Innovation

Digital Banking: A Trend You Can Bank On

On June 8, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the growing presence of tech players leveraging big data and artificial intelligence technology could significantly disrupt the world’s financial system.

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News

First Exoskeleton Suit Receives FDA Clearance

Marlborough, Mass.-based ReWalk Robotics has received clearance from Food and Drug Administration for the company’s ReStore soft exo-suit system designed for U.S. rehabilitation centers. ReStore is the only soft exo-suit with FDA clearance, and is intended for use in the treatment of stroke survivors with mobility challenges. The cost for ReStore will hover around the $100,000 mark, putting it out of reach for most patients but not rehab facilities. The technology should improve and lower costs. The global stroke management market is forecast to reach $37 billion by 2023, according to Allied Market Research.

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News

Delivery Drones

In April, Alphabet’s Wing became the first drone delivery company to gain Federal Aviation Administration approval to make commercial U.S. deliveries. Just five years ago, 63% of Americans thought it would be a “change for the worse” if commercial drones were given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace. But then again, you can’t have consumers assess future technologies because they have little understanding of its inherent potential. That is underscored by Morgan Stanley’s prediction that autonomous aircraft could become a $1.5 trillion industry by 2040. Meanwhile, Amazon has unveiled the latest iteration of its Prime Air delivery drone. Video below in our innovation video gallery.

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News

Bird Launches Cruiser Electric Moped

Scooter-sharing company Bird will offer an electric moped in select markets this summer, called the “Cruiser” the first to include a seat. Mopeds can be used like a bike, with the electric motor offering assistance to make pedaling easier, or as a motorcycle with feet on the pegs. The Cruiser features a 52-volt battery that lasts for 50 miles. It has disc brakes, a padded seat, an LCD screen, and is limited to a 30-mph speed. On June 12, Santa Monica-based Bird announced that it would acquire San Francisco-based Scoot. As we reported previously, the electric scooter market is heating up with Harley-Davidson recently launching one. Bird has raised a total of $415 million in funding over five rounds.

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News

KLM Flying V Jet

Dutch airline KLM, working with researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, has launched the Flying V jet concept, named after an iconic Gibson guitar featuring a similar shape. The Flying V was conceived by Justus Benad, a former student at the Technical University of Berlin. The Flying V is projected to use 20% less fuel than traditional designs, while accommodating 314 passengers in its oversize wings. Commercial release is slated for 2040. Boeing predicts that the airline industry will need 790,000 pilots in the next 20 years.

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News

Panic Playdate

Panic, a 20-year-old Mac software company, has made a major splash announcing its first hardware device. Playdate is a bright-yellow handheld gaming console with a monochrome screen that was co-developed with Swedish design firm Teenage Engineering and features games by such developers as Zach Gage, Bennett Foddy and Keita Takahashi. Playdate fits in your pocket and clearly strives to be the Gameboy of the Digital Natives generation. Playdate, which is a branding stroke of genius BTW, also features an innovative hand crank. If you have to ask, you’re not a gamer… Panic’s website is also stunningly cool.

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News

Tiny House Kit Goes Viral, Sells Out

We have been major proponents of the small homes trend, and probably the only research firm to make a market in this emerging sector. Earlier this month, a tiny house kit, sold on Amazon of course, was discovered on social media and instantly went viral. The Allwood Solvalla 172-square-foot studio cabin, or garden house, kit retails for $7,250, building materials included. Common items, such as electricity or a bathroom, are extra. These tiny home kits are shipped in a big crate and delivery takes three to five weeks. Expect this trend to accelerate in the near future. Meanwhile, the median square footage of a new, single-family home reached 2,355 in 2018. To see a gallery of both kit homes and a few outstanding upgrade examples, click this post’s title.

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Innovation

Augmented Reality Retail Innovation

One of the standout innovations at SXSW was shown by Lush Retail, a U.K. cosmetics firm that sells, of all things, bath bombs. Lush runs an innovation division called Lush Labs that designed a mobile app that lets you to scan any of their bath bombs and immediately see its name, elements, cost and fragrance description.

More than 26,700 stores have closed since 2007, when the current retail downslope began. One mitigating factor is the fact that the U.S. has more retail square footage per capita than any other country, as much as six times more than the U.K.

Then there is Amazon.com, which has siphoned off America’s best retail buyers, corralling them into the ultimate email list of 100 million Prime members. One researcher believes that more than half of U.S. households will be Prime members by yearend 2019.

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Mina Guli NYC Colgate Run
Trends

I Want to Make Saving Water Famous

That’s what Mina Guli tells me in an interview before Cirque du Soleil’s One Night for One Drop fundraising event in Las Vegas tonight. Doctors once told Guli that she never would be able to run again. She just finished her third campaign of running 40(!) marathons, a feat that defies description, to raise awareness about saving water.

Guli had to suspend her last campaign after running “only” 62 marathons in 62 days because she broke a leg (explaining the featured image). Guli tells me that the connection with Cirque du Soleil started in Las Vegas when she was invited to a big gala for the 2016 One Night for One Drop event. Colgate became the Colgate teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to take the message to the world.

Colgate spokesperson, Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Alyssa Matos, tells me that Colgate products are found in two-thirds of households across the world and almost all their products require water usage. Colgate teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to take the message to the world.

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Innovation

AI Is Reinventing Our World

If the tech behind ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com is any indication, AI is going to disrupt the visual sciences. A few days ago, The New York Times wondered if ethical A.I. is even possible. That’s not a rhetorical question given the ability of AI to generate fake visuals as persuasive as ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com suggests.

Just this past summer, we learned that DeepMind’s AI agents were capable of exceeding “human-level” visual gameplay.

That was followed in the fall by the launch of an automated labeling service for Amazon’s SageMaker machine learning tool that promises to greatly speed up the labeling of large data sets to accelerate machine learning.

This week, the folks behind the Halide photo app launched Spectre, an app that uses AI to create stunningly long exposures. Google meanwhile is adding a spelling checker to G Suite that was developed using machine learning.

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