Berlin’s metro, BVD, has partnered with shoemaker, Addidas to give customers free year long transit. The shoes, that retail for $215, have a yearly metro card built into the tongue. There are only 500 pairs available.
Why it’s hot:
Though likely low tech, this innovation gives us a glimpse into the ways we can make our lives easier through wearable technology.
After a year of trying, a lab from the University of California that is led by the Australian Geneticist Van Eenennaam, had just used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to add a gene called SRY to some bovine skin cells.
What does it mean?
CRISPR: gene editing tool that enables scientist to make changes on the DNA in the embryo phase, so they can remove or edit bad genes or just make animals more profitable. It has been used to create pigs that are immune to viruses and sheep whose wool grows longer.
SRY: a bit of DNA that can make a female turn out to be essentially male—with bigger muscles, a penis, and testicles (but unable to make sperm).
It means that the industry will be able to have only male animals and in this case, male cattle – Van Eenennaam likes to call this the “ Boys only” project.
But, why would the industry take advantage of that? Basically, males grow bigger and faster, which means…more steak.
Why it’s hot: This is scary. Of course, we can discuss the positive effects that editing bad parts of DNA can have on animals and people. But do we need that? What are the risks of it? How can it change the way we live together?
The next generation of powerful telescopes will scan millions of stars and generate massive amounts of data that astronomers will be tasked with analyzing. That’s way too much data for people to sift through and model themselves — so astronomers are turning to AI to help them do it.
How they’re using it:
1) Coordinate telescopes.The large telescopes that will survey the sky will be looking for transient events — new signals or sources that “go bump in the night,” says Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Tom Vestrand.
2) Analyze data.Every 30 minutes for two years, NASA’s new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will send back full frame photos of almost half the sky, giving astronomers some 20 million stars to analyze. Over 10 years there will be 50 million gigabytes of raw data collected.
3) Mine data. “Most astronomy data is thrown away but some can hold deep physical information that we don’t know how to extract,” says Joshua Peek from the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Why it’s hot:
Algorithms have helped astronomers for a while, but recent advances in AI — especially image recognition and faster, more inexpensive computing power —mean the techniques can be used by more researchers. The new AI will automate the process and be able to understand and identify things that humans may not even know exists or begin to understand.
“How do you write software to discover things that you don’t know how to describe?There are normal unusual events, but what about the ones we don’t even know about? How do you handle those? That will be where real discoveries happen because by definition you don’t know what they are.” – Tom Vestrand National Laboratory
Furrion, a company that normally makes high-end appliances, created a mech called Prosthesis to start a new kind of racing league.
“The Prosthesis is an exoskeleton that weighs 8,000 pounds, has a top speed of 20 mph, and the company says the battery can power the mech for an hour. This isn’t a robot. It’s an exoskeleton that requires a driver.”
Such hype! So what do the people of YouTube think?
Good points. It seems like it really wouldn’t be that exciting to watch people race in slow moving machines that are all built the same way. I looked around a bit and found this video that shows how it’s controlled. Seems like there would be some skill required to actually get it to move the right way.
So yeah, I guess it could be exciting to watch people struggle to control this heavy slow machine. It doesn’t say when the first race will be but I’ll for sure tune in for it.
The Yeehaw Wand simplifies the design process for 3D printable objects by allowing anyone to create an object with a smartphone or tablet. The kit comes with a wand to draw with and plate that displays the object with a 360-degree view. The plate connects to the owner’s device where the virtual object appears.
The device shows objects on the user’s view of the real world, where they can be manipulated—for example, you can have a person model for a 3D printed necklace. The software was intended to feel open-ended for anyone to pick up the wand and sketch whatever comes to mind.
A finished design can transfer over to any 3D printer. If someone purchases the Yeehaw Wand without access to one, they can send their design to the kits’s developers who print and ship the finished product.
The Yeehaw Wand is raising funds in a Kickstarter campaign that concludes on January 14.
