IKEA has introduced an indoor farm with the hopes of giving people the ability to grow their own food at home. The prototype, or ‘Lokal’ as it’s called, was designed by SPACE10, IKEA’s lab for innovation.
Lokal is the most recent prototype to come from ‘The Farm’, a SPACE10 lab seeking to change how we view traditional farming while implementing new food production methods into our cities.
“By experimenting with hydroponics (growing of food without soil), SPACE10 says that it’s able to grow food up to three times faster and with 90% less water than traditional methods. In addition to being soilless and faster than traditional methods, Lokal is also able to grow greens without any sunlight at all. Instead, the plants survive solely off of LED lighting and mineral nutrient rich water.
SPACE10 points out that the current global food system is problematic for a few reasons. For starters, our current method of food production is contributing to the changing climate and is also wasteful of resources that we are already running low on, like fresh water. Furthermore, current methods lend themselves to wasting food. The hope is that the benefits of hydroponic farming courtesy of Lokal will go a long way in remedying some of these problems. According to its post with Medium, the food also “tastes good, is more nutritious, pesticide-free and fresh all year round”.
The lab also has hopes of “Introducing sensors and machine learning to the vertical stacks and connecting the data with Google Home — to enable people to ‘talk’ to plants, in effect, and hear how they’re doing, as well as to teach children and adults alike about sustainable food”.
Why it’s hot:
IKEA continues to step up their game in innovation. Although they are a furniture/lifestyle brand, they are taking a stand for a greater good.
Some genius developer has boldly chosen to experiment with perhaps the world’s most forgotten voice assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and imagined what interacting with her could be like if you added another dimension to it.
In his words – “It’s basically what I imagined Microsoft’s version of Alexa or Google Home would be like if they were to use the holographic AI sidekick from the Halo franchise.”
As seen in the video above, in his prototype, it’s as if you’re speaking to an actual artificial person, making the experience feel more human.
Why it’s hot:
Amazon recently released the Echo Show, which allows skillmakers to add a “face” to their interactions, but this makes that look like a kids toy. This shows how what started not long ago as primitive voice technology on a phone, could quickly turn into actual virtual assistants that look and act like humans, powered by the underlying technology. Plus, apparently 145 million people may not ignore they have access to Cortana in the future.
A Canadian company called Lyrebird has created a way to replicate anyone’s voice using AI. After capturing 60 seconds of anyone talking, the machine can reproduce an individual’s way of speaking. They say they’ve already received thousands of ideas on how people could use this new capability:
Some companies, for example, are interested in letting their users choose to have audio books read in the voice of either famous people or family members. The same is true of medical companies, which could allow people with voice disabilities to train their synthetic voices to sound like themselves, if recorded samples of their speaking voices exist. Another interesting idea is for video game companies to offer the ability for in-game characters to speak with the voice of the human player.
But even bigger, they say their technology will allow people to create a unique voice of their own, with the ability to fully control even the emotion with which it speaks.
Why it’s hot
Besides the fact that it’s another example of life imitating art, we already live in a world where we have quite a bit of control over how we portray ourselves to the world. In the future, could we choose our own voice? Could we have different voices for every situation? How might we ever really be sure we know who we’re speaking to? Does the way someone has chosen to sound change the way we get to know them? And, what if the voices of our friends and family can now be preserved in perpetuity?
Google Home is about to offer a feature Amazon’s Alexa can’t match: finds from local stores.
The new feature is powered by local inventory feeds sent by retailers that buy ads on Google. In the past year, local shopping queries have increased 45 percent and the search giant has doubled the number of retailers that send local inventory feeds.
With this new feature, Google is offering users something Amazon doesn’t — a way to find merchandise at your local store and try before you buy.
It’s all part of Google’s long-term strategy to develop products and services that use artificial intelligence to make it easier for people to interact with computers – that, in turn, will feed into Google’s ad-based business model.
Why It’s Hot
-It continues the local digital trend that’s grown over the past couple of years
-It’s also another interesting bridge between eCommerce and advertising – with a healthy mix of IoT thrown in