No more checkout queues

We’re rapidly heading toward an era of all-digital shopping transactions. By the end of January 2018, 125 Walmart locations in the US will feature “Scan & Go” technology, which enables shoppers to scan items and pay for their purchases directly from their phones while in-store. Kroger’s “Scan, Bag, Go” technology will be rolled out to 400 stores this year, and Amazon’s Go is also expanding,. https://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-lets-shoppers-check-out-without-cashiers-at-more-stores-2018-1

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Using avatars and AR to express yourself creatively

These animated characters are a preview of our immersive avatar future, an evolution of digital self-expression and communication. In the early days of the internet communities were text based. Newer entrants like Instagram and Snapchat are visual mediums and introduced face filters. The next evolution of communication will be driven by augmented reality so you can express yourself creatively. You can watch the Facebook Developers promo video here: https://www.facebook.com/FacebookforDevelopers/videos/10154612033343553/

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A wearable breast pump

Mountain View-based startup Willow has developed a discreet, battery-powered breast pump that follows the shape of the breast and is small enough to be slipped into a bra. The milk is sucked into freezer-safe bags that fit into the cups. Because it’s so much quieter, it allows the wearer to continue with her day while pumping, whether at work or leisure. An accompanying smartphone app keeps track of milk volume, pumping time and past pumping sessions. The device is currently in beta testing, but will be available to purchase in 2018. https://www.willowpump.com/

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A social robot that helps autistic adults find work

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have built Alyx, a robot that teaches autistic people to recognise social cues. Learning to identify and process these facial expressions is critical to workplace interactions. The team plans to turn the Alyx prototype into a full-bodied, autonomous version, operating in a mock workplace, with clinical trials then planned. http://www.straitstimes.com/world/social-robot-could-help-autistic-adults-find-work

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A new global standard to foster innovation

The ISO 50501 standard relates to the topic of innovation management and is expected to be launched in 2018 to provide the world’s first common standard for innovation processes. Experts from 47 countries have worked on this guideline for several years. They plan to endow companies with tools they can use to map their innovation management processes. Innovation management principles will describe what characterizes an innovative organization and will operate as guidelines for improvement. https://www.itonics.de/2017/12/new-iso-50501-to-foster-innovations/

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A giant panda solar farm

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Most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid. A new solar power plant in Datong China, decided to have a little fun with its design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country’s largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda. The project is part of a larger effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy. http://www.businessinsider.com/china-panda-solar-power-plant-2017-7

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An innovative Christmas Tree

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Brisbane City Council’s Open Innovation Process uses the collective wisdom of individuals, businesses (small and large), entrepreneurs, students, academics and council representatives to solve problems. This year participants were asked how they would power the iconic King George Square Christmas tree in Brisbane using sustainable, innovative technology for both the star and the decorations. Previously only the star was powered with solar. The solution by Lit-Pix uses 8000 programmed LED lights powered using solar panels on the new Santa Hut, allowing programmed lighting displays for all to enjoy. www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/governance-strategy/business-brisbane/business-events-awards/brisbane-innovate/open-innovation-process

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Transparency in fashion retailing

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Online fashion retailer Everlane has focused on being transparent about its supply chain–including how much it costs to make each product. Its first physical store reflects this concept of transparency so there is no product in the windows. The brand is centered around people, and that is what you see when you look in. Also importantly Everlane has designed a point-of-sale system from scratch that creates a connection between your online profile and your shopping behavior in-store so your customer service is improved. https://www.fastcompany.com/40502731/everlanes-first-ever-physical-store-takes-radical-transparency-literally

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Cups made from coffee

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Coffee husks have no nutrient value so it doesn’t make sense to mix them with other organic materials for composting. Instead of throwing them away a new use has been found for them. The new Huskee cups are a three-in-one solution – they cross the boundaries between a dine-in ceramic cup, a takeaway cup, and a reusable cup. They have a universal saucer and lid that fit all sizes in the range. While the cups, lids, and saucers are recyclable they are also dishwasher-safe, so they can be reused and ultimately replace takeaway cups. https://www.huskee.co/

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