Why it’s hot: While the ‘pen’ or ‘wand’ does not look very intuitive or easy to use, this is an example of 3D printing and augmented reality becoming that much more accessible.
Why some people become addicted to oopiods and some do not has become somewhat of a mystery in the medical community. But the story is familiar; patient gets prescribed an opioid pain killer, and by the end of their course of treatment, they have developed a dependency (knowingly or not). But what if a genetic test could signal whether a person is more likely to develop an addiction, and therefore at higher risk from the moment they enter the doctor’s office?
That’s exactly what the medical analytics company Prescient Medicine has set out to do with their LifeKit Test- a genetic test that determines within 97% sensitivity how addictive your genetic response to opioids will be. Using an algorithm they developed based on genes that signal addiction in neural pathways, they give each test subject a score out of 100, with anything 52 or higher showing an elevated risk of addiction.
WHY IT’S HOT
Perhaps LifeKit and advancements in genetic testing could be the preventative measure needed to stop this national health crisis, and even aid with substance abuse of all kinds. As genetic testing becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, it may arm doctors with the knowledge to offer alternatives that could saves millions of lives.
Researchers have generated imagery that can fool AI vision systems, like those on self-driving cars, into thinking they see something. While this technology has been around for a while, researchers at Google recently developed a method for printing these images on stickers.
Unlike other adversarial attacks, they don’t need to be tuned based on the image they’re trying to override, nor does it matter where they appear in the AI’s field of view. Here’s what it looks like in action, with a sticker that turns a banana into a toaster:
Although adversarial images can be disconcertingly effective, they’re not some super magic hack that works on every AI system every time. Patches like the one the Google researchers created take time and effort to generate, and usually access to the code of the vision systems they’re targeting. The problem, as research like this shows, is that these attacks are slowly getting more flexible and effective over time. Stickers might just be the start.
Why it’s hot
As we rely more on AI with access to vision systems to unlock our phones, drive our cars, open our doors, and more, vulnerabilities of such systems will become apparent. As will all emerging technology, there are risks of misuse and neglect, but there are also brilliant computer scientists and information security professionals working to keep us from living episodes of Black Mirror. The more we understand about their work, the safer we become and the easier their jobs become as well.
The wave of magical CES 2018 innovations has begun to roll in, and among those already announced is a company called Nuance Communications’s “Dragon Drive” – an (extremely) artificially intelligent assistant for your car.
“By combining conversational artificial intelligence with a number of nonverbal cues, Dragon Drive helps you talk to your car as though you were talking to a person. For example, the AI platform now boasts gaze detection, which allows drivers to get information about and interact with objects and places outside of the car simply by looking at them and asking Dragon Drive for details. If you drive past a restaurant, you can simply focus your gaze at said establishment and say, “Call that restaurant,” or “How is that restaurant rated?” Dragon Drive provides a “meaningful, human-like response.”
Moreover, the platform enables better communication with a whole host of virtual assistants, including smart home devices and other popular AI platforms. In this way, Dragon Drive claims, drivers will be able to manage a host of tasks all from their cars, whether it’s setting their home heating system or transferring money between bank accounts.
Dragon Drive’s AI integration does not only apply to external factors, but to components within the car as well. For instance, if you ask the AI platform to find parking, Dragon Drive will take into consideration whether or not your windshield wipers are on to determine whether it ought to direct you to a covered parking area to avoid the rain. And if you tell Dragon Drive you’re cold, the system will automatically adjust the car’s climate (but only in your area, keeping other passengers comfortable).
Why It’s Hot:
Putting aside the question of how many AI assistants we might have in our connected future, what was really interesting to see was the integration of voice and eye tracking biometrics. Things like using your voice as your key (/to personalize your settings to you and your passengers), the car reminding you of memories that happened at locations you’re passing, and identifying stores/buildings/restaurants/other things along your route with just a gaze, it’s amazing to think what the future holds when all the technologies we’ve only just seen emerging in recent years converge.
