Recently, German ecommerce platform Zalando began a pilot scheme using private homes in Denmark as delivery points. The 50 homeowners involved offer pick-up and drop-off services from 4pm to 8pm, in return for a small remuneration each month. A collaboration with Swedish postal company Postnord, it is hoped that the three-month trial will provide opportunities for seniors, self-employed, and unemployed individuals who are often home during the day.
Why it’s hot: Making e-commerce more personal and convenient.
The Las Vegas City Council recently piloted a program and allowed parking violators to donate school supplies instead of paying a monetary fine. The temporary program operated from June until mid-July. Parking ticket holders could choose to clear their fine by supplying items including pens, pencils, post-its and rulers to the Teachers Exchange nonprofit within 30 days of receiving their ticket.
Why it’s hot: Making paying fines less painful at the same time encouraging generosity. The program also allowed parking fines to make big impacts where it’s needed.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is asking potential customers whether they really need to take a flight. A new initiative launched last month asks passengers to consider whether their journey would be better undertaken by train. Travelers are also invited to travel light, and to offset flight-related CO2 emissions. Part of KLM’s Fly Responsibly campaign, the initiative invites other airlines to become partners in its Corporate BioFuel Program, paying a fee to cover the difference in costs between kerosene and sustainable fuel.
Why it’s hot: Walking the walk and take on real responsibility to achieve sustainability will capture the modern consumer’s heart for the long term.
Ant Forest is an app-based game that is sweeping across China. The game rewards users with green energy points for choosing low-carbon activities like taking public transportation or using less plastic. Once players have earned enough green energy, they can plant a virtual tree in Ant Forest. For every tree planted in the virtual game, a real tree is planted in rural China. The game’s creator says one-hundred million live trees have been planted so far.
Mobile technology has transformed the way we live — how we read, work, communicate, shop and date.
But we already know this.
What we have not yet grasped is the way the tiny machines in front of us are remolding our skeletons, possibly altering not just the behaviors we exhibit but the bodies we inhabit.
New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls — bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion.
The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck.
In academic papers, a pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, argues that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. They say smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what’s happening on the miniature screens.
The researchers said their discovery marks the first documentation of a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the penetration of advanced technology into everyday life.
Why it’s hot: Should human bodies adapt to technology or should it adapt to us?
Robots made by Japanese automaker Toyota will be deployed across the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic sites to provide assistance to workers and attendees at the Games next year. Toyota will provide 16 support robots across the Olympic and Paralympic Games to assist sports fans with tasks such as carrying food and drink, guiding people to their seats and providing event information.
Both human support robots and delivery support robots will be part of the Games. Toyota’s human support robot features an in-built arm for picking up trays and baskets and a digital screen for displaying information.
The delivery support robot, which resembles a mobile waste bin, is designed especially to assist wheelchair-users to carry their items.
Why it’s hot: Making the Olympics Games safer and smoother for everyone.
Icon, a construction-tech company, unveiled a 3-D printer that can build houses of up to 2,000 square feet. The technology can print a custom home more quickly, with less waste, and at a lower cost than traditional home-building methods.
The technology is designed to produce resilient single-story buildings faster, more affordably, and with more design freedom. It has expanded the footprint of printing capability to approximately 2,000 square feet. It has an adjustable width (to accommodate different slab sizes) and is transported in custom trailer with no assembly required.
It features intuitive tablet-based controls, remote monitoring and support, on-board LED lighting for printing at night or during low-light conditions, and a custom software suite ensuring set-up, operations, and maintenance are as simple and straightforward as possible.
Why it’s hot: Potential solve to shortage of affordable housing and housing shortage in general.
QuadrigaCX, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, is home to more than $140 million in cryptocurrencies. Lately it found itself in the news and in the Canadian courts due to the death of its founder, Gerald Cotten, who passed away in December and took with him the only passwords to their crypto vaults. More than 115,000 hapless investors are left without access to their crypto wealth and little recourse to recover their assets.
The death of a key person who had access to passwords with no redundancy is an extraordinarily rare event, especially if it is going to lock 115,000 people out of their crypto fortunes. In this case, sadly, that fact that encryption is working and works very well against its own investors.
Why it’s hot: when security becomes vulnerability.
JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce site, delivered books and backpacks over 150 miles to students at a school in a village in Indonesia that’s hard to reach by road. Indonesia houses a population of more than 260 million people across some 17,000 islands making it one of the nations that could really use revolutionized delivery and logistics systems.
Why it’s hot: Technology is not taking over a human’s job in this case, it’s doing what they can’t do.
Set to open this year, Jewel Changi Airport re-imagines the center of an airport as a major public realm attraction. It will offer a range of facilities for land-side airport operations, indoor gardens and leisure attractions, retail offerings and hotel facilities, all under one roof. A distinctive dome-shaped façade made of glass and steel adds to Changi Airport’s appeal as one of the world’s leading air hubs.
It represents an innovation in the world of lifestyle/retail design, with a one-of-a-kind relationship between garden and marketplace. In addition, nowhere in the world has a building been constructed that integrates the public realm with an airport facility so closely. The building extends Changi Airport’s principal function as a transit hub, to a public gathering space for Singaporeans and international travelers, establishing a new model for airports as discrete destinations for shopping, entertainment, and social activity.
Why it’s hot: Travel is no longer just about the destination, it’s also about the in-betweens.
Hyundai debuted a concept of an electric walking car at CES 2019.The vehicle is designed with “six degrees of freedom” enabled by “legs” and “joints.”
According to Hyundai the car can “climb a five foot wall, step over a five foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.”
Why it’s hot: Hyundai wants the car to be the future of disaster response, especially when rescue might involve navigating debris fields, as well as a resource for people living with disabilities and other day-to-day scenarios.
China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group opened its first “future hotel”, also known as “Flyzoo Hotel”, in Hangzhou, China.
Equipped with the latest leading technology, many futuristic features are enabled at the hotel, guests can check into the hotel without talking to anyone. They can walk straight to their rooms and get their faces scanned at the door to gain entry.
Robots can be found everywhere in the hotel, and they would guide the guests by providing recorded voice messages and accompany them during their stay. The guests can also control indoor temperatures, lighting intensity, household appliances through their voices.
A very notable device that the hotel is equipped with is called “Tmall Genie”, which is an AI management system. The system will take orders from guests, including buying groceries.
The one-meter high robot ‘Genie’ powered by Tmall, an AI system, follows guests around, takes orders, helps to buy groceries, orders meals, and picks up laundry through voice command, touch, or simple gestures.
Why it’s hot: As a reply to high labor costs, creating uniformity in hospitality services and mixing up and re-imaging the hotel industry, this robot enabled hotel is smarter, more automated and an inspiration for future digital travelers.
Researchers have known for several decades that electricity can be beneficial for skin healing. Some engineers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison developed a device that’s convenient in the form of a bandage that goes on people’s skin. It stimulates healing using electricity generated from the body’s natural motions.
The device can reduce healing times to three days compared to nearly two weeks for the normal healing process.
Why it’s hot: This device could potentially improve the quality of life for people that suffer from acute and chronic wounds.
Haidilao, China’s biggest hotpot chain, partnered with Panasonic and equipped a restaurant in Beijing with a fully robot-run kitchen. That means no humans are involved in the food preparation process.
The location has an automated cold room where robots prepare and deliver raw meat and fresh vegetables according to the orders placed by customers through an iPad at each table.
The soup base is also prepared by robots with machine-like precision that caters to individual tastes and specific requirements based on special combination of spices, various oil and key ingredients. Each individual combination is automatically documented and uploaded into the cloud.
Why it’s hot: These robots reduce wait time, adds consistency and increases the level of food hygiene.
Starbucks opened its first U.S. sign language store in D.C. that’s ran by deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing employees. The store is located next to Gallaudet University, the world’s only university designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The designs are also adapted to the deaf community and cultures.
The name is spelled out in the hand symbols of American Sign Language
All employees are conversant in American Sign Language
Store decor is designed to celebrate deaf culture
Why it’s hot: As one of the more accessible brands in terms of store location, Starbucks is a great pilot store to start embracing the deaf community into regular workforce.
Spark, a New Zealand telecom company, partnered with Google and Te Aka, an online Māori dictionary, to create an app that translates photos of objects into the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand.
The app is called Kupu. It uses machine vision technology to identify objects in a photo and then translates the name of the object into Te Reo Māori.
