Future Tech: Plus…7-Eleven gets one step closer to drone-delivered slurpees & a technical innovation in toast.
Introducing augmented aural reality
From Wired UK:
Music is a joy – until you start learning how to play it. Then it can be difficult and demoralising. Unless, that is, you practise with Amped, an app that algorithmically transforms bum notes into tuneful ones. Created by Finnish-Swedish startup Zoundio, Amped deconstructs harmony and chord structure to blend users' playing with existing tracks. The first instrument it's designed for is the electric guitar. Plug in, follow the lessons, and even if the reality is hesitant or jarring, it sounds good through your headphones.
Amped is an example of aural – not visual – augmented reality (AR). Mistakes on Amped aren't erased completely; when you miss a beat or a chord, you'll hear a discordant note. But because the overall effect is good rather than bad, you hear what you wished you sounded like, so your motivation doesn't fall away. Using Amped feels counterintuitive, even faintly sinful. (After all, isn't learning meant to be hard?) But here's the thing: it works.
7-Eleven tests drone deliveries right to customers’ doors
From PC Magazine:
Just in case Amazon forgets that it isn't the only company using drones to make deliveries, 7-Eleven today reminded the world that it had already completed 77 drone delivery flights a month before Amazon completed its first one last week.
7-Eleven's unmanned aerial deliveries are powered by a startup called Flirtey, which bills itself as the "world's leader in the drone delivery industry." Its achievements appear to put Amazon's Prime Air program—which started in 2013 and has received celebrity endorsements—to shame: Flirtey says it was the first company to conduct an FAA-approved delivery in the US, the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home, and the first to launch a commercial drone delivery service.
Could this be the perfect toaster?
For reasons that never became clear to me, my brother-in-law Gregory emailed over the summer suggesting that I review a toaster called the Balmuda available only in Japan and Korea. His subject line was persuasive. It read: “The Perfect Toaster.”
I’d done some research on toasters a year prior and found the industry to be something of a confused sea: neither the brand nor the amount of money—from dirt-cheap to ludicrous—spent on a toaster guaranteed quality. It’s also not a space rife with innovation. The toasters we’re using today and the ones manufactured a generation ago are pretty similar, though the ones we’re using now tend to be chintzier.
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