Netflix is at it again – schooling us all on what personal really means.
For a long time, Netflix has been perfecting personal recommendations on what to watch. Now it’s delivering a new feature to enhance how it makes those recommendations – personalized artwork.
So OK, that’s cool enough thinking about the thousands of titles, millions of users and all the potential key art variations needed to meaningfully personalize content. But what’s equally cool is their approach to measuring the performance of recommendations. It’s basically impossible to control for all the variables behind personalized artwork to understand what works best. So Netflix employed a methodology called Contextual Bandits.
You’re going to have to read the blog post to really understand it (and then explain it to me!) but here goes: contextual bandits are a class of online learning algorithms that trade off the cost of gathering training data required for learning an unbiased model on an ongoing basis with the benefits of applying the learned model to each member context. In other words, rather than waiting to collect a full batch of data, waiting to learn a model, and then waiting for an A/B test to conclude, contextual bandits rapidly figure out the optimal personalized artwork selection for a title for each member and context.
FoldiMate debuted a prototype of its laundry-folding machine at CES 2017, but it has yet to actually deliver a product to market, though it has an updated the design that will be unveiled at CES 2018 (a few days from today).
The product video below is all style, no substance with no actual images of laundry being folded but it’s meant to be a teaser.
Why It’s Hot
If the concept works, it will probably excite the average Joe so much more than another bulky VR headset because it is practical.
The worst thing about being in a band is waiting for the guitarist to set up and adjust—and re-adjust, and then re-re-adjust—his collection of effects boxes and pedals. But it seems the biggest name in guitars is out to fix that. The Fender Tone app for iOS and Android manages thousands of pre-set guitar effects and delivers them via Bluetooth or WiFi to Fender’s new line of Mustang GT guitar amps.
Why It’s Hot:
Similar to other consumer technologies, Fender has built the amp so that it does not get outdated. Fender has built around an ARM computer processor system, and can use Bluetooth and wifi to send updates in the form of presets, hardware tweaks, and features whenever Fender has updates. The amp will continuously update as other sounds, new amps, and features roll-out through Fender’s offering creating a one size fits all system.
“If we release a new amp, we can do a simulation of it on this amp,” Kaplan said. The Mustang models come in three sizes, ranging from a small $250 tabletop practice amp, up to a $600 model that can fill a venue with sound. In testing out the Mustang, Kaplan said the team created simulations that the average player would be “hard pressed to tell apart” from the amps they were copying the tone of.
We’re all aware of the Doug Jones recent win against Roy Moore in this week’s Alabama senate race. But how soon you knew of this victory depended on where you got your information.
Those who turned into CNN and cable news sorely lagged behind those following the race on Twitter, the NY Times ticker and Times statistician and journalist Nate Cohen.
None of this is new, but statisticians have been modeling against turnout and percentage vote count goals per district and this technology has been getting better and better. By 9:30 on the eve of the election most pundits were still noting that Moore was up 8% in the raw votes coming in. But the Times ticker and online voices were noting how low the turnout was in these red districts and how Jones districts were late in coming in.
Why it’s hot:
There’s always a love for the horse race, but sometimes data is what trumps.
An animal shelter in San Francisco has been criticized for using a robot security guard to scare off homeless people.
The San Francisco branch of the SPCA (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) hired a K5 robot built by Knightscope to patrol the sidewalks outside its facilities as a “way to try dealing with the growing number of needles, car break-ins and crime that seemed to emanate from nearby tent encampments of homeless people.”
Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SF SPCA told the Business Times last week: “We weren’t able to use the sidewalks at all when there’s needles and tents and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment.”
The robot in question is equipped with four cameras, moves at a pace of three miles per hour, and is cheaper than a human security guard — costing around $6 an hour to rent. The same model of robot previously knocked over a toddler in a mall and fell into a fountain in DC. Knightscope says its robots are intended as deterrents, and for providing mobile surveillance.
