- The Dyson hand dryer turns out to be one of the worst offenders for spreading viruses. It's won a bunch of awards over the years- which is a pretty strong indictment of design culture in the 21st century - if it looks good and you tell us it's better, we'll take your word for it and give you a gold star.
- Fast food companies will go to absurd lengths to transform commodity inputs into signatures of their corporate brands. Case in point: Taco Bell spent two years tuning the characteristics and behavior of cheese in their dishes.
Roadmapping the Future :
- Regina Dugan, the head of Google's ATAP division, responsible for ambitious mobile tech/interface products is moving to Facebook to start a similar program there. We've seen over the last few years Facebook digging much deeper into the world of hardware (acquiring VR startup Oculus Rift and drone maker Ascenta) and this is the strongest signal yet that it's only going to intensify those efforts.
Feeding the Future:
- There's a lot to hate on with the latest internet of things kitchen gadget Juicero - essentially a Keurig type machine for fresh juice. As with the Keurig, it's business model is predicated on wasteful, proprietary consumables. Perhaps most interesting is the QR code element - it's mostly used to create product lock-in and avoid 3rd party vendors creating compatible consumables (as happened to Keurig), but it is also used to provide data on freshness, source of the produce, etc. It's a big leap for food consumed at home to have freshness and quality validated by a machine, rather than our human senses. As more companies set out to tackle automated food service for sectors like fast food, getting people accustomed to trusting technology with what they are about to eat is one of many psychological and cultural challenges they will face - the Juicero tech (if it becomes widely adopted) may be laying the groundwork for such changes. The systems to support such tracking efforts could also dramatically reduce the cost of food recalls - with equipment automatically rejecting any items covered by a recall. We still think it's a fairly environmentally irresponsible product, but it contains some interesting (and maybe more problematic) ideas about what the future of food will look like.
Bias and Brains:
- A movie studio commissioned a visual effects company to "shift ethnicity" of white actors for the upcoming live action version of Ghost in the Shell. It's one of many appallingly racist stories of the industry to come out of Hollywood recently, with studios seemingly doing everything they can to put white faces up front and exclude everyone else.