The future of supermarket shopping- virtual carts

There are no shopping carts or baskets inside the new Amazon Go store in Seattle. It feels as if you’re entering a subway station with a row of gates guarding the entrance to the store, allowing you in only if you have Amazon’s smartphone app. The checkout process is automated and you put items directly into a shopping bag. Every time you take an item off a shelf, the product is automatically put into the shopping cart of your Amazon online account. If you put the item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from your virtual cart. www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/technology/inside-amazon-go-a-store-of-the-future.html

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Facial recognition for more personalised service

The faces of customers at Sydney’s Bahista Cafe are scanned by an iPad as they approach the barista at the coffee machine. Instantly the customer’s name, favourite order and whether they are due for a loyalty reward flashes up on another iPad facing staff. Business at the cafe has significantly increased following introduction of this new service. http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-tech/facial-recognition-with-your-takeaway-coffee-20171221-h08qb5.html

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A camera that helps musicians practice better

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Musician’s Mirror helps players overcome bad habits and avoid injury. The computer vision based system watches its users practice and feeds back instantly, sounding warning notes to make them aware when they slip into bad habits. The system uses a camera, typically mounted on the music stand, to track the musician’s overall posture, or any part of their body that they want to concentrate on. http://www.arthurcarabott.com/musicians-mirror/

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Single use plastic containers and cutlery to be phased out

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The Hobart City Council in Tasmania has agreed to draft legislation that would phase out single-use plastic containers and cutlery by 2020. Instead of using plastic containers for home delivery and takeout, restaurants in the city of 220,000 would have to use ones made from cardboard, cornstarch or bamboo that could be composted. The move follows Tasmania’s ban on thin plastic bags in 2013. (Thicker retail bags are still allowed.) https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/world/australia/plastic-tasmania-hobart.html?

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A smart luggage tag that gives you travel tips

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be offering passengers who visit Amsterdam this September the KLM Care Tag, a smart audio luggage tag that provides you with location-based travel tips. The tag works with offline GPS and features a speaker that reacts with relevant information as you walk through certain places of interest in the city. https://www.springwise.com/luggage-tag-offers-audio-tips-tourists-visiting-amsterdam/?

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Pet translators

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Pet translators that can turn woofs into words and make sense of miaows, might really be on the horizon, according to a recent report. A Futurologist who co-authored the report for Amazon, says he believes devices that can talk dog could be less than 10 years away. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/hear-boy-pet-translators-will-be-on-sale-soon-amazon-says?

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Hindu god to be world’s biggest statue

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The world’s biggest statue is finally taking shape on a hill overlooking Bali’s international airport. Twenty-five years and around $100 million in the making, the enormous copper and brass sculpture is of the Hindu god Wisnu astride the mythical bird Garuda. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-11/bali-buliding-worlds-biggest-statue-garuda-wisnu-kencana/8600760

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A water capsule you can drink

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Plastic bottles make it easy to transport water, but it takes energy to make the bottles. When you’re done with your drink, it takes more energy to unmake the bottle, as plastics won’t fully degrade on their own. Now a startup called Skipping Rock Labs thinks we can just skip plastic bottles entirely. It has developed a capsule called “Ooho!” for transporting water that is not only biodegradable, it’s edible. https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/247672-seaweed-based-water-pouch-aims-end-need-plastic-bottles

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Encouraging women to have a say

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A recent study found that men interrupt women 23% more often than they interrupt other men. A new app, Woman Interrupted, has been created to help detect these interruptions which can prevent women from expressing their ideas. The app is free and uses microphones to analyse conversations and detect how often women are being interrupted. http://www.womaninterruptedapp.com/en/

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