Reaction to the news on social media has been overwhelming negative, with people shaming the SPCA for deploying the machine, and encouraging others to vandalize or destroy it. Within a week of the robot starting its duties, some people “put a tarp over it, knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors.” One Twitter user reported seeing the robot with feces smeared on it.
“Contrary to sensationalized reports, Knightscope was not brought in to clear the area around the SF SPCA of homeless individuals,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Knightscope was deployed, however, to serve and protect the SPCA. The SCPA has the right to protect its property, employees and visitors, and Knightscope is dedicated to helping them achieve this goal. The SPCA has reported fewer car break-ins and overall improved safety and quality of the surrounding area.”
In any case, the SPCA K5 might have a limited shelf life in San Francisco. The city recently passed new legislation limiting the use of robots in city streets. Although the rules were aimed primarily at delivery bots, the SPCA has been ordered to keep the K5 off sidewalks or face a $1,000 daily fine. Knightscope is currently negotiating with the city over future deployments.
Why It’s Hot:
Knightscope’s response raises questions about how society will respond to robots like these in the future.
Seems that because these robots are semi-autonomous, Knightscope, and those who hire them, can shift the blame for its actions.
While most people are getting nervous about the physical takeover of robots, no one is worried about the more imminent threat of AI, which is what the majority of industry leaders, such as Elon Musk, are warning us about.
Everyone knows the role of photosynthesis in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2). While there isn’t any doubt that plants are doing their job, there’s simply just too much CO2 for the plants to absorb and “fix.” Plus a main enzyme involved in the process doesn’t work that fast.
But researchers have managed to make a synthetic pathway that converts CO2 into organic compounds faster than plants. With more than 20% of our rainforests depleted and urban pollution at an all-time high, relying on our planet’s resources has taken a backseat to technological innovation.
Once the technology is successfully transplanted into living plants, we could be in for faster, less energy-intensive CO2 fixation. Its applications include developing systems to create carbon-based feed for cattle, and perhaps even designing more desirable chemical products.
Why It’s Hot
While I’m still not a believer in “don’t worry about global warming – we’ll innovate our way out of it”, I still hold hope that advances like this can be combined with more sustainable living to help us deal with this massive problem.
Millennials seem to be the toughest demographic to crack, as they’re viewed as narcissistic, entitled, superficial, and several more descriptive adjectives. So Mastercard Australia made it their mission to understand what millennials really wanted from their new debit rewards program. The “Millennials Demystified” experiment was conducted by researchers at the University of South Wales and the purpose was simple, to find out what millennials really desire. Participants of the study were given 2 choices in which they had to choose which one they desired the most, the catch was that their neurological impulses let the researchers know exactly what they truly desired out of the two choices. The results? Simple. Millennials are human after all and they want to do more good than harm the world, contrary to what seems to be common belief.
Why it’s hot:
Turns out millennials aren’t soulless zombies that want to watch the world burn.
Fortuitously timed, a genius developer has created an app that lets you appear to wield a Star Wars styled Light Saber using Augmented Reality. Per its creator:
“It’s an iPhone app that turns a rolled up piece of paper into a virtual lightsaber. I think the best thing about it is that it brings a special effect that has typically been reserved for advanced video editors to a mass audience.”
Why It’s Hot:
Augmented Reality has of course seen many new uses since becoming a widely available capability on iOS. Some are useful, and some just let you live out childhood fantasies like this. In either case, it’s amazing the digital layer of the world we are building on top of the physical one we have known for our entire lives.
3D printers helped us make a great leap into autonomous making with the ability to create our own physical “products”. But in a world where increasingly physical objects and products are connected, it’s frustrating not to be able to create 3D things that can be connected to digital devices. Enter researchers from University of Washington, who have “developed a way to 3D print plastic objects and sensors capable of communicating wirelessly with other smart devices, without the need for batteries or other electronics”.
