Unlocking more unique design possibilities for common objects may be what propels 3D printed consumer goods into the mainstream, years after the peak of the hype cycle. Fast Company profiles Gantri, and their 3D printed lighting products.
Feeding the Future:
Some fascinating graphs and explanations for changing food consumption trends in the United States, like how World War II impacted American appetites for ice cream and mozzarella, or the incredible rise of chickpea consumption as more people developed a taste for hummus. Today's mix of factors that may have long shadows of influence on the American diet: reduced meat consumption by non-vegetarians, and trade wars that are impacting the price of imported/exported agricultural products, skewing the cost of raw materials for all kinds of prepared foods. Changing food habits takes a good deal energy to overcome cultural inertia, but once they do change, they tend to be equally difficult to break.
In theory, higher wage countries should be purchasing the lion's share of industrial robots, as the return on investment is much faster. In practice, manufacturers in lower wage countries (Thailand, China, Mexico, etc.) are purchasing industrial robots at a rate far outstripping the U.S. and Western Europe, when a wage-based approach to measurement (rather than the more common industrial robots per X number of workers measurement) is used. Put another way: manufacturers in lower wage countries are adopting industrial robots much more quickly than they are 'supposed' to be.
Among the topics in a wide-ranging conversation between Jaron Lanier and E. Gwen Weyl, is how simulated experiences, like haptics and VR, can help to learn more about the long, sensory lineage embedded in our brains: "...the notion that you could radically reorganize the body and the brain could still control it was not something that could have been tested before. And it is remarkable. One thing that's probably going on is that the brain remembers body forms that our ancestors inhabited, because as far as the brain is concerned evolution is a slow, gradual process. So the brain remembers what it was like to have a tail."
According to Cheddar, Snap Inc. is working on yet another generation of their Spectacles products, this time with a camera on both sides of the frame. Stereo cameras should enable Snap to overlay the kind of augmented reality filters their chat app is famous for (and other companies have copied) onto first-person video clips. Given the pace of their hardware product development, and the incremental, in-market approach they are taking, it seems clear that a full AR product is coming down the pike in the not too distant future.
Samsung has admitted fault, and agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit from employees and their families. The lawsuits allege that exposure to chemicals at the company's manufacturing plants led to cancer, death, and permanent injury for numerous workers. This case (and Samsung's admission that it failed to do enough) is a reminder that the futuristic aura of the bright, shiny new objects we consume is sometimes a veneer, obscuring the dirtier realities of manufacturing and global trade, and the horrible compromises on worker safety that are all too common. Other sources on that same story say that the Samsung is refusing to disclose what the chemicals linked to these illnesses are, citing the need to protect trade secrets.
In defense of the food photos all over the internet: "So why are we obsessed with sharing pictures of our food? Because it’s decidedly human. It brings us all a little closer, if only through a shared appreciation of our best meals."