Why it’s hot: A fun and natural way of promoting and preserving an indigenous language through everyday life.
Coffee not only powers people, it now also powers home. Dunkin’ Donuts created a transportable home that runs on bio-fuel created by used coffee grounds. And every 170 pounds of spent coffee grounds can yield about one gallon of fuel.
How it works:
Step 1: Extract excess oils in the spent coffee grounds. There can be natural oils left in spent coffee grounds, all depending on the coffee bean type and original processing methods.
Step 2: Mix and react. These oils are then mixed with an alcohol to undergo a chemical reaction known as transesterification. This produces bio-diesel and glycerin as a byproduct.
Step 3: Refine. The bio-diesel is washed and refined to create the final product.
What it’s hot: Finding practical ways to reuse resources and generate energy.
For the 170,000 and more Filipinos working in Hong Kong as domestic maids, WeChat developed an international money transfer function for them to instantly remit money back to their families in the Philippines. So instead of waiting in line to wire transfer money on Sunday, their only day off in the week, they can now complete the task with a few clicks on their phone.
It’s a brilliant move by WeChat as they have been struggling with expanding to other parts of Asia and to increase the usage of the app beyond its 600 million active users in Mainland China.
Additionally, as a destination that received $32.8 billion in remittances in 2017, Filipinos working overseas become a no-brainer target audience.
Why it’s hot: The benefit for WeChat is threefold: market expansion, increase in cash flow and boost in brand image for adding value to people’s lives.
A non-profit called Melanoma Know More partnered with content platform Popsugar to bring awareness of skin cancer Melanoma and remind readers of cancer screening.
When a reader browses health and wellness content on the site and scrolls past a period at the end of a sentence, a pop-up window will come up with information on warning signs of melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Why it’s hot: Many types of cancer, if detected early, are curable. By making this information part of a reader’s reading experience can help reduce the fear or stress associated with cancer and increase the chance of the reader’s cancer screening.
AV1, a cute-looking, internet-connected robot made by Oslo-based start-uo No Isolation helps children who have chronic diseases unable to attend school participate in classes remotely and keep in touch with teachers and friends.
Instead of studying on their own at home, these children can study along their friends at school via the robot. The robot can sit in the classroom and live stream video and audio back to a tablet or smartphone. Children at home can speak through the robot and participate in the class. They can also control where the robot is looking.
The robot’s head will blink to alert the teacher if the student wants to ask a question. It’ll also turn blue to signal the teacher that the student becomes too sick or tired to participate.
Why it’s hot: Being present for an occasion is easier than ever. For people with chronic diseases internet-connected robots make them feel comfortable for being present without displaying their illness.
Chase recently expanded its cardless access to 16,000 ATMs nationwide. Customers will no longer need to carry their debit cards and use them to retrieve cash at ATMs. They can now simply tap their smartphone on the ATM to get cash.
Step 1 Access your mobile wallet on your phone and select your virtual Chase Debit Card.
Step 2 Look for the Cardless symbol on the ATM, and tap it with your phone.
Residents in Tibet can now use the facial recognition technology to withdraw cash at ATMs from the Agricultural Bank of China, no debit cards needed.
Also powered by the facial recognition technology, the Agricultural Bank of China is testing card-less and device-less payments at a pilot supermarket in Chongqing, China. Shoppers can pay for items by looking into the camera in the supermarket after putting the item in shopping basket. Transactions will automatically be conducted for registered Agricultural Bank of China customers.
Why it’s hot: There might be a day that our face truly becomes our identify and is all we need to conduct transactions and other businesses in the future.
Beijing welcomed its first unmanned smart bakery, a collaboration between Alibaba and domestic baker brand Wedomé. The bakery uses technologies including AI image recognition, mobile payment and QR code to enable unmanned services.
Why it’s hot: Mobile payment is so prominent in China and sets the nation on its way to be (maybe) a cashless economy one day.
United Airlines started to face a challenge when they moved all of their flights from JFK to Newark – New Yorkers do not like to fly from Newark because they considered it too far away. To help with this problem, the airline created a data-centric campaign using digital displays on taxis to give live companions of travel times to JFK and Newark.