As they say:
“The key idea behind our design is to communicate by reflections. The way that we do this is by reflecting Wi-Fi signals in the environment, similar to how you can use a mirror to reflect light. We 3D print antennas and switches that allow us to reflect radio signals. Using these components, we can build sensors that can detect mechanical motion, like water flow sensors and wind speed sensors. These sensors can then translate mechanical motion into reflections of Wi-Fi signals. As a result, we can create printable objects that can communicate wirelessly with Wi-Fi- enabled devices.”
Why It’s Hot:
It’s a primitive solution, but at least it’s an attempt to start enabling us to create our own “smart” products. In a world where soon almost all products will be connected, this is a promising step towards a true maker economy.
ETH Zurich, a science & tech university, has announced the development of a new kind of ink that contains live bacteria. This ink has fantastic implications for several areas of science, including cleaning up environmental pollution and creating medical supplies.
For environmental pollution, the ink is key because it suspends bacteria in a polymer hydrogel, which keeps the bacteria alive and fed for a time. Once the bacteria eat all of the hydrogel, it can begin to process other materials – for example, toxins in water. ETH Zurich researchers printed a live ink grid embedded with bacteria that eat the hazardous chemical phenol, and then put the lattice in phenol-contaminated water. The water was completely purified in just a few days.
For medical supplies, this ink is important not because of the bacteria itself, but because of the strands of material that the bacteria create when they move: bacterial cellulose. Bacterial cellulose is pure, holds a lot of water, and is soothing to wounds on human flesh. And it’s a natural material, so human bodies generally don’t reject the cellulose. As a result, this material is perfect for materials like skin transplants and wound dressings. Until now, bacterial cellulose could only be grown in flat sheets, which isn’t conducive to the contours of bodies – but now with this 3D ink, researchers can print cellulose in the shape of someone’s elbow, or face, or ankle, etc.
Why It’s Hot: There are SO many possible applications of this technology. 3D printing is relatively easy to access, and there are a million kinds of bacteria (unscientific estimation) that could be used and modified to achieve a multitude of goals. For example, researchers are already eyeing bacteria that could be genetically modified to secrete medicine to speed wound healing, and before you know it we’ll all be buying bacterially enhanced Band-Aids!
In some Asian countries including Japan and China, there’s a culture that encourages employees to work overtime. Sadly, overtime has led to deaths.
A Japanese company named Taisei wants to solve this problem in an unconventional way. They designed a drone that surveils around the office with camera and blasts Auld Lang Syne to nag people into going home. In Japan this song is usually used to indicate closing time. Their plan is to make it hard for people to concentrate and continue to work.
Why it’s hot: a very functional and useful application of cutting-edge technologies.
Instagram is testing a standalone app for private messages called Direct, a first step toward possibly toward removing messaging features from the core app.
Although it is officially only a test, Instagram’s rationale for building Direct app is that private messaging can never be a best-in-class experience when it lives inside an app meant for broadcasting publicly.
When Facebook split Messenger from the main app in 2014, it drew an outcry from users, who pelted it with one-star reviews. Today, the app has 1.3 billion monthly users — up from 500 million the year that it split.
Why It’s Hot
How many more messaging apps can there be? I guess time will tell but for now focused experiences continues to win even when it requires multiple apps.
Akili Interactive just announced incredible results from a pivotal study of their investigational digital medicine, AKL-T01, aka a VIDEO GAME, in treating pediatric ADHD. This sounds bonkers but it’s true, I swear.
In a randomized, controlled trial of 348 kids and teenagers with ADHD, AKL-T01 showed a statistically significant improvement compared to an active control on the primary goal of changing the subjects’ Attention Performance Index, a measure of ADHD symptoms. With these study results in hand, Akili plans to file AKL-T01 with the FDA for clearance as a novel treatment for pediatric ADHD.
