Innovation

AI in Retail

Vogue Business has an interesting article about how traditional retailers are using AI to increase sales. Some are using AI to recommend custom store displays based on the profile and buying habits of their regular customers. Others are using AI to select first time customers to invite to special offer events in order to convert them to repeat customers.

Stephen Wolfram's Personal Infrastructure

Stephen Wolfram has published a fascinating long-read on his personal infrastructure. He details all the tech he uses in his everyday life and how he organises and categorises everything, most of which are processes which he has optimised over the last 30 years. It is inspiring how efficiently he organises everything, down to having labelled plastic envelopes of devices, tech and accessories for travelling, hotel stays, car hire trips etc.

Heat Camouflage

Research published by The American Chemical Society shows that aerogel film coated with polyethylene glycol and a waterproof layer acts as an effective invisibility cloak to infrared detectors. The relatively inexpensive coated material effectively absorbs heat but releases it slowly over time, making it less visible.

Real Time Hidden Acoustic Signals

Researchers in China and the U.S. have created a system for receiving hidden data in audio signals using smartphone microphones. The Dolphin system uses commercial off the shelf (COTS) smartphones to detect, error correct and decode hidden data transmitted in audio within an 8 meter distance and up to an angle of 90 degrees. Transmission of sport stats data via stadium speakers without the need for internet connectivity is one possible implementation of this mass transmission system.

AntBot

Researchers at CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, in the Institut des Sciences du Mouvement – Étienne Jules Marey (ISM) have developed a robot that can navigate outdoors without GPS. The AntBot mimics the cataglyphis desert ants, which navigate using an internal celestial compass based on the sky's polarised light combined with counting their steps taken.

Oceans S1

Team Oceans have launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce an ultrasonic communication watch for underwater divers. The watch allows for buddy communication underwater by sending an ultrasonic pulse that is detected by other watches in the vicinity, which then vibrate to grab the attention of the wearer.

Alias Voice Assistant Parasite

Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen have created Alias, a parasite smart device that can be used to stop your voice assistant device from spying on you. The DIY device deafens the assistant's microphone with white noise, and only stops when alias hears you speak the device's wake word. Alias then cuts the white noise and relays a recording of the wake word to the assistant, allowing it to work as intended. Details on how to build the alias device are available on Instructables.

24.9 Billion Pixel Shanghai

The government of Shanghai commissioned a 24.9 Billion Pixel photograph of the city by BigPixel. The fidelity and scale of the image is incredible, from the top of a skyscraper you can zoom into leaves on a tree! I dare you not to spend time zooming in and exploring, and just when I thought I had had enough, I realised that the image is 360 degrees, you can turn around and see the rest of the city!

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