They worked with Verifone (tech company) to create the technology and Curb (taxi-hailing app) to provide real-time travel time estimates to each airport based on the cars location and traffic.
As a result, more than 810,000 new passengers chose to fly out of EWR during the period the campaign ran.
Why it’s hot: Price and convenience are key drivers that influence consumer decisions when it comes to purchasing flight tickets. United Airlines’ campaign cleverly used live data and met a key consumer pain point – convenience.
It’s not news that telltale nonverbal signs can reveal when someone’s being deceptive, especially when you see several of the signs together.
Body language experts analyzed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s behaviors and identified times when she lied.
Behavior 1: Emotional Fluctuation
Lying about whether Trump has thought about stepping down in light of the turmoil of the Russia investigation.
In this video, “Sanders shows “substantial emotional fluctuation,” from contempt to high anxiety-fear-regret, back to contempt, and then back to anxiety, said Brown. This is a textbook example of emotional dissonance, or having trouble aligning one’s true thoughts and feelings with one’s words.” (The question begins at 9:28 in this video.)
Behavior 2: Talking Out Of The Side Of Her Mouth
Lying about about Stormy Daniels
In this video at 12:15, “she talks out of the side of her mouth, a sign of either “bravado and hubris, or insincerity and deception” that Sanders displays often.” Facial asymmetry also showed she was lying. According to body language experts, when someone “habitually feels one thing and says another, or keeps their true feelings in.” There is a disconnect between your limbic brain, where emotions are, and the neocortex, or the thinking brain — “where you can consciously control thoughts and words and create lies.”
Behavior 3: Misspeaking
In the same video above, at around 12:26, Sanders pronounces “outside” — as in “outside counsel” — as “out-cod.” While almost every public speaker makes small mistakes like this, the fact that she hardly ever corrects herself is “a sign of a lack of objectivity and sincerity,”
Behavior 4: Smiling Out Of Context
Around 5:20, Sarah starts to show a partially suppressed smile, showing her “subconscious mind is taking pleasure in fooling people, a behavior frequently exhibited by children.”
Behavior 5: Touching Her Face
Around 10:06 in this video, Sarah lifts her hand to cover her mouth and brush the underside of her nose. This kind of facial touching means there’s a high likelihood someone is lying.
Behavior 6: Avoiding Eye Contact
“When people lie, their eye contact either goes into a stare — to overcompensate — or they look away,” Brown said. “One thing Sarah does a lot is look at her notes and pretend she’s reading them, so she doesn’t have to look at the journalist.”
Behavior 7: Unnatural Pacing
Sometimes she delivers rehearsed quips, revealed by “her speed, her ultra-quick, unnaturally paced delivery.”
Why it’s hot: Body language could be something researches pay attention to while conducting in-person audience research.
Zillow plans to build AI into its search engine with the goal to transform the site from a real estate search engine to an assistant that understands what people want and are looking for. The idea is to learn and understand the types of criteria people are looking for and recommend homes based on that.
For example, the AI will be able to understand your taste in decor. It’ll be able to take into account the interior photos of homes people are looking at, understand what they might like and make recommendations based on that.
Why it’s hot (or not): There’s a chance that a home buyer might miss a house that has a lot of potential but does not meet the right criteria according to AI.
Ford created a device that lets blind and visually impaired people feel the view from a car passenger seat by transforming car windows into a haptic display.
“The Feel The View appliance takes a picture of the view from the window and converts the image into greyscale. Every shade of grey is then translated into a vibration on the car window, which allows visually impaired passengers to experience contours of the landscape by feeling the window.”
It also comes with a voice assistant connected to the car audio system that explains the view to the passenger.
Why it’s hot: It’s machine vision’s (algorithms that can analyse and understand images and videos) time to shine.
Samsung launched a new phone, Galaxy J2 Pro, a phone that lets people call make phone calls and send text messages but cannot connect to the internet.
It targets high schools students who need to focus on studying for their college entrance exam in Korea. The goal is to help them stay on task without the distraction of social media, games, or browsing the web.
Other features include an offline electronic dictionary app, a calendar app, an FM radio and a calculator.
There perk is, students who have completed the exam can trade in their Galaxy J2 Pro for a Galaxy S, Note, or A Series phone.
Why it’s hot: Sometimes it’s good and helpful going back to the basics.