AKL-T01 is built on Akili’s proprietary Project: EVO tech platform that “enables selective targeting and activation of specific cognitive neural systems in the brain that exhibit deficiencies from various medical conditions” (BusinessWire). Basically, the game uses algorithms to deliver stimuli that engage targeted neural systems in the brain, and the algorithms automatically adjust the level, aka dose, of stimuli depending on the particular patient. The treatment looks and feels like a video game, with art, music, storytelling, and rewards to keep kids engaged for maximum compliance.
Why It’s Hot: IT’S A VIDEO GAME THAT IS ALSO A PRESCRIPTION FOR CHANGING NEURAL PATHWAYS IN PEOPLE. That is bonkers. If the FDA approves this as a medication, and the platform is expanded to treat other brain/neurological disorders, the possibilities are endless.
General Motors is launching a new in-vehicle app named Marketplace that will allow drivers to pay for goods such as gasoline or coffee and schedule service through their infotainment systems.
The automaker expects the free technology, which it is calling an industry first, to quickly expand from about a dozen offerings, such as ordering Dunkin’ Donuts or reserving a table at TGI Fridays, to other services such as Starbucks orders and dealership services, including oil changes.
“We are using it also to improve how our customers interact with the vehicle and the dealership network,” says Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of global connected customer experience. He emphasized the connections are secure, and Marketplace is not meant to be an in-vehicle digital billboard.
In-vehicle marketplaces and app-based services have been discussed for years. Offerings such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirror smartphone apps onto the vehicle’s infotainment screens but do not complete financial transactions.
Some services such as ordering Dunkin’ Donuts for pick up require drivers to have an account or profile with the store. Marketplace uses recent and favorite foods and settings from the profiles to customize the offerings for the driver. Deals and membership rewards are currently available from gas stations. Paying for gasoline is expected to be available early next year.
Dealership services such as scheduling oil changes or other maintenance are expected to be added as early as next year. Vehicles will have the capability to alert drivers of needed services and schedule them, if the driver would like.
Other current partners with Marketplace include Wingstop, Shell, ExxonMobil, Priceline.com, Parkopedia, Applebee’s, IHOP and Delivery.com. Starbucks is expected to be added in early 2018.
According to Consumer Reports, though, “The bad news is that in its current state, there’s not much reward for drivers to actually use it—though the automaker promises that will change soon as it adds more options and retail partners….Ultimately, instead of opening up an e-commerce gateway, GM Marketplace acts more like a middleman with limited options, at least in its current state.”
Automotive innovation is not only about self-driving technology, but about retail and the new consumer expectations brands need to meet. The opportunity for e-commerce to be at your fingertips even while driving may open up more geo-fenced, trackable marketing opportunities.
First, a quick definition, according to CryptoKitties’ website:
” CryptoKitties is one of the world’s first games to be built on blockchain technology—the same breakthrough that makes things like Bitcoin and Ethereum possible. Bitcoin and ether are cryptocurrencies but CryptoKitties are crypto-collectibles. You can buy, sell, or trade your CryptoKitty like it was a traditional collectible, secure in the knowledge that blockchain will track ownership securely.”
The game’s developers describe them as “breedable Beanie Babies” and each one of them has its own unique 256-bit genome. The kitties’ unique DNA can lead to four billion possible genetic variations.
Developers also say that these crypto-collectibles cats are gender-fluid, able to play the role of either the “dame” or the “sire” when bred together.
So far people have spent more than $ 3 million dollars on it (!!!).
Spotify’s annual Wrapped feature is now up to give users insights into what they streamed over the past twelve months. Wrapped, which replaced Spotify’s personalized Year in Music feature last year, tells you the amount of time you spent streaming music in 2016 and how many songs and artists you listened to. Then it quizzes you to see how well you know your own listening habits before making a personalized playlist of 30 songs you might have missed this year. (check it out: 2017Wrapped.com)
Why it’s hot: Yet another way that Spotify is leveraging user data for audience engagement. This is a bit of a step up from their ‘year in review’ in-app experience, and they are providing an extra value add at the end. They are showing you 30 new songs that you might not know of yet, and proving how well they know you and your taste. Could they get any better?!
