it has become.

 

Peeping Dogs

In a residential neighborhood in Japan, dogs have become a popular attraction. In particular the “Three Shibas of Shimabara”, are causing a sensation. The endearing pups regularly peek through holes in the wall.

According to the South China Morning Post, their owner built the 18 holes they pop their heads through to let them satisfy their curiosity of the outside world. Now that the area is thriving with tourists, the man has put up an equally adorable sign.

It reads: “We’ll get upset stomachs, so please don’t feed us.”

In other parts of Japan, other dog owners have made similar viewing areas for their pups.

For more dogs popping their heads through walls, click here.

Why it’s hot:

These dogs get to have a life outside of their own.

Fighting Stereotypes with Stereotypes

Colombians have struggled with a negative perception of their country for decades. Shows like Narcos, which distort the country’s history continue to perpetuate misconceptions. In collaboration, the mayor’s office of Medellin, Bancolombia and El Colombiano have created a series of videos aimed at fighting stereotypes with stereotypes.

Source: http://colombianambush.com/site/

Why it’s hot:

Turns a negative into a positive, capitalizes on the spotlight that the entertainment industry has placed on Narco culture, and it’s funny.

 

Good Charts Are Like Good Jokes

They don’t have to be explained.

April 26th is International Chart Day. You may not have heard of it as it’s being celebrated for the first time this year.

A day-long celebration was scheduled for Thursday. The event and the day are sponsored by Tumblr and the Society for news and design in collaboration with the office of U.S. Rep Mark Takano.

What is the purpose of ICD?

Although charts and other information graphics are important tools for making complex information simple, they are very often be misinterpreted. Whether that’s due to conveying false or misleading information or being too complicated, the goal of the day is to help people become better data, information, and news consumers.

To this end, they shall:

1. Celebrate charts and infographics of all types;
2. Help the public understand how to read charts and gain useful insights from them;
3. Help chart makers of all levels understand the necessary components of a truthful chart;
4. Encourage the wider usage and adoption of charts;
5. Combat the spread of fake news by making the public smarter consumers of information.

Check out the website, where you can see the full manifesto. Below, their resolution:

 Have a suggestion for the wording of the resolution? We invite your input. Congressman Mark Takano will introduce a resolution declaring April 26 as “International Chart Day,” and deliver a speech on the House floor about the importance and history of charts. Other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will be encouraged to participate.

Also, check out this video which really explains the problem the chart day organizers are trying to combat:

VIDEO 

Why it’s hot: 

Aside from being data visualization nerds’ dream come true, it brings light to misinformation in a fun new informative way.

 

 

Building Ikea Furniture in Harmony

Source: https://qz.com/1256576/robots-can-build-ikea-chairs-now/

Sounds impossible, right? Well for this pair of robots it’s not. After 3 long years, a research team in Singapore has successfully taught a pair of robots to build an Ikea Chair.

They are not the first to build furniture, but the only previous contender was back in 2003 when MIT robots built a simple Lack table.

“And while a robot can be programmed to do a single assembly-line task efficiently, mastering all of the small tasks that IKEA assembly requires is a bigger challenge. Some of the same things humans struggle with, like fiddling with bags of screws, dowels, and doodads while trying to distinguish the slight variations in shape, are also difficult for robots.”

Their next goal is to go from teaching the robot ‘HOW to do it’, they want it to reason ‘WHAT to do’.

This AI will not just save time and stress, it can also save marriages. “The dynamics of flatpack furniture assembly contain a minefield of relationship conflict triggers, to the point where IKEA-related conflicts come up with surprising frequency in marriage counseling sessions.”

Additional reading: The psychology behind why couples always fight when assembling Ikea furniture

Why it’s Hot: 

  • Once we can train AI to accomplish these complex tasks, the next frontier is independent thinking.
  • We’re one step closer to a world where we don’t have to assemble Ikea furniture ourselves.

A Drone That Understands You

Amazon is filing for new patents. Not for a therapy drone, but a delivery drone that responds when you call or wave at it. The concept drone is designed to recognize human gestures, and then respond accordingly. Gestures the drone would recognize include, for example, waving arms, pointing, the flashing of lights, and speech.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/22/17150868/amazon-drone-patent-delivery-wave-speech-recognition

“The human recipient and/or the other humans can communicate with the vehicle using human gestures to aid the vehicle along its path to the delivery location,” the patent states. The patent gives an example of a “shooing” motion, which the drone would recognize and stop moving closer. The drone would also then adjust its speed and the direction it’s moving in. If a person waves their arms in a welcoming manner, the drone can interpret the gesture as an instruction to deliver the package.

There’s no word on when or even whether the gesture-recognition system might debut. Amazon declined to comment.

Why it’s hot:

  • It’s the evolution of drone delivery. Human-machine interaction is changing as devices need to cater to individual needs.

Building Business Ecosystems

L’Oreal group is buying Canadian beauty technology company ModiFace, as it tries to expand its digital offerings. Specializing in AR and AI, ModiFace builds products that tap into the beauty industries’ growing need for digital solutions. The purchase is meant to be a foundation for reinventing the beauty experience in the years to come.

L’Oreal is not a stranger to innovation, they have already launched tech-savvy items like sensory brushes that tell you how to care for your hair and phone apps for virtual testing.

ModiFace’s technology also extends to services such as skin diagnosis.

Why It’s Hot:

Competition is fierce in every industry, finding ways to grow business ecosystems to stay ahead of the curve will only become more prevalent.

How Women Spend Their Time

The OECD runs time-use surveys, to identify the ways women and men spend their time. It’s no surprise women do way more unpaid work than men, but what is surprising is that countries considered progressive still have significant differences in time spent doing things like chores and taking care of children.

Source: Quartz

“When it comes to time spent on well-being, including eating and drinking, sleeping, and personal care, the gap between the sexes is much smaller. Not surprisingly, French and Italian women and men spend a lot of time on how they look (it shows—they usually look great). French women take top marks for the daily time spent on personal care, with a whopping 113 minutes, compared with 70 minutes for American women.”

Why It’s Hot: 

  • Gathering and analysing this data can help quantify gender inequality issues. Understanding how and where we spend our time can help us find ways to balance the scale.