Welcome to the BYTE where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.
This week we’re taking a BYTE out of renting bunk beds, AI bots and poker, a weed trimming robot, a new way to prevent pedestrian injuries, and sound-based tech. Dig in!
Rent a Bunk Bed
Startup company, PodShare, has come up with a creative way to address the shortage of affordable housing in big cities – by allowing people to rent bunk beds in a communal home.
Great Idea, Minus the Lack of Space
These communal homes are only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco, so if you’re not on the West Coast, you’re out of luck. For only $1,200 a month, tenants get a bed, locker, WIFI access, a shelf, a personal TV, and a few food staples (cereal and ramen) and toiletries (toothpaste and toilet paper). The only downfall to this housing arrangement? The absence of privacy. Sure, you don’t have to pay for an overpriced studio apartment that leaves you with little to no money each month, but the trade-off is pretty apparent. According to PodShare tenant, Stephen T. Johnson, “There’s so many different living arrangements and I think this will just be one of the available options to everyone in the future.” So even though this set up is located only in California, PodShare could eventually spread out to other major cities throughout the United States.
AI-Powered Bot Beat World Series Poker Champion
It’s no secret that artificial intelligence has taken over many industries, including the home industry (think Alexa or Roomba). But, is AI easy to manipulate when presented with more complex commands? Pluribus, a poker playing bot created by Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University, proved to us that yes, AI bots can handle complex situations, including playing Texas Hold ‘em Poker. Noam Brown, a research scientist at Facebook AI Research says that they’re using poker as a benchmark “for a measure in progress in this more complicated challenge of hidden information in a complex multiparticipant environment.”
The New Roomba of Gardening
If you know anything about maintaining a yard, you know that weeds have a mind of their own. Fortunately, a new device to keep weeds under control has been developed and home-owners will rejoice. Powered by solar energy, this automated weed trimmer – dubbed Tertill – is designed to be the perfect lawn helper. If you don’t mind paying a steep price for this robot, then the Tertil might prove to be beneficial.
Using Cell Phones to Prevent Auto Accidents
Pedestrian-auto crashes are not uncommon. It can happen in a matter of seconds and leave devastating effects. Startup company, Visiblezone, has created a probable solution to this issue – “We have a mathematical model that resides in the mobile phone that has the ability to predict human behavior several seconds ahead.” (Source: Gabi Ofir, CEO of Visiblezone) If a pedestrian is in danger, the technology uses a beaming signal between the phone and the car to alert the driver of the possible risk. Although not 100% accident proof, this technology could decrease the number of auto-pedestrian accidents each year.
Reaching the Community Through Sound Based Tech
Zappos has partnered with Not Impossible Labs to create a way for those who have vision issues to be able to do things that we would consider normal. In this case, the Sonic Localizer – a portable sound system that has eight small speakers positioned in a tight line so that their sound waves overlap and mostly cancel each other out. Created with competitive skateboarder, Justin Bishop, in mind, this device allows him to do more stunts and tricks than ever before.
Take a Trip to an Ice Cream-Themed Ski Lodge
We talked a few weeks ago about a Taco Bell-themed hotel, but now we’re even more excited about an ice cream-themed ski lodge. Located in New Zealand, this ski lodge features an ice cream room filled with Halo Top ice cream and an Instagram-worthy interior that will instantly increase your social following.