Bonus: Un-related, fun, Friday Instagram post that you never knew you needed. Enjoy.
Facebook Messenger is coming to businesses’ own websites. The social network announced today the launch of a new customer chat plugin into closed beta, which will allow customers to talk directly with businesses on their websites using Messenger, and continue those conversations across web, mobile and tablet devices.
Like other web chat systems, the Messenger chat plugin is designed to hover over the top of the business’s web page, and is indicated by the familiar, blue Messenger icon. The Customer Chat bubble initially opens on websites, but remains an active conversation in the customer’s Messenger inbox even after they close both the on-site conversation and leave the website altogether. This is revolutionary! This means that companies are no longer bound by the Rule of 30 Seconds — the prevailing industry wisdom that if an agent doesn’t respond to a chat inquiry within 30 seconds, that lead is lost.
Now, on-site chat can finally function the way people actually chat today: A person initiates a conversation with a company by pressing the familiar on-site chat prompt, But if an agent doesn’t respond right away, the person can navigate away from that page, close their computer or phone, and go about their business. When someone does respond on the other end, that person sees it as a message coming into their Messenger inbox, the same way they get messages from friends.
If they ask a follow-up question, the same pattern ensues. The person can ask their question, put their phone away and go about their business and get a message in their Messenger inbox with the response, whether it’s 10 seconds or 10 hours later. With traditional tools, this customer would have been lost after 30 seconds. Now, they are engaged in an indefinite, productive conversation with the company.
Why It’s Hot
Facebook’s new plug-in, Customer Chat, will foster two-way communication between brands and consumers, and at the same time, boost engagement rates and encourage sales. For the customer, it is the ease of clicking on a company’s website, typing a question in the Messenger chat and knowing that if they leave the site and turn off their devices, they will receive a response in their Messenger app. It is an innovative way to expand brand presence and increase sales on mobile. Businesses would be able to track web activity and analyze information.
New York startup Finery has created an AI-powered operating system that will organize your wardrobe.
It provides an automated system that reminds women what options they have, as well as creating outfits for them – saving users a lot of time and money (as they won’t mistakenly buy another grey cashmere jumper if they know they already have three at home).
Users link The Wardrobe Operating System to their email address, so the platform can browse through their mailbox to find their shopping history. All the items they’ve purchased online are then transferred to their digital wardrobe (with 93% accuracy).
Any clothing bought from a bricks-and-mortar shop can be added as well, but that’s done manually by either searching the Finery database for the item or uploading an image (either one you’ve taken or one from the internet). Finery uses Cloud Vision to identify what the object is (skirt, dress, trousers, etc.), the color and the material – then the brand and size can be added manually.
Once your clothing is all uploaded, the platform uses algorithms to recommend outfits based on the pieces you own as well as recommending future purchases that would match with your current items.
Users can also create and save outfits within the platform. And, if they give Finery access to their shopping accounts, the startup will aggregate all their unpurchased shopping cart items into a single Wishlist and alert them when said items go on sale.
Finery will alert its users when the return window for an item they’ve purchased is closing. And it will also let them know if they already own an item that looks similar to one they are planning on buying.
Finery has currently partnered with over 500 stores, equivalent to more than 10,000 brands, to create its online catalog. ‘That covers about ninety percent of the retail market.
Next, the company will be expanding into children’s clothing, and then men’s fashion. And it’s working on developing algorithms to suggest outfit combinations based on weather, location and personal preference, as well as a personalized recommendations tool for items not yet in user’s closets.
Why It’s Hot:
This personal “stylist” gives courage to fashion-handicaps (like myself) to shop online with confidence
It helps avoid unnecessary fashion splurges – BFD considering the average woman spends $250 -$350K on clothes over their lifetime
Acts as a fashion-dream catcher that helps grant your wish list by making purchases easy
Google’s Senior Lead, Energy & Infrastructure announced on LinkedIn:
535 MW more wind brings Google over 3 GW worldwide — 2*98 MW with Avangrid in South Dakota, 200 MW with EDF in Iowa, and 138.6 MW with GRDA in Oklahoma — cementing Google as the largest corporate purchaser of renewables on the planet @ 100% renewable in 2017!
