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 firefighter suits, pop up communal spaces, a car sharing platform, cashierless stores, and emoji jackets. Dig in!
Firefighter Smart Suit
Firefighters encounter dangerous situations on a weekly, if not daily, basis. So it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of them suffer from burns in the line of duty every year. In fact, the gravity of situation was so concerning that the Paris Fire Brigade along with Sioen and Imec created a solution – a smart suit that contains electronic temperature sensors that can detect when temperatures reach 140 degrees. Although this suit is currently in the early stages, this could be a regular part of firefighter jackets.
Pop Up Communal Spaces
Community spaces are rapidly becoming popular in Europe, but what about the United States? After studying abroad in Copenhagen a few years ago, Aaron Greiner discovered that indoor public spaces that resembled a living room were pretty much non-existent. Paired with the growing number of vacant retail stores in Boston, the idea of pop up communal spaces came to fruition. In fact, Greiner believes that “it’s critical to have social infrastructure in cities to combat loneliness, and to create more connections across socioeconomic status, across race, across all of these boundaries that have been put up.” Dubbed Culture House, this pop up concept is tailored to specific neighborhoods and will eventually find a permanent location.
Take a Ride with Getaround
You’ve probably heard of car rental companies and ridesharing platforms, but what about carsharing? Dubbed Getaround, this app allows users to rent a car with owners who have a vehicle they’re not using. In other words, sharing your car with other people. Renting the car is straightforward and begins with booking a car through the app, receiving pickup instructions, and then returning the car in the same condition as it was found. A cool concept for those who are taking a short trip or who want to monetize their vehicle.
Will cashier positions cease to exist? 7-Eleven, one of the more well-known convenience store brands, is piloting the concept of a cashierless store. First brought to life by Amazon, these stores use a combination of sensors, cameras and AI to adhere to the needs of its customers. The pilot store will include a mobile app that customers use to check into the store, pay for items and view their receipt. Will this technology be the next big thing in the consumer retail space? Well according to TechCrunch, Walmart, Walmart-owned Sam’s Club and Giant Eagle are already testing AI technology similar to Amazon Go.
Is there a way to keep cyclists safe on the road? Ford, an American automaker, is in the process of creating a way to ease tensions on the road. Their concept? An Emoji Jacket. This jacket is a high-tech top that “enables riders to more easily and more clearly show drivers what their intentions are – and how they are feeling.” Although it’s only in the prototype stage, the Emoji Jacket is powered by a device attached to the handlebars that includes three different emoji buttons – smiley face, sad face, and straight face as well as left and right arrows and a hazard signal.