This is significant because Google uses a LOT of power. The dirty secret of cloud computing used to be how energy intensive they were. However, in the last few years companies have been working to make their servers more efficient. According to this article in Fortune,
The energy use by data centers only grew 4% between 2010 and 2014. In contrast it grew 90% from 2000 to 2005, and 24% from 2005 to 2010. The report predicts that data center energy use will only grow another 4% between 2014 and 202o.
Why it’s hot:
Hopefully this represents a continuing shift towards renewables. The question is whether the shift is happening fast enough to mitigate the very worst effects of climate change.
Ok, so maybe it is not on the forefront of new technology, but artist Marc Horowitz’s new website makes wonderful use of existing and familiar technology to bring the experience of a guided museum tour into a new light.
A conceptual artist, Horowitz felt his work needed additional context to be fully appreciated, but did not want to go the traditional route of adding lots of text or creating a video for his portfolio. Instead, created an experience that is part audio tour, part podcast, and part interactive website.
At first glance, HAWRAF’s design looks like a pretty standard portfolio. There are tabs at the top, with images below that represent 32 projects dating all the way back to 2001. But the designers, inspired by the audio tours you’ve probably experienced at a museum or gallery, added another element of interaction. In big block text at the top of the website, it says, “Call 1-833-MAR-CIVE.” When you do, you can hear the artist himself tell you stories about each project by simply dialing the reference number below each image.
As an added bonus, users can choose to read the descriptions rather than dial in, making the experience not only unique, but also accessible for the hearing-impaired.
Why it’s hot
As brands and agencies scramble to adopt bleeding edge technology and embrace the latest trends, it’s worth remembering that existing tools and technology can still be harnessed in interesting and new ways. Fitting the experience to the needs of the brand and the user will always result in a more useful and lasting experience than something ill-suited but fashionable
Two developments this week are putting Apple Watch front & center in the ongoing search for better atrial fibrillation (AFib) diagnostic and management tools. AFib is a condition where your heartbeat is irregular, and it often has zero symptoms and goes undiagnosed. It’s currently the leading cause of strokes, and related deaths and hospitalizations, in the US.
First, the FDA has cleared the first EKG band as a direct-to-consumer – meaning, you don’t need a prescription to purchase or use it – Apple Watch accessory. The KardiaBand, a device made by startup AliveCor, can capture your EKG in 30 seconds. The band’s algorithms can then detect whether signs of AFib are present in the EKG. The band also makes use of the Apple Watch’s heartbeat sensors and will alert you if your watch is picking up fast or irregular heartbeats, and prompt you to complete an EKG test on the spot to further analyze any symptoms you may be feeling.
Second, Stanford has launched an irregular heartbeat study using the Apple Watch and an app available on the App Store called Apple Heart Study. Users just download the app and consent to participate, and then their data is automatically collected and analyzed by Stanford. If AFib is detected, the app will send you a push notification as well as provide a free consultation with a Stanford doctor and an EKG patch for further monitoring. With Apple’s recent release of HealthKit and ResearchKit, this study is another step toward positioning the Apple Watch as a versatile, reliable health monitoring device.
Why It’s Hot: These two developments are cracking the facade of a time-honored medical tradition of keeping information about your own body behind expert oversight. The KardiaBand being direct-to-consumer indicates a big step forward in companies being able to build hardware and software that rival medical technology to a level that the FDA will approve it. And the Stanford study is working directly with Apple Watch users, not requiring any subjects to go into a medical facility for testing and data gathering. Is this the first step toward breaking down the expert oversight firewall? But of course, on the other hand, what are the ramifications of people’s health data being shared